Rabbits spoil Templar homecoming, scamper right past Manti defense
MANTI—All season long, Manti football coach Cole Meacham has felt that the key to winning has been controlling the opponent’s running game.
Last week’s homecoming game against Delta was no different. Delta controlled the trenches, opening running lanes for the Rabbits, which allowed more than 300 rushing yards. The Rabbits ran away with a 28-14 win.
Delta scored first, but early on the Templars started a drive of their own, moving the ball to near mid field. Austin Robinson took the handoff and split the defense for a 49-yard TD run to tie the score at seven.
The Rabbits were on the move again when the Templar defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by Brody Barson. The Templar offense stalled out at the Delta 30. But the defense came through again, this time with a fumble recovered by Seni Latu.
Delta’s defense prevented Manti from scoring. As the game continued, the Delta offense was stopped with the help of a pair of sacks by Michael Alder.
Unfortunately, the next Delta possession, from the Manti 20, resulted in an 80-yard TD run by the Rabbits. The first half ended with another Delta fumble, recovered by Tanner Rasmussen, and a Manti pass that was intercepted. Delta led the Templars 14-7 at the intermission.
Manti took the kickoff and went on the move, earning enough yardage to get to the 46. There, Manti gave up their second turnover of the night on a fumble, which led to another Rabbit touchdown.
A nice return by Robinson gave the Templars good field position, and they marched 60 yards to the one. Lance Fowles powered it in from there to make the score 21-14 in favor of the Rabbits.
From there, a pair of Manti penalties helped Delta get into the red zone. Looking at a first and 10 from the Manti 11, the Rabbits got whistled for illegal motion, and then Alder and Mac Stevens sacked the Delta quarterback. Now facing third and 20, the Rabbits completed a 22 yard TD pass for the final score of the game.
The Templars had no answer for the Delta running game. They gave up 308 yards on the ground on 48 carries, an average of 6.4 yards per carry.
In the air, the Rabbits completed four of five passes for 68 yards, yielding a total of 376 yards.
Fowles led the Templars with 60 yards on 11 runs, Robinson had 58 on four carries, Stevens rushed for 55, Rasmussen had 25, Marshal Dotson and Nate Lee had nine each and Kaden Kirkman had two.
Dotson completed four of 13 passes for 52 yards. Stevens had two catches for 29, Kirkman caught one for 23 and Lee caught one for no gain.
Latu led the Manti defense with 13 tackles, Rasmussen had eight, Fowles and Stevens had six each, Alder had five, Eli Butler, Kirkman and Dotson had four each.
The loss places Manti in fourth place in region competition with a tenuous lead over North Sanpete by virtue of a win over the Hawks. Both teams are 1-2 in league play.
Manti has arguably the easier schedule for the remainder of the season with road trips to Richfield this Friday and Juab on Oct 14. The Wildcats haven’t won a region game, while the Wasps are undefeated in league play.
North Sanpete will host Juab and then Canyon View. Both games are critical for both Manti and North Sanpete.