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High school football: Cottonwood Colts 2018 preview

Note: Cottonwood finished with a 0-10 overall record in 2017 and was sixth in Region 7 with a 0-5 record. It did not qualify for the 5A playoffs.

Cottonwood 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

SALT LAKE CITY — Even if he realized he was stepping into a challenging situation, Bart Bowen certainly had a tough first season as head coach of the Cottonwood Colts in 2017.

The Colts went winless, and only averaged 9.9 points per game while giving up 52.8 per contest. The offensive number was better than only Murray among 5A teams, and the defensive number was the worst in the state regardless of classification by 9.7 points.

Bowen acknowledges that it was tough to keep spirits up as the losses mounted, but as the team looks toward the 2018 season, there’s optimism that things can at least be better this fall.

“The bar was set pretty low last year,” Bowen said. “Since January we have been working our butts off in the weight room. We have a lot more commitment and discipline out of our guys. Our numbers are small, but the guys we have, they’re football players. They work hard, they want contact, they want to do their best.”

Bowen noted that he’s got good facilities at his disposal and a supportive administration. The big goal now, he said, is to try to get more kids to buy in to the vision that the Colts can someday return to glory.

“Right now we’re just trying to get kids to commit, be willing to be coached hard, be willing to work hard, and we stick it out,” he said. “Once they start seeing the benefits of their hard work, they’re here, they’re locked in, because they know they have coaches that care about them, that love them, that are going to do anything for them as long as they do their part.”

It’s that goal of getting back to the times of a decade ago when Cottonwood was in the mix for state titles that helped Bowen and his staff stay motivated last season when it was tough to do so.

“You have to have a long-term picture in your head of, ‘We’re going to go through this hard year, and we’re going to build on it,’” he said, “and it just keeps snowballing bigger and bigger and bigger until it’s back to the old 2008 years.”

Cottonwood Colts at a glance

Coach: Bart Bowen is entering his second year leading the Colts and his second year as a high school head coach overall. He is a graduate of Bear River High School.

Cottonwood offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Casey Miller

2017 offensive production: 9.9 ppg (22nd in 5A)

  • 4 returning starters
  • Pro/spread offense

Returning offensive starters

Offensive newcomers to watch

Bowen’s comments on the offensive line:

“Our offensive line is solid. We have four returning starters coming back...even though we’re young, we’re solid up front. Our front seven is our strength this year for sure.”

Bowen’s comments on quarterback Hunter Workman:

“He’s improved immensely in the weight room. He’s putting up numbers that are right on par with most high school kids. His arm’s gotten stronger. It’s only upside for him.”

Bowen’s comments on his offensive philosophy in 2018:

“Ultimately we’re going to play old school, ironman football this year...it’s different than what I’ve ever done.”

Keys for offensive success: For better or worse, the Colts will be starting almost all the way over on offense in 2018 with a new quarterback, new running backs and new wide receivers. Can the new players bring an overall improvement, or will it be tough getting everyone adjusted? Cottonwood does have an experienced offensive line. Can that group set the tone, both in allowing the Colts to control the clock in the run game as Bowen wants to do, and in giving Workman time to pass?

Cottonwood defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Zach Foulger

2017 defensive production: 52.8 ppg (23rd in 5A)

  • 6 returning starters
  • 4-2-5 defense

Returning defensive starters

  • Sammy Duran (DL)
  • Etu Mauala (DL)
  • Ethan Manu (LB)
  • Kobe Grover (LB)
  • Joseph Madrigal (LB)
  • Marques Tonga (DB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Bowen’s comments on the defensive line:

“Pretty much my five offensive linemen are going to have to rotate on D-line. I don’t have the luxury of having a ‘I only play defense’ guy. They all learn the positions. They play many positions. They do what they’re asked because they know it’ll help the team.”

Bowen’s comments on lineman Sammy Duran:

“He’s been the anchor of our team for a lot of years. He’s always the loudest, most vocal, hardest worker. He’s the on-field example. He’s also a great kid.”

Keys for defensive success: It might sound elementary, but Bowen wants to do a better job of stopping the run and keeping pass plays in front of the defense. For a defense that gave up the most points of any team in the entire state a year ago, it’s probably the right approach to keep expectations basic. As with the offensive line, the Colts have experience up front on defense, and some potential playmakers at linebacker. The secondary is lacking on experience. How much will that hurt Cottonwood?

Coaches preseason Region 7 straw poll: Sixth

Deseret News Region 7 prediction: Sixth

Key region game: at Brighton, Oct. 11

Bottom line: With how rough 2017 was for the Colts, there’s hope that there’s nowhere to go but up in 2018. Bowen appears to be invested enough in wanting the program to succeed that it’s reasonable to expect some progress in 2018. That being said, the coach doesn’t have a big roster at his disposal, and he’s starting over in a lot of position groups. In other words, it’s probably not fair to expect a huge jump in success in 2018, but can Cottonwood at the very least be more competitive?

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — at Olympus, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — CLEARFIELD, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — KEARNS, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — HILLCREST, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — at Wasatch, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — at Alta, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — JORDAN, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — CORNER CANYON, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 — at Brighton, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17 — TIMPVIEW, 7 p.m.

….

Felt’s Facts for Cottonwood

All-time record: 187-298-3 (48 years)

Region championships: 6 (1984, 2005 co, 2007 co, 2008, 2009 co, 2010)

Playoff appearances: 23

Current playoff appearance streak: 0

All-time playoff record: 16-23

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-2

Most played rivalry: 36 meetings with Skyline dating back to 1972. Skyline leads 30-6. Last met 2010.

Felt’s Factoid(s): Cottonwood set championship game records in the 2004 title game for most passing yards (470) and first downs (28). QB Alex Cate holds the championship game records for passing yards (463), passing touchdowns (5) and passing attempts (53), set the same year.

...

Last 5

  • 2017 — 0-10 (0-5 in Region 7 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2016 — 1-9 (1-5 in Region 3 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2015 — 2-8 (1-5 in Region 3 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2014 — 5-6 (2-3 in Region 2 – Missed playoffs)
  • 2013 — 5-5 (3-2 in Region 2 – 5A First round)

...

Cottonwood coaching history

  • 2017-current — Bart Bowen (0-10)
  • 2015-2016 — Mike Tidwell (3-17)
  • 2012-2014 — Greg Croshaw (13-19)
  • 2010-2011 — Josh Lyman (15-6)
  • 2007-2009 — Cecil Thomas (31-7)
  • 2000-2006 — Tom Jones (34-46)
  • 1998-1999 — Steve Coburn (2-17)
  • 1991-1997 — Mike Reardon (12-51)
  • 1979-1990 — Tom Jones (52-68)
  • 1970-1978 — Coach Linford (24-57)

.....

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2014 — TJ Fehoko, DL
  • 2013 — TJ Fehoko, DL
  • 2012 — Inoke Lotulelei, WR
  • 2008 — Steve Romero, QB
  • 2008 — Isi Sofele, RB
  • 2008 — Alo Moli, WR
  • 2008 — John Martinez, OL
  • 2008 — Percy Taumoelau, OL

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.