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2A high school football championship: Manti smothers Millard 37-9

Published: Saturday, Nov. 12 2011 5:26 p.m. MST

Manti celebrates their win over Millard by singing the school song in the 2A football championship game in Pleasant Grove Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PLEASANT GROVE — Last week, Manti advanced to the state 2A title game largely on its defense.

This week, the offense came along for the ride, stomping Millard, 37-9, to capture the state title at Pleasant Grove High School on Saturday.

"We talked to them all year about having fun," Manti head coach Cole Meacham said. "We said, 'Don't think about the state championship until we get there.'"

The Templars were certainly focused on the win over the Eagles on Saturday, as they built a 37-0 lead after three quarters.

During the first half, Manti's solid defense allowed only 29 yards and a single first down.

"We felt like we needed to come out and do something," Meacham said. "The defense, especially, came out and really did something."

On offense, the Templars almost exclusively kept it on the ground, running the ball 46 times for 241 yards. Manti's leading rusher was Colin Haymond, who had 59 yards on five carries.

The Templars got a pair of rushing touchdowns from quarterback Brady Aste, while Zane Stevens, Kenneth Peterson and Christian Boorman also had scoring runs.

Carlo Garcia, who was responsible for all of Manti's points last week against South Summit with a pair of field goals, booted a 35-yarder against Millard.

While the Templar defense was giving up virtually nothing to Millard, Manti's offense was moving the ball with regularity. They attempted to throw the ball only three times during the first half, while Aste and Stevens tacked on 1-yard and 2-yard touchdown runs, with Garcia's field goal sandwiched in between.

A recovery of a muff on a punt snap put Manti at Millard's 18-yard line. That was quickly turned into a score on Aste's 6-yard run.

The floodgates really came open in the final two minutes of the third quarter when Peterson's 6-yard run was followed up by an interception by Haymond. That eventually set up a 1-yard plunge by Boorman.

"From the first day of practice we talked about finishing," Meacham said. "It's about finishing this play, this game, everything we start we want to finish."

Manti certainly did finish the Eagles off, but not before Millard got on the scoreboard late.

The Eagles put together a drive — which took 7:09 of clock — that ended in a 44-yard field goal by Pancho Alcala.

An onside kick was recovered by Millard's Dakota Bullock. That effort was capitalized by Jesse Rhodes' 48-yard touchdown run.

Another successful onside kick — again recovered by Bullock — failed to produce another score on the Eagles' last possession, and Manti took a knee to end the game.

The Templars' stout defense ended the game with three sacks. Aaron Austad and Colton Miller each recorded one, while Koleton Moon and Blake Schiess combined on one. In addition, Manti's defense recorded nine tackles for loss.

After the game, Meacham continued to return to what he considered a key philosophy for his team.

"It's been our motto all year, to finish strong, every single day," he said. "It was a complete team effort."

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