Templars do well against Wasps,
but still fall 34-14
By Matt Harris
NEPHI—The Templars may not be big believers in moral victories, but they held down the top dogs of 3A better than anyone else in the region has done this season.
The Manti football team played honorably in defeat, but were defeated nonetheless by the top-ranked Juab Wasps, 34-14, in Nephi last Friday, moving the Templars to 3-5 overall and suffering their first Region 14 loss.
Senior quarterback Jax Parry completed 16 of 32 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Senior receiver Tanner Justesen was the main recipient of Parry’s throws with nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Behind a trio of ballcarriers in seniors Tyler Taukei’aho, Austin Cox and Tyson Brenchley, the Templars netted 117 total rushing yards. Taukei’aho led with 8 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Cox gathered 44 yards on 10 carries, and Brenchley added 28 yards on 5 carries.
The Manti defense made plenty of great plays, sacking Juab quarterback Alex Jackson a number of times, but overall they had a tall order against the balanced and dangerous offense of the Wasps. Jackson completed 11 of 22 passes, all completions in the first half, for 204 yards and two touchdowns, meanwhile the Wasps totaled 241 rushing yards between a legion of running backs.
It took the Wasps all of three minutes to score first in the game, moving with surprising efficiency in the passing game before completing an end zone fade for the 12-yard touchdown.
Responding with a big kickoff return to midfield by sophomore Larsen Pogroszewski, the Templars looked primed to answer, but a three-and-out possession led to a punt into the end zone instead.
In the second quarter, Manti continued to demonstrate solid defense against the potent offense of the Wasps, but the Templars couldn’t get a drive together. Juab nailed a 37-yard field goal to go up, 10-0.
In the final three minutes of the second quarter, Parry took a big shot downfield, but it was picked off by Juab. Despite sophomore Troy Madsen coming up with a big sack on Juab’s first answering play, Juab’s hurry-up offense clicked perfectly, and the Wasps scored a touchdown before the end of the half on a 33-yard arcing pass, subsequently trotting in a 2-point conversion for an 18-0 lead at the half.
Both teams traded punts to begin the second half, then the Templars were the first to strike in the third quarter as big runs from Taukei’aho and Cox moved the ball downfield before Parry found senior Tanner Justesen for a 15-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Manti’s touchdown made it look like the Templars had started a fire on their sideline, but the Wasps were quick to douse it with a kickoff return touchdown for 90 yards in response.
Juab scored again on their next drive with a 40-yard run and later hit another field goal from 37 yards.
The Templars were the last to score as Taukei’aho rumbled through the Juab defense for a 6-yard touchdown. Cox punched in a 2-point conversion.
Manti’s got the big one coming up, as the Templars play host to the rival North Sanpete Hawks. With the recent resurgence of the Templars, Friday’s matchup looks to be an exciting one.