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The City Journals

New Cottonwood football coach on the lookout for small victories

Aug 31, 2017 11:13AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Cottonwood football played Clearfield on Aug. 25 with their next home game on Sept. 15. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Brian Shaw   |   [email protected]

New head football coach Bart Bowen brings with him to Cottonwood a new philosophy gleaned from years of prowling the sidelines as a position coach at Kearns. 

Upon his arrival, Bowen cleaned out the weight room and the press box and demanded accountability from his players. Well, after a long hot summer his Colts players finally ran out onto the field on Aug. 18 against Olympus in Bowen’s first stint as a head coach.  

“They were pretty pumped up about this game. Olympus is a well-coached program with a lot of tradition. But, we were excited about the chance to play them, and you know, that kind of helps with the buy-in,” said Bowen.  

“I think you get a lot of kids fired up because when they start to see the success—and I’m talking about the small victories too, enjoying the process—then it’s huge for the program,” he added. 

In the “Above The Line” coaching philosophy that Bowen has adapted from Urban Meyer’s now-famous coaching style at Ohio State, the new Colts head coach is looking for small victories within the football program as a whole. 

“I had a couple players who I didn’t think were gonna make it in this system,” said Bowen. “But now, they’ve surprised me. They’re not causing problems within the team anymore and so I see that as actually a very big victory.” 

At home on the Cottonwood High School turf in the Aug. 18 game, the Colts played a very respectable first half of football, scoring early in the second quarter on a 1-yard Ethan Wallace-Manu plunge to narrow the Olympus lead to 10-7. 

“We actually went for it on fourth down earlier in the drive and I took a little bit of a risk,” added Bowen, who helmed his first-ever game as a head coach at any level.  “So when we got down to the goal line, we actually didn’t make our block correctly [for Wallace-Manu] but he’s a 230-pound fullback running full speed at you.” 

The most surprising thing, according to Bowen, was the Colts’ players reaction on the sideline to the bruising Colts fullback’s touchdown. Even with Olympus’ players outnumbering Cottonwood’s by a whopping 3-to-1 margin, it’s a sign of things to come for the Colts, according to Bowen. 

“You could tell it was something we weren’t expecting,” said Bowen, whose Colts then forced a turnover on downs to end the first half, keeping the game in reach down by just three points at 10-7. 

After that though, it was all Titans as Olympus cruised to a 45-7 victory, scoring four touchdowns in the third quarter alone. 

For Bowen, he added that the lumps the Colts took on Aug. 18 in their season opener are to be expected. 

“After the game, we talked about how we’ve gotta play for all four quarters, and I know it’s a coaching cliché, but in this case it was true,” said Bowen. “As a team, we did really good in the first and second quarters. In the third quarter, we saw Olympus make big plays and we couldn’t answer.” 

But, for a good 30 minutes of action, Bowen said he felt the Colts proved they can hang with one of the state’s best programs and in time they’ll get back to being respectable and perhaps feared again. 

In the meantime, the Colts will now take to the road for three straight games, including one at Kearns—the school at which Bowen coached for many years. And, so, getting better every day at practice will be the Colts’ priority going into this three-game road stretch. 

“We’re gonna work on everybody doing their job, because after watching film we know we’re one or two guys out of position from making big plays on offense, and we’re one or two guys away from forcing three and outs.”