South Summit football: Wildcats handcuffed by defending champs Manti
Before last Friday’s game, South Summit’s Jerry Parker described the defending 2A state champion Manti Templars as "big, strong and fast" and said if his Wildcats had any hope of handing the Templars their first loss of the 2012 season, they’d have to play a perfect game.
"We didn’t," said South Summit’s head coach.
The Wildcats saw their four-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the mighty Templars Friday night at Wildcat Stadium in Kamas 21-0.
The momentum swung Manti’s way on a 3rd-and-19 play from its own seven-yard line with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Templar quarterback Connor Aste found wideout Jamen Miller who simply outran two South Summit defenders for a game-changing 93-yard touchdown.
The Wildcats were stunned and would not recover. Their high-octane offense was held in check throughout the evening by an aggressive Manti defense which, according to Parker, had "eight guys on the line of scrimmage every play."
"Offensively, we just couldn’t get on track. We were off," he said. "(Manti) took the outside away. That was their objective. It was tough, so we tried to loosen them up with the pass, but just couldn’t get (receivers) the ball."
South Summit running backs Hayden Packard and Porter Santos were handcuffed as the Templars were able to take away the outside edge — which the two so often use to their advantage — from the Wildcat speedsters.
"Of course every team tries to take that way from them," Parker explained, "but Manti was successful."
Through its first five games of the season, South Summit averaged nearly 42 points per game, but Friday night the Wildcats ran into a buzz-saw. They had five turnovers against the Templars, as well as a blocked punt. Parker said the team must work harder if it wants to be able to contend with Manti later on down the road.
"Manti came ready to play and we were out of sync," he said. "Honestly, though, we were lucky to be that close with five turnovers and a blocked punt.
"We move on. I hope (the loss) zeroes us in on what we need to do and how hard we need to work. I believe we can work harder. Some of that is mental; we need to cut out the little mistakes."
The Wildcats (5-2) move on this week to face county rival North Summit Friday night in Coalville. The Braves (2-3), who are coming off a 38-18 win over North Sevier, have seen senior quarterback-turned-running back Ben Stephens flourish. On Friday night against the Wolves, the speedster ran for 203 yards. Replacement quarterback Ryan McMichael has also given the Braves the ability to throw the ball down the field.
"They’re a totally different team than what they were three weeks ago," Parker said. "I think we’re going to have to show up and play. We always have to show up and play against them. It’ll be interesting.
"The (South Summit) community’s involved in it and their community is involved it. I like that it means something. It’s fun to go to the games when the stands are full and Coalville brings it."
South Summit hasn’t lost to its rival since Oct. 3, 2008, but Parker said in order to keep the streak painted green it must bring it’s A game.
"We don’t like to lose to Coalville. We take it seriously," he said. "The streak is going to end eventually, but we’re headed to this game making sure it doesn’t end this year."
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