Morgan ends Manti Templar playoff hopes with 20-0 shutout
MORGAN—For the fourth year in a row the Manti Templars took the field against Morgan in the 3A football playoffs.
In what may have been the best defensive game of the year for the Templars, Manti mostly kept Morgan’s potent offense out of the end zone, but still lost the semi-final game to the Trojans, 20-0.
Twice the Trojans moved the ball deep into Manti territory and had to settle for a field goal. The only other Morgan scores came on a pick-six and when Morgan’s punter turned a fake punt into a 60-yard touchdown run.
The Templars responded to that TD with a nice drive of their own that had them in the red-zone and looking to score. A Morgan interception at the two-yard line ended the drive late in the first half. The second half was scoreless.
Coach Cole Meacham was a little concerned about how his players would respond after a discouraging loss the previous week to Juab.
“I was proud of the kids,” he said. “They played really well. They left everything out there on the field.”
The Morgan running game was dominant, yielding 294 rushing yards. The Trojans completed one of five passes for 6 yards.
Manti ran for 70 yards. Mac Stevens carried the ball nine times for 38 yards, Lance Fowles ran six times for 23 yards, Tanner Rasmussen had 5 yards, Marshall Dotson had 3 and Austin Robinson had 1.
Dotson completed six of 16 passes for 40 yards. Stevens had three catches for 32 yards. Rasmussen had one catch for 8 yards.
Fowles led the Templar defense with nine tackles, Michael Alder had eight, Dotson had seven and Rasmussen had five.
The trip to Morgan for the semi-final game made it 20 years in a row that the Templars have participated in the state championship playoffs.
The loss ended Manti’s 2016 football season with a 3-7 overall record. The Templar victories were over Carbon, Richfield and North Sanpete.
Going into the season, coaches had some concerns about team chemistry and senior leadership.
“The kids came together really well,” Meacham said. “I was pleased with that aspect of our season. They came out and worked hard every week.”