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High school football: Manti Templars 2017 preview

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Note: Manti finished with a 3-7 overall record in 2016 and fourth in the 3A South region with a 2-3 record. It lost to Morgan 20-0 in the 3A quarterfinals.

Manti 2016 Offensive and Defensive Stats

MANTI — Manti High School football and head coach Cole Meacham are currently focused on one game only: Week one, when the Templars host the Carbon Dinos under the lights on August 18.

“I know who the teams in our region are, but I know we play Carbon week one and other than that, I don’t even know what the order of the schedule is,” Meacham said.

Manti brings an experienced running attack to the gridiron when the Templars suit up on Friday nights. Running backs Lance Fowles and Tanner Rasmussen, who combined to rush for 663 yards and three touchdowns, return to Manti, but the Templars will have to replace leading rusher Mac Stevens. Manti also will start a sophomore at quarterback, Travis Thompson. Helping matters on offense will be Brenton Thomas, Jett Jensen and Eli Butler, three returning offensive linemen.

On defense, the Templars return Rasmussen, their top tackler, and Seni Latu, who had 38 tackles a season ago. Manti returns three defensive linemen (Brenton Thomson, Eli Butler and Seni Latu) and a pair of linebackers (Tanner Rasmussen and Cooper Parry) to bolster its defense.

Manti Templars at a glance

Coach: Cole Meacham enters his 18th year at the helm of the Templars. Meacham has compiled an overall record of 125-62 as head coach. Last season, Manti finished with a record of 3-7.

Manti Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Dave Stevens

2016 offensive production: 17.4 ppg (8th in 3A)

- 6 returning starters

- Multiple offensive schemes

Key offensive returning starters

-- Lance Fowles (RB)

As a sophomore last year, Fowles rushed for 474 yards and a touchdown. Look for his carries to increase this season following the graduation of Manti’s top running back, Mac Stevens. He rushed for a season-high 87 yards in the Templars’ blowout of Richfield.

-- Tanner Rasmussen (RB)

Last season, a good chunk of Manti’s passing yards — 429 yards, to be exact —were hauled in by Stevens. With Stevens graduated, Rasmussen, who caught seven receptions for 64 yards in 2016, could be targeted more often.

Returning offensive starters

Brenton Thomson (OL)

Jett Jensen (OL)

Eli Butler (OL)

Tanner Rasmussen (RB)

Lance Fowles (RB)

Cooper Parry (TE)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Travis Thompson

Meacham’s comments on Lance Fowles

“His speed and his quickness have really improved. We’re making a couple tweaks to the offense that I think are going to help take advantage of Lance’s strengths.”

Meacham’s comments on returning offensive linemen

“Especially with a young quarterback, it’s going to help a lot,” Meacham said of having an experienced offensive line. “We’ve got three returners there that played the majority of all the games last year, so especially with a young quarterback, that’s going to help.”

Meacham’s comments on quarterbacks

Kyle King, who is going to be a junior, hurt his ankle — he’ll be out until probably the end of the first game week. Right now, we’re going with Travis Thompson, a sophomore. Over the summer, there’s been a learning curve, but he’s real coachable, a good athlete and he’s coming along.”

Keys for Offensive Success in 2017:

“We’ve got to be more balanced offensively than what we have been. We still want to run the ball, we’ve been a very predominant run team and we have to balance things out better than we have been.”

Manti Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Fred Taukeiaho

2016 defensive production: 21 ppg (4th in 3A)

5 returning starters

4-4 and 5-3 defense

Key defensive returning starters

-- Tanner Rasmussen (LB)

Rasmussen led the team in tackles in 2016, racking up 96 tackles and one sack. He also was atop the Manti leaderboard in interceptions, grabbing five picks last season.

-- Seni Latu (DL)

Latu ranked sixth in tackles on the 2016 team, with 38.

Returning defensive starters

Brenton Thomson (DL)

Eli Butler (DL)

Seni Latu (DL)

Tanner Rasmussen (LB)

Cooper Parry (LB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Lance Fowles

Meacham’s comments on Tanner Rasmussen

“Our middle linebacker has really got to do a good job for us and having Tanner back is going to be big. We expect a lot out of him in the middle. He’s the leading tackler and probably the most experienced guy on the defense,”

Meacham’s comments on Seni Latu

“He played a lot of defensive tackle last year, we’re hoping to move him outside to defensive end. His more natural position is to play out there in the end.”

Keys for Defensive Success in 2017:

“We feel like we always have to stop the run first. We’ve got to control people’s run game, that’s the biggest thing,” Meacham said.

Coaches preseason 3A South straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News 3A South prediction: Fourth

Key region game:

Bottom line:

After graduating their leading rusher and starting quarterback, scoring will be tough for the Templars. Manti does return three starting offensive linemen to help ease the pressure on the young quarterbacks. On the defensive side of the ball, Tanner Rasmussen will be key to bolstering the Templars’ defense.

2017 Schedule

Aug. 18 — CARBON, 7 p.m.

Aug. 25 — at Delta, 7 p.m.

Sept. 1 — at Pine View, 7 p.m.

Sept. 8 — EMERY, 7 p.m.

Sept. 15 — at Summit Academy, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 — JUAB, 7 p.m.

Sept. 29 — at Juan Diego, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6 — at North Sanpete, 7 p.m.

Oct. 13 — RICHFIELD, 7 p.m.

Oct. 20 — BYE

….

Felt's Facts for Manti High School

All-time record: 242-240 (49 years)

Region championships: 9 (1994, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005 co, 2009 co, 2011, 2012, 2013)

Playoff appearances: 31

Current playoff appearance streak: 20 (1997-2016)

All-time playoff record: 31-27

State championships: 4 (1999, 2003, 2011, 2012)

State championship record: 4-3

Most played rivalry: 48 meetings with Juab dating back to 1969. Juab leads 25-23.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Manti is the only team — high school or college — in the United States (or anywhere else) whose mascot is the Templar. … Carlo Garia holds the record for the longest field-goal - 54-yards - in a championship game. His kick gave Templars a 16-13 win over San Juan in the 2012 Class 2A title contest.

...

Last 5

2016 — 3-7 (2-3 in 3A South – 3A Quarterfinals)

2015 — 5-5 (3-2 in 3A South – 3A Quarterfinals)

2014 — 7-5 (4-1 in 3A South – 3A Semifinals)

2013 — 10-3 (5-0 in 3A South – 3A Runner-up)

2012 — 11-1 (7-0 in 2A North – 2A Champions)

...

Manti coaching history

2000-current — Cole Meacham (125-62)

1992-1999 — Brennan Jackson (50-33)

1988-1991 — Bill Sullivan (13-24)

1985-1987 — Robert Gent (16-13)

1982-1984 — Cliff Hughes (1-24)

1980-1981 — Dewey Brundage (3-15)

1977-1979 — Ken Van Tasell (5-23)

1976 — Phil Hall (2-8)

1972-1975 — Russ Felt (17-18)

1971 — David Jensen (3-7)

1969-1970 — Bill Brown (7-11)

.....

Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

2012 — Austin Jackson, RB/LB

2011 — Aaron Austad, DL

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2016 — Mac Stevens, WR

2016 — Sam Tiatia, DT

2016 — Marshall Dotson, S

2015 — Douglas Schiess, DL

2015 — Jordan Howe, LB

2014 — Keltn Pritchard, OL

2014 — Douglas Schiess, DL

2014 — Trystan Daniels, LB

2013 — Kamren Fowles, RB

2013 — Connor Aste, QB

2013 — Tristan Olsen, OL

2013 — Jared Schiess, DL

2012 — Zane Stevens, RB/LB

2012 — Jamen Miller, RB/DB

2012 — Koleton Moon, OL/DL

2012 — Carlo Garcia, K

2011 — Brady Aste, QB/DB

2011 — Austin Jackson, RB/LB

2011 — Landon Carter, OL/DL

2011 — Chris Lauti, OL/DL

2008 — Griffin Aste, QB/DL

2008 — Nick Brown, WR/DB

2008 — Seth Gergetz, OL/DL

2008 — Mathew Olson, RB/LB

2008 — Chase Stevens, RB/LB

2007 — Saula Taufa, OL/DL

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.