MANTI—A slow start turned out to be no problem for the Manti football team last Friday night as the defense played lights out, pun absolutely intended.
The Templars scored the last 26 points of the game in a 32-14 victory over Canyon View in front of the Manti faithful, smoothing out their overall record at 3-3 and earning a 2-0 start in the 3A South.
The Falcons had a 14-6 lead in the second quarter, but Manti scored twice and took the lead shortly before the end of the half and then dominated the entire second half on both sides of the ball.
“Our kids just did a good job of figuring out [Canyon View’s] blocking schemes,” Coach Cole Meacham said. “They figured out on their own how to adjust to it, and they did a great job.”
The game had an unexpected intermission in the third quarter when pitch black suddenly engulfed the field as all the stadium lights went out mere seconds before a kickoff was about to happen. Onsite technicians restored power to the lights within about fifteen minutes. The cause was not disclosed to the Messenger, but surrounding city lights at the time of the event ruled out any outage of the city’s power grid.
A mix of quarterbacks proved successful as junior Kayson Douglas led with a super-efficient day, completing 12 of 16 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Larsen Pogroszewski completed 3 of 4 passes for 22 yard and a touchdown. Sophomore Reggie Frischknecht dominated the Falcons’ secondary as he caught three touchdowns, while Pogroszewski put on his best Taysom Hill impersonation with a touchdown pass to Frishknecht, a pick-six, and a touchdown run to seal the game in the fourth.
“I didn’t even realize that,” Meacham said of Pogroszewski. “He does a lot of stuff. He’s a really good athlete.”
Canyon View got the first score on the board on a 1-yard quarterback run as both teams traded touchdowns twice. Frischknecht had both touchdown catches for Manti, the first of which was a spectacular play on the ball as he wrestled the catch away from a would-be interceptor in the end zone.
With under two minutes remaining, Pogroszewski floored the gas on the Templars’ momentum as he intercepted an overthrown pass and ran untouched in a 51-yard straight line back to the endzone for the score and the 19-14 lead.
On Canyon View’s very next offensive play, senior A.J. Cox burst through for a strip sack to regain possession with the final minute of the half. Try as they might, Manti’s offense squandered the opportunity, failing to get into the end zone before getting their field goal attempt blocked.
After halftime, Douglas stepped up in the pocket on 3rd-and-long and let fly to junior Keegan Strickland on a go route. Strickland hauled in the slight underthrow and shook off a single tackler to stroll into the endzone for the 65-yard touchdown and a 25-14 lead after another missed kick.
Manti’s second-half defense was a nightmare for the Falcons’ quarterback as Pogroszewski and junior Scott Lee picked him off on consecutive drives, incidentally the two drives immediately after power was restored to the stadium.
Canyon View got downfield successfully late in the fourth, but faltered late with a turnover on downs. On Manti’s very next offensive play, Pogroszewski broke through the Falcons’ defense and rumbled for a 58-yard punctuating touchdown, his second of the game, putting Manti up 32-14 with under two minutes remaining.
Manti’s schedule stiffens up in the last four weeks of the regular season, beginning with a trip to North Sanpete this Friday. In their last eight consecutive meetings, Manti has a 6-2 record in the county rivalry.