ROOSEVELT—Going against Union’s pass-focused offense, Manti’s defense joined in the fun and caught some passes themselves.
The Manti High football team picked up a solid win last Friday night as their secondary grabbed an astounding six interceptions en route to a 31-22 win on the road against the Union Cougars, moving to 3-4 on the season and 2-0 in region play.
The Templars didn’t have to pick up a great deal of offensive yardage, being given great field position by the numerous turnovers in their favor. The Templars finished with roughly 240 yards of total offense. Senior quarterback Jax Parry had a solid night, completing 10 of 21 pass attempts for only 96 yards, but with a touchdown and an interception.
Senior running back Tyler Taukei’aho finished with seven carries for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
As Union got the ball first, Manti set the theme of the night early on. Senior Tanner Justesen intercepted Union quarterback Boone Latham on the third play of the game.
Nevertheless, Manti’s offense struggled to start as Parry threw a pick three plays later.
As Union’s offense stalled, Manti took their next possession downfield and a personal foul in the red zone by Union kept the Templar offense on the field. Two plays later, Parry threw a pass to senior Austin Cox at the pylon for the first score of the game.
Union responded on their next drive with a score by Latham on the ground to tie the game at 7.
Midway through the second quarter, Taukei’aho scored his seventh touchdown of the season with a 1-yard run through the line.
With just under two minutes remaining, a punt by Union put Manti on their own 3-yard line. Three plays later, a Union defender blew through the Manti offensive line and brought Cox down on a run in the end zone to give Union a safety.
On Union’s next possession, sophomore safety Larson Pogroszewski intercepted a Hail Mary pass and returned it 40 yards for the Templars’ second pick of the night.
After halftime, both teams traded possessions for most of the quarter until Union blocked a Manti punt to take over possession on the Templars’ 30-yard line in position for a go-ahead score.
Instead, Manti’s defense came up big again as a forced fumble was scooped up by Justesen, and the senior took it all the way back 96 yards for the score, swinging all the momentum in Manti’s favor.
Manti rode that momentum through the entire third quarter as Taukei’aho scored another touchdown from 31 yards out on the Templars’ next possession.
On Union’s next possession, Taukei’aho added to some of his defensive highlight tape as he grabbed the third Manti pick of the game, and he would have had a touchdown were it not for a blocking penalty negating the touchdown. Another penalty took a touchdown away from Justesen on the next play before the third quarter ended.
Despite the Cougars getting two more touchdowns, Manti went away with their second straight victory.
The Templars have their season toughest game next Friday as they travel to face Juab.