By the way they talk about each other and their football programs, you'd think South Summit coach Garry Walker and Manti coach Brenan Jackson were presidents of each other's fan clubs. You'd never guess they are opposing coaches, hoping to gain the gridiron glory among the state's small schools.

If nothing else, the Class 2A football championship (Saturday, 11 a.m. at Mountain View High) between top-ranked Manti and No. 2 South Summit is about respect."I'm glad to be playing against South Summit and their coaching staff," Jackson said. "I know that it's going to be a knock-down, drag-out game, but there won't be any cheap shots, and there won't be any trash-talking.

"That's a tribute to the South Summit kids and particularly to their coaching staff. I really respect Garry."

Though the Templars already own one hard-fought win over the Wildcats this season, the feeling is mutual for Walker.

"It's going to be tough (to win)," Walker said. "They're on a roll, and they have been all year. They (the Templars) are good kids and not just on the field."

This battle between friendly foes should be a fierce one, though, as both teams have some unfinished business.

For Manti, this will be an incomplete season without a championship. The Templars, seeking a first-ever state title, have reeled off 12 straight wins in an impressive fashion. They've beaten teams by an average of 28.2 points, and their defense -- sparked by Brady Nielson, Cy Tidwell and a host of other Templars -- has limited opponents to just 7.8 points a contest.

Manti's tricky-to-defend multiple-attack offense -- featuring Tidwell, Steve Jones, Jake Williams, Justin Stephenson, Cade Anderson and McKay Anderson -- is almost impossible to contain.

"Manti has all the things necessary to win it. We're going to have to play our very best just to be in there," Walker said. "I feel like we're the underdogs, but we kind of like being that."

They do have quite the bite for being underdogs, though.

Starting with quarterback star Joey Edmunds, the Wildcats have a dangerous offensive squad seasoned with championship game experience from a year ago (South Summit lost to San Juan, 36-26). With targets Ethan Atkinson, Brody Lewis, Jarin Leavitt and Dustin Pyper, Edmunds has enough explosive potential to drive Jackson nuts.

"You can hold them for three downs, then on the fourth down they can pick up the first or score a touchdown on any one play they do," Jackson said. "It's a difficulty maintaining your focus against them.

"And you just hope that Edmunds has an off-game. He's a fabulous player, and the kids that surround him are quality."

2A championship

Manti vs. South Summit

Saturday at Mountain View High, 11 a.m.


Manti, 12-0 (1st, Region 12)

South Summit, 11-1 (2nd, Region 12)

Series record:

Manti leads South Summit 6-5

Last title:

Manti (never won)

South Summit, 1988 (4th)

Last finals:

Manti (never been)

South Summit, 1998 (lost to San Juan 36-26)

Genessy's Guess:

Manti 28, South Summit 24