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High school football: Cottonwood Colts 2019 preview

Note: Cottonwood finished with a 1-9 overall record in 2018 and was sixth in Region 7 with a 0-5 record. It did not qualify for the 5A playoffs.

Cottonwood 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

SALT LAKE CITY — The Cottonwood Colts football program has seen a fair share of struggles on the field since 2015, as it has won just four games total between then and now.

Heading into the 2019 season, the program will have its third head coach since 2015, as former offensive coordinator Casey Miller takes over for Bart Bowen, who is now the head coach at Logan.

While Miller stressed that Bowen tried to do the right things in building the program, it’s still “at the very, very, very beginning,” according to the new coach, with about 50 kids total on the squad.

“We have a lot of kids who have never played football before,” Miller said. “We’ve been trying to go through the hallways, ‘Come try football. Bring a friend.’ The kids who have been on the team, ‘Please bring a friend, even if they’ve never played football before.’”

Given where the program is, Miller said he’s had frank conversations with his players about wins and losses, but his hope is that no matter what the scoreboard says, his players give maximum effort.

“We’re not going to be a good win and loss football team,” Miller said. “We need to go out there and try our best and compete and make the other team go, ‘You know what? They only had like 20 dudes, but they freakin’ played us tough.’”

In truth, head coach Miller has a higher priority than what happens on the field, as he has stressed making sure players go to class and otherwise conduct themselves properly.

“We’re not going to be the greatest football team ever,” he said, “but if we can teach them the right way to live when they’re done with football and done with high school, that’s the No. 1 priority.”

Cottonwood Colts at a glance

Coach: Casey Miller is entering his first season as head coach of the Colts after being their offensive coordinator the past two seasons. He was the head coach of the Hillcrest Huskies from 2011-2013, where he compiled a 7-23 record.

Miller’s comments on new UHSAA RPI:

“I was a (chemistry) major and a math minor. I haven’t seen how the formula actually works, so I really don’t know.”

Cottonwood offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Casey Miller

2018 offensive production: 5.5 ppg (24th in 5A)

— 2 returning starters

— Pro-style offense

Returning offensive starters

Jake Miner (TE moving to QB)

Jadakiss Sipai (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Joseph Madrigal (RB)

Isaiah Marichal (RB/WR)

Mike Miller (RB/WR)

Cesar Yazzie (TE)

Stockton Kelsch (OL)

JJ Mitchell (OL)

Michael Kimmell (OL)

Jesse Warren (OL)

Miller’s comments on quarterback Jake Miner

“He should be a tight end, but he comes every single day. He’s the leader of this group, and I trust him more than anybody. He’s not going to be the greatest throwing quarterback of all time, but I trust him, and the quarterback’s got to be the guy that you trust. He’s put in the time and the effort. He deserves to be the one in charge of what’s going on.”

Miller’s comments on offensive lineman Jadakiss Sipai

“Jadakiss is our kid. He’s the one body we’ve got that is a legitimate 5A body.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

It’s primed to be another tough year for the Colts offensively, but can Jake Miner make the right decisions to help keep his team in games? Can Jadakiss Sipai be excellent and help his fellow offensive linemen learn the ropes so the run game can have some success? Can the running backs and wide receivers be effective enough to keep drives alive?

Cottonwood defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Casey Miller

2018 defensive production: 51.6 ppg (24th in 5A)

— 2 returning starters

— 4-3 defense

Returning defensive starters

Jake Miner (LB)

Jadakiss Sipai (DL)

Defensive newcomers

Stockton Kelsch (DL)

JJ Mitchell (DL)

Michael Kimmell (DL)

Jesse Warren (DL)

Joseph Madrigal (LB)

Isaiah Marichal (LB)

Mike Miller (DB)

Isaiah Rivera (DB)

Miller’s comments on keeping things simple:

“We’re going to be basic. I’m sure some of the other coaches are going to know what we’re trying to do, but we’ve got to keep it as basic as we can ... it is what it is.”

Miller’s comments on player effort thus far:

“Football’s not a thing for everybody. It’s a hard thing to do, and we have a lot of kids who are doing their very best and they’re giving us everything they’ve got. I love the kids. We have a lot of kids who love football and they want to play football and they’re going to play football. As long as they keep fighting, I’m going to keep fighting.”

Keys for defensive success in 2019:

Miller said that because of a running clock, the Colts only played about six full games last season. Can the defense help that number at least get bigger? On a more specific level, can some of the more talented players in the front seven find a way to be successful to help the secondary out?

Bottom line

It likely will be another hard year at Cottonwood from a wins-and-losses perspective, but a level of success will have been achieved if Miller can start to lay the foundation he wants for the program, which includes getting more kids involved. Can spirits remain high throughout the campaign even if losses start to rack up toward the end?

Coaches preseason Region 6 straw poll: Seventh

Deseret News Region 6 prediction: Seventh

2019 schedule

Aug. 16 — SUMMIT ACADEMY, 7 p.m.

Aug. 23 — at West, 7 p.m.

Aug. 30 — at Copper Hills, 7 p.m.

Sept. 6 — SKYLINE, 7 p.m.

Sept. 13 — at Murray, 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 — BRIGHTON, 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 — at Highland, 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 — MAPLE MOUNTAIN, 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 — OLYMPUS, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 — at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.

….

Felt’s Facts for Cottonwood High School

All-time record: 188-307-3 (49 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: 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

  • 2018 — 1-9 (0-5 in Region 7 – Missed playoffs)
  • 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)

...

Cottonwood coaching history

  • 2019 — Casey Miller (0-0)
  • 2017-2018 — Bart Bowen (1-19)
  • 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

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