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High school football: Manti Templars 2019 preview

Note: Manti finished with a 4-6 overall record in 2018 and was tied for fifth in 3A South with a 1-4 record. It lost to Union 15-14 in the 3A first round.

Manti 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

MANTI — Manti enters the 2019 season fresh off of a close 15-14 playoff loss to Union in the 3A first round, and the bitter feeling of that loss is sure to have stayed with the Templars as they gear up for the 2019 season.

On offense, Manti’s biggest strength is its offensive line, featuring returning starters Keenan Moulton (C), Jason Henningson (T), Spencer Colburn (T) and Anthony Henningson (G). The four offensive linemen will be instrumental as the Templars turn to starting quarterback Jax Parry, who was the backup quarterback last year. Also returning is running back Tyler Taukeiaho, who rushed for 427 yards and five touchdowns last year.

On defense, Manti returns leading tackler Mitchell Newman, who made 81 tackles a season ago. The Templars also bring back Keenan Moulton, who totaled 49 tackles and four sacks in the 2018 season.

Team at a glance

Coach: Cole Meacham is entering his 20th year as head coach of Manti High School. He has a 133-75 overall record and is a graduate of Snow College and Southern Utah University.

Meacham's comments on new UHSAA RPI:

“I haven’t thought a whole lot about it. Whether they do it that way or whether they do it by region placement, if you’re good enough to be competitive, you’re going to be there in the end.”

Team Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Dave Stevens

2018 offensive production: 20.6 ppg (7th in 3A)

— Seven returning starters

— Multiple offenses

Key offensive returning starters

Jax Parry (QB)

Parry will take the reins of the offense following Kyle King. Last season, Parry threw for 287 yards on 29-54 passing with three interceptions.

Tyler Taukeiaho (RB)

Taukeiaho was one of Manti’s two main running backs in 2018, rushing for 427 yards.

Returning offensive starters

Keenan Moulton (C)

Jason Henningson (T)

Spencer Colburn (T)

Anthony Henningson (G)

Jax Parry (QB)

Travis Thompson (WR)

Tyler Taukeiaho (RB)

Offensive newcomer to watch

Ryker Hewko (WR)

Meacham’s comments on Jax Parry:

“Jax did a great job at our 7-on-7s this summer. Jax has really improved a lot. I think he’s really heading in the right direction.”

Meacham’s comments on running backs:

“Right now, the only one coming back that saw time last year is Tyler Taukeiaho. We’ve got to find at least a couple other guys there that can get time. We’ve got to have some depth.”

Meacham’s comments on offensive line:

“I think our offensive line, that’s where it’s going to start. Whether time for the quarterback or being able to run the ball effectively, it starts with the offensive line. I think it’s important that those guys have played together. That’s where the key is going to be to the offense.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

Meacham’s keys to success starts with the offensive line and running the ball, along with avoiding being one-dimensional. Spreading the field and throwing the ball will also be key to success in Manti’s offense.

Team Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Fred Taukeiaho

2018 defensive production: 22.1 ppg (8th in 3A)

— Six returning starters

— 4-4 defense

Key defensive returning starters

Mitchell Newman (MLB)

A 2018 Deseret News 3A All-State honorable mention, Newman is one of the key players on Manti’s defense. He led the Templars with 81 tackles last year.

Keenan Moulton (DE)

Moulton totaled 49 tackles and four sacks in the 2018 season.

Returning defensive starters

Keenan Moulton (DE)

Jason Henningson (DT)

Jens LeFevre (DE)

Mitchell Newman (MLB)

Travis Thompson (OLB/DB)

Ryker Hewko (C)

Defensive newcomer to watch

Tyson Brenchley (DB)

Meacham’s comments on defensive line:

“We’ve got a lot of work to do there. We’ve got some solid guys, but we have some other guys that are going to be pushing for time. I think we’ve got a lot of work on the defensive side of the ball.”

Meacham’s comments on defensive newcomers getting acclimated:

“I think the biggest thing, the defense as a whole, we’ve got to find us a sense of work ethic and of unity, as a team and a unit on defense.”

Meacham’s comments on linebackers:

“The only one returning that saw a lot of time there is Mitch Newman. We’ve got a lot of spots, so really with the linebackers and our safety positions, we’ve just been plugging a lot of kids in during 7-on-7s and seeing how it’s going to work out, especially with our outside linebackers and our strong safety are kind of interchangeable type spots, we’ve just been moving a lot of kids in and out there.”

Keys for defensive success in 2019:

Meacham says that the key to defensive success is stopping the run and minimizing big plays in the passing game.

Coaches preseason Region 14 straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News Region 14 prediction: Fourth

Key Region Game: vs. Union, Sep. 27 (Week 6)

Bottom line

Manti will look to improve over last year’s first-round exit to Union, a season that ended with four straight losses. The Templars return a solid offensive line to help break Jax Parry in as the full-time starter. The defensive line is also solid, and Mitchell Newman is back, but the safety position presents some question marks.

2019 Schedule

Aug. 16 — CRIMSON CLIFFS, 7 p.m.

Aug. 23 — PAYSON, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 — at Grantsville, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 — BYE

Sept. 13 — RICHFIELD, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 — at Delta, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 — UNION, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 — at North Sanpete, 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 — at American Leadership, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17 — JUAB, 7 p.m.


Felt's Facts for Manti High School

All-time record: 253-253 (51 years)

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

Playoff appearances: 33

Current playoff appearance streak: 22 (1997-2018)

All-time playoff record: 32-29

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

State championship record: 4-3

Most played rivalry: 50 meetings with Juab dating back to 1969. Juab leads 26-24.

Felt’s Factoids: 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

  • 2018 — 4-6 (1-4 in 3A South – 3A First round)
  • 2017 — 4-7 (1-4 in 3A South – 3A Quarterfinals)
  • 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)


Manti coaching history

  • 2000-current — Cole Meacham (133-75)
  • 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

  • 2017 — Lance Fowles, ATH
  • 2017 — Brenton Thomson, DT
  • 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

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