2A football: Manti dominates Grand in semifinal
Cedar City • Manti's win over Grand County is going to live on in the record books in more ways than one.
Perhaps the most memorable statistic will be the 49 points the Templars scored in the second quarter the most ever in state playoff history on the way to a 58-15 semifinal win against the Red Devils on Saturday at Southern Utah University.
It was more practice than postseason for Manti, which rode a dominant defensive performance to its second straight state title game and will play to defend its 2A football crown.
"The kids played really good," Manti coach Cole Meacham said. "I'm not sure if [Grand] crossed midfield before the half. We kept forcing them out of their game."
The Templars harassed Grand with their defensive pressure, coming up with three interceptions, four sacks and keeping the Red Devils on their own half of the field. That set up easy scores for Manti's offense, including three touchdown passes by quarterback Connor Aste.
The offense was multi-faceted, as it has been all year.
Austin Jackson, Taylor Soper and Colin Haymond each had a score on the ground. T.J. Pogroszweski, Jamen Miller and Haymond each had a touchdown catch.
Even special teams had its moments against Grand. Jackson had two punt blocks that led to touchdowns.
It was complete domination, the kind that helped the Templars win a championship last year. They'll try to do it again next Saturday at Pleasant Grove High when they take on San Juan to defend their 2A title.
"They have a lot of speed, and we'll have to figure out how to deal with that," Meacham said. "A lot of our kids played last year, and they want to win again."
Manti dominates Grand County
R The Templars score 49 points in one quarter, a state playoff record
• Connor Aste throws three touchdown passes on only eight attempts
• Austin Jackson blocks a pair of punts in the victory