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High school football: Manti Templars 2020 preview

Here’s an in-depth look at the Manti Templars football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Manti finished with an 8-3 overall record in 2019 and was third in Region 14 with a 3-2 record. It was RPI seed No. 4 in 3A playoffs, and was eliminated by Morgan 33-14 in quarterfinals.


MANTI — A frustrating four-year drought without a winning record finally came to an end for Manti last season as it posted a strong 8-3 record and advanced to the 3A quarterfinals.

It went 1-3 against the four eventual semifinalists, but Manti coach Cole Meacham is optimistic his players can continue the upward trend again in 2020.

“Our key is going to be our offensive and defensive line. That’s where we really took a hit with graduation. We’ve got some good leadership and I feel we have a shot to push and get back to where we like to be,” said Meacham.

Manti has five returning starters on offense and four on defense, but none of them are on the line. Meacham said the team will lean heavily on projected two-way contributors on the line, Anthony Henningson, Isaac Schoppe and Kayden Clark.

Offensively they’ll have an experienced quarterback behind them with returning starter Jax Parry.

“Jax came a long ways last year, but we’ve really tried to work with him to get him more mobile. That will help him personally and help the offense. Last year were able to tee off on him when we had to throw the ball,” said Meacham.

Defensively, Manti is stacked with linebackers and thin on the defensive line, which Meacham said may give the chance to change the scheme up this season.


Manti Templars at a glance

Coach Meacham’s thoughts on how his players dealt with the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:

“I think we’ve done really well. Our turnout at our count and our attendance in the weight room and our workouts has probably been better than it has been in recent years. I think the kids have wanted to be out interacting with other people.”

Manti Offensive Snapshot

Co-Offensive coordinators: Dave Stevens/Fred Taukeiaho

2019 offense: 22.5 ppg (10th in 3A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 5 returning starters
  • Multiple offenses
Returning offensive starters
  • Jax Parry (QB)
  • Tyler Taukeiaho (RB)
  • Austin Cox (RB)
  • Tyson Brenchley (Slot)
  • Tanner Justesen (WR)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Anthony Henningson (OL)
  • Isaac Schoppe (OL)
  • Kayden Clark (OL)
Coach Meacham’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“We’ve got to mix things up, we’ve got to be diverse. We got a little bit better at that last year. For a lot of years we kind of said everybody in the world knows we’re going to run the ball and that’s all we’re going to do. But we’ve felt we’ve got to get more diverse in the offense. We started to do that last year and we’ve got to do more of that this year.”


Manti Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Cole Meacham

2019 defense: 17.5 ppg (7th in 3A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • 4 returning starters
  • 4-4 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Austin Cox (OLB)
  • Tyler Taukeiaho (OLB)
  • Tyson Brenchley (CB)
  • Tanner Justesen (S)
Defensive newcomers to watch
  • David Taulapapa (LB)
  • Anthony Henningson (DL)
  • Isaac Schoppe (DL)
  • Kayden Clark (DL)
  • Adam Christensen (CB)
Coach Meacham’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“Our guys up front, we’re going to have to get some kind of depth in our defensive line. Whether it’s young guys, whether it’s a couple of seniors that may not necessarily be starting, but we’ve got to get some depth on our defensive line.”

Deseret News outlook for 2020

Manti took a huge step forward last year by doubling its wins. It obviously was a bit overmatched in its three losses against North Sanpete, Juab and Morgan, but not by that much. With hardly any experience returning in the trenches, those are huge question marks that make duplicating last year very difficult.


Felt’s Facts for Manti

  • All-time record: 261-256 (52 years)

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

  • Playoff appearances: 34

  • All-time playoff record: 33-30

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

  • State championship record: 4-3

  • Most played rivalry: 51 meetings with Juab dating back to 1969. Juab leads 27-24.

Last 5 Seasons

  • 2019 — 8-3 (3-2 in Region 14 – 3A Quarterfinals)
  • 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)

Manti coaching history

  • 2000-current — Cole Meacham (141-78) *3 State Titles
  • 1992-1999 — Brennan Jackson (50-33) *1 State Title
  • 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)


Manti All-State at-a-glance

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
  • 2019 —Jason Henningson, DT
  • 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