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The City Journals

Cottonwood football team improves offense says new coach

Oct 05, 2017 11:58AM ● By Jana Klopsch

The team has been having great practices on their beautiful field.

New Cottonwood head football coach Bart Bowen came into his new job knowing there would be some lumps. After all, he literally started from scratch, having cleaned out a filthy press box and weight room in an attempt to start fresh with not just sparkling facilities but a new team philosophy. 

The big picture for a once-struggling Cottonwood is clear enough. But, with three straight road games staring the Colts directly in the face, they not only faced their toughest challenges of the preseason—in several ways they met the challenges and begun to secure the small victories Bowen has told them they needed. 

“We had our best week of practice this week,” said Bowen, whose team wraps up a tough preseason slate at home to Wasatch after press time. “Hopefully, that translates over.”   

According to Bowen, the Colts are improving in every category, week to week. After suffering a tough opening loss to Olympus at home in which Cottonwood scored just seven points, the Colts took to the road Aug. 25 to face Clearfield—a team many pick to compete for a region title. 

Spotting the Falcons 15 points in the first quarter, Cottonwood kicked a field goal in the second quarter to narrow the gap. But, Clearfield rolled to three more touchdowns, handing the Colts a 36-3 loss which sent Cottonwood to 0-2 on the season.  

Friday, Sept. 1 saw the Colts travel to Kearns, the school at which Bowen spent many years running the Cougars offense. So, in a homecoming of sorts for the Colts new head coach, the boys matched Kearns first quarter touchdown with one of their own, knotting the game at 7-7 going into the second quarter. 

The second also saw the Colts match Kearns touchdown for touchdown to open that quarter deadlocked at 14. But, the Cougars roared ahead on two more rushing TD’s to take a 28-17 halftime lead into the locker room. 

“We started out strong,” said Bowen, who added his team is starting to click offensively. “Our game plan was to start out and get a score, and then we got a red zone stop and kicked a field goal—a 47-yarder, our kicker has got a good leg.” 

The second half started much like the opening stanza for Cottonwood who matched Kearns TD with one of its own—the third rushing TD of the game for the Colts. With a two-point conversion, Cottonwood narrowed Kearns lead to 35-25 to end the third quarter. 

But, in the fourth, Kearns put the game away for good, scoring twice on rushing TD’s. Cottonwood tacked on a fourth score on the ground to narrow the final outcome to 49-32 in favor of Kearns. The loss dropped the Colts to 0-3 on the young season. 

The Colts wrapped up the month Sept. 8 traveling to Hillcrest, a school still smarting from the tragic loss of head football coach Cazzie Brown to a sudden illness. 

The homestanding Huskies rode the spirit of their late coach and galloped out to a 21-10 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, heading out of the gate with a 42-23 victory. From an emotional standpoint, the game was difficult for Bowen—and for several Colts players who knew Brown personally. 

“We actually went to football camp with him this summer, going over the details with him,” added Bowen. “It was pretty hard, they handled it as well as to be expected. A few kids [on the Colts] even played AAU basketball for him.”

In what was an emotional game for all involved, Bowen said Cottonwood’s players made helmet stickers that they will wear all season in honor of the late Hillcrest head football coach.  

On a night when football took a back seat to the emotion the players felt, the Sept. 8 loss to Hillcrest sent Cottonwood to a 0-4 record. On the season, Ammon Sofele leads the Colts with 130 rushing yards and one score. Bruising fullback Ethan Wallace-Manu has also tacked on a TD along with 25 rushing yards. 

Through the air, quarterback Gabe Hagerman has thrown for 272 yards with one touchdown passing against one interception. On the receiving end, while Elijah Marichal leads the squad with 117 receiving yards he hasn’t reached the pylon as yet. Nick Armstrong and Connor Hyde each have scored a receiving touchdown. 

Next up for the Colts is their first home game in over a month, a preseason tilt versus Wasatch, in which they hope to win their first game of the year—before entering region play the following week.