Prep football preview: Manti Templars
EDITOR'S NOTE • This is one in a series of previews of Utah's high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
Manti fell in the Class 3A championship game to Judge Memorial and saw its hopes of winning three straight titles dashed.
So it's kind of like taking one year off from trying to find more room in the trophy case, right?
"It'd be nice if it was only one," said veteran Templars coach Cole Meacham, who will try to guide his squad back to the top again.
It'll be a challenge, as last year's quarterback and running back, Connor Aste and Kamren Fowles respectively, have graduated along with many other starters on offense and defense.
"There's gonna be some new faces," Meacham said. "Until you get going, it's always hard to tell."
Junior Derek Wright, although without previous experience at the quarterback position, is likely to get the nod at signal-caller. Last year, Wright played slotback on offense, and defensive back as well.
Meanwhile, Brad Sego will step into Fowles' role to a degree.
"We fed the ball to Kamren a lot last year. We'd like to balance it out a bit," Meacham said.
Look for offensive tackle Keltn Pritchard (6-foot-2, 250 pounds) to bring leadership experience to the offense along with senior receiver Trevor Alder (6-1, 160). Both will also join Wright and Sego on defense, as well as several other Templars will go both ways.
Manti will open with a pair of Class 4A schools, Mountain View and Provo, to start the schedule. The Templars took out both last season en route to an 8-2 regular season record.
Last year • 10-3 (5-0 in 3A South; lost in 3A championship game)
Key returner • Senior Brad Sego (5-9 170) will take over as the primary ballcarrier, and will see time in the defensive backfield as well.
Player to watch • Junior Derek Wright (5-7 150) played slotback and DB a year ago, but will get a try at quarterback despite no experience there.
Biggest hole • Offensive line, where several starting positions are up for grabs.
Need to know • The Templars have less than a handful ("three or four," Meacham said) of returning starters on each side of the ball.