MURRAY — With almost all of its offense gone, it was no secret Cottonwood would be a young, inexperienced soccer team.
What had been a secret, though, was the Colts weren't exactly worried about where their scoring was going to come from. And after a few weeks of the season, Cottonwood opponents are also in on the news.
Canada Clawson, just a sophomore, has burst onto the scene for the Colts and is scoring goals in bunches.
"We're in a big transition," Cottonwood coach Amanda Bollinger said after a recent 2-1 win over Olympus. "We lost our top three scorers and didn't know exactly where we were going to get our points from. So, we're adjusting."
The quiet blonde doesn't do a lot of talking on the field. Rather, she uses her nimble footwork and heady vision of the field to create scoring opportunities for herself and others.
"Canada just finishes the opportunities she's been getting," Bollinger said. "She's a really good one-on-one player, but she also fits into the teamwork perfectly."
Through the first eight games of the season, Clawson had tallied 11 goals and sparked the Colts to a trio of wins.
"I played a little bit last year so I'm not totally new here when I was a freshman," Clawson said. "This year they have me playing forward and I like that a lot."
Against Olympus, Clawson scored a pair of goals. Her second came as she took a pass and avoided a rushing Titans goalie with a quick sidestep that left her alone with an empty net.
A soft boot sent the ball into the back of the net and proved to be the winning score as Olympus made a furious offensive charge during the second half.
Being a team leader isn't exactly something Clawson asked for, but it's something she's capable of handling.
"We have a very young team," she said. "This year, it makes me feel like I have to help the young ones so we don't look quite so young."
Easing the transition from a senior-laden team to a sophomore-led team is Clawson's skill.
"When I have the ball, I just want to fake them out anyway you can and set yourself up with the best shot you can," Clawson said.
The Colts may not replicate all of the success they've seen in recent years. But the future looks bright.
"Being out there, scoring a lot of goals, it makes me look forward to the years I have to come here," Clawson said. "I've got three years left to play here and I think we'll be pretty good."