Manti shuts mouth of the Lion, 51-21,
in first win of season
By Matt Harris
PAYSON—Manti football team’s offense looked to have figured a few things out last Friday.
The Templars flipped the script on their offensive woes from week one and stormed through the second half against the Payson Lions en route to a 51-21 road victory to move to 1-1 on the season.
Senior quarterback Jax Parry completed 16 of 26 passes for 208 yards, but the real damage came from a stellar day for the run game.
Manti scored four touchdowns on the ground, three of them by senior Tyson Brenchley, who finished with four carries for 50 yards. Senior Austin Cox scored the additional touchdown, and he finished with nine carries for 33 yards. Senior Tyler Taukei’aho led all Manti rushers with 11 carries for 63 yards. Additionally, the Templar defense wreaked havoc and scored three times on fumble recoveries by junior Alex Cox, Taukei’aho and sophomore Troy Madsen.
“Our biggest thing about our defense is they’re aggressive,” Coach Cole Meacham said. “They wanna play fast and get after it. I think they’re talented, but even more than that, they wanna play really fast and be aggressive, and we really like that as coaches.”
Taukeiaho got Manti started on the right note with a 23-yard run on their first play of the game. Two plays later, Brenchley gave the Lions an early taste of what was to come. The senior caught a pass for roughly 14 yards, then he sidestepped a would-be tackler and carried the ball for another 13 yards to the 17-yard line. Two plays after that, Brenchley took the ball on a right-side end-around for a two-yard score to make it 7-0.
Payson responded quickly on the next play as their quarterback faked a handoff and took off on the left side for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Templars’ ability to respond on the next drive was incredibly hampered by penalties. After another chunk gain by Brenchley, Austin Cox had a huge run called back for holding. Then, Manti was called for holding again to make it a 1st-and-30 situation, and senior quarterback Jax Parry struggled to compensate, overthrowing his receivers on three straight plays.
Despite struggling to contain the speed of the Lions’ offense, Manti’s offense effectively countered with exceptional blocking and power-running. Austin Cox had another run called back for holding, this one a would-be 20-yard touchdown, but instead, Brenchley took the replay for a 3-yard touchdown instead, 14-7 Templars.
Early in the second quarter, Payson’s quarterback took another fake to the house for 12 yards to tie it up at 14. Manti responded by engineering a wide array of plays in a 12-play drive that lasted roughly six and a half minutes, ending in a two-yard touchdown run by Cox.
On the next possession, Manti’s defense flexed its muscle as Tuakei’aho charged in from the Payson quarterback’s blindside and rocked him for a sack, forcing a fumble which was snatched out of the air by none other than 235-pound sophomore Troy Madsen, who shook earth as he rumbled the other way for a 20-yard touchdown.
“For a defensive lineman, it’s something that doesn’t happen much,” Meacham said with a smile. “It was fun to see.”
With the Templars up, 28-13, Payson recovered some momentum with a short touchdown run and a conversion to make it 28-21 shortly before halftime.
After a high-scoring first half, the third quarter was almost without event all, thanks to another long sustained by Manti that took over six minutes, 13 plays and 85 yards. Brenchley capped off the drive with a two-yard end-around run for the score.
With Payson starting being knocked out of the game in the third quarter, the Lions no longer had the firepower to keep up with Manti in the final quarter, and Manti inevitably ran away. Senior Tanner Justesen picked off Payson’s first pass attempt of the quarter and took it deep into Payson territory. After penalties killed the drive, senior Seth Cornelsen connected on a 22-yard field goal to make it 38-21.
The rest of the game was all Manti as Taukei’aho scooped up a fumble on Payson’s next possession and took it 35 yards back for a touchdown. Near the end of the contest, Manti punted, and Payson muffed it right into the hands of Alex Cox, who took it 22 yards for the final touchdown of the game.
The Templars had the best scoring output in a single game since they scored 58 points against Grand in 2012. Manti now stands at 1-1 on the season.
The Templars will host Grantsville in the Manti 2020 home opener this Friday.