Grantsville’s defense kept the Cowboys in the game Friday night, but the home team could muster only one touchdown in a 12-7 non-region loss to Manti.
It was the second close loss for the Cowboys this season against a Sanpete County team. Grantsville lost 7-6 to North Sanpete on Aug. 16.
“Our defense played really well, and it seemed we were so close to scoring more points. We were just one block away or one missed assignment. We knew we would be in battles like this every week. We have no slouches on the schedule,” said Grantsville coach Kody Byrd.
The two Sanpete opponents are 6-0 so far this season.
Manti scored first with the Grantsville offense on the move inside Templar territory.
The Cowboys’ Chace Gipson intercepted a Manti pass at the GHS 26 midway through the first quarter, and the Cowboys drove to the Manti 35 on passes to Blake Thomas, Taylor Wood and Ammon Bartley with powerful runs from Trent Brown.
The offensive momentum ended when Manti’s Tyler Taukeiaho scooped up a Grantsville fumble and ran 73 yards for a touchdown with 17 seconds left in the first quarter. The Cowboys blocked the PAT to make it 6-0 Manti.
The Cowboys’ offense responded midway through the second quarter with a 96-yard scoring drive that drained eight minutes off the clock and gave the home team a 7-6 lead at intermission.
Brown started the drive with a 12-yard run up the middle, followed by a long pass to Bartley to the GHS 41.
Runs by Brown and Austin Wilcox and a pass completion in the middle of the field to Noah Mouritsen pushed the Cowboys inside Manti territory.
A holding call and sack dropped Grantsville back to its own 46 and set up a third-and-17 situation. A superb 18-yard catch by Bartley from Jackson Sandberg kept the drive alive at the Manti 28. That was followed by another Bartley catch on fourth down from Logan White to push the ball to the 17.
On the next play, Sandberg connected with Wood on a 17-yard touchdown pass. Nate Wright hit the PAT to make it 7-6 Grantsville at intermission.
Manti fumbled the second-half kickoff to put Grantsville in prime position at the Manti 18, but the Cowboys came up empty with a missed field goal.
The Templars then put together an 80-yard drive for the only touchdown of the second half to make it 12-7. Grantsville stopped the visitors on a two-point conversion attempt.
Grantsville’s defense came up big in the second half.
Manti recovered a fumble at the GHS 4-yard line, but the Templars could not score.
The Templars had another short field a few minutes later after a GHS punt to its own 32, but Grantsville’s Kaden Kelley picked off a pass to thwart Manti’s scoring plans.
Grantsville attempted a run instead of a punt on fourth down, which set up the Templar offense at the GHS 26. Manti drove to the GHS 4, but once again could not score points against the stingy Cowboy defense.
With the Cowboys pinned deep in their own territory, they were forced to punt after three incompletions. Manti started a drive at the GHS 36, On fourth-and-9 at the GHS 24, White came up with a solo tackle on a pass completion to thwart another Manti scoring attempt.
Later, Manti was still in business inside GHS territory, but Kelly recovered a fumble at the GHS 26 to end yet another Manti scoring opportunity.
The Cowboys drove inside Manti territory late in the game, but turned it over on downs at the Manti 42 with 1 minute left in the contest. The Templars were able to run out the clock to preserve the victory.
After passing for 131 yards and rushing for 37 yards in the first half, Grantsville passed for only 19 yards and rushed for 23 yards in the second half.
Sandberg was able to return to action after injuring a knee in the opener at North Sanpete.
“He’s coming off that injury and has done a good job fighting back. His situation is pretty much day-to-day. Logan White has stepped up as a backup. We know he’s ready and he’s done a great job,” the coach said.
Sandberg completed eight passes for 97 yards and White five passes for 53 yards. Bartley led the team in receptions with five for 67 yards, Wood had four for 35 yards and Mouritsen two for 34 yards.
Brown led the rushing attack with 63 yards.
Kelley swarmed on defense with four tackles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Brown led the team in tackles with five.