Cottonwood football closes out Covid season with most wins in a decadeDec 14, 2020 11:59AM ● By Brian Shaw
Cottonwood finishes a successful season. (Photo courtesy Casey Miller)
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
Closing out the season Oct. 16 in front of only their parents due to a Covid-19 lockdown at Cottonwood High School, the Colts football team may have been a bit nervous starting the game throwing two interceptions, according to Colts head coach Casey Miller.
"It was 7-0 at the end of the first quarter," Miller said. "Then they fumbled twice and we were able to capitalize."
Yet the Colts weren't losing this game as they might have been in years past. They were actually ahead after a touchdown run from senior Joseph Madrigal. But when you've lost games by 60 or 70 points on a regular basis, you can forgive a team for being shell-shocked.
Cottonwood then took over the season finale from Judge Memorial from the second quarter on in a 35-7 romp, notching their fourth win—in a season of many milestones for the rising program.
By the time the fourth and final quarter started ticking down, Cottonwood (4-6 overall) was doing to Judge Memorial what other teams had done to the Colts the past three years, Miller added.
"We just ran the ball every play and called timeout with about nine minutes left in the game to pull all our seniors," Miller said.
Madrigal was the Colts' workhorse, galloping for 129 yards on 32 carries. He also clomped into the end zone three times on the night on short touchdown bursts—all in the first half.
Kaelen Gray continued being a big target for Cottonwood. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound freshman receiver snagged a 13-yard pass for a touchdown with 4:23 left in the second quarter from Brock Simpson, giving the Colts a 28-0 lead going into the locker room.
Sophomore quarterback Simpson plunged in on a 1-yard run during the third quarter for the Colts to close out the scoring.
But the seniors stole the last show, according to the head coach. "We rushed for our highest total the entire season with all five offensive linemen and our tight end being seniors," said Miller, whose Colts got a huge night from Madrigal.
On the defensive side, seniors also had both Colts sacks, as Doug Maughan registered 1.5 and JJ Mitchell 0.5. Mike Miller had several tackles and one interception.
The head coach added all played great. Of those seniors, when it came time to take a bow, Isaiah Marichal was the most emotional of them all, taking it all in as he walked off the Colts home field one last time as about 150 in the stands in masks cheered and held up signs.
"They deserved a standing ovation. This group had almost given up hope of anything other than [going] 0-10 with a bunch of blowouts before we went independent," Miller explained.
In comparison to other Class 5A schools who have more than 20 seniors on their rosters, the Colts had just 10. Yet most stuck it out for 2020 and were rewarded for their resilience.
"Eight of them have been around for it all so they were very proud of what we accomplished this year," he added.
And when the game ended and the lights went out for the last time on this historic Covid season, the seniors did something special, according to Miller.
"The seniors talked to the team in the end zone after the game," the coach said. "Each of them telling the younger kids to keep it going, not to give up…take the next step by working hard in the offseason and taking the program closer to where we want it to be."
The turning point this year for Cottonwood in Miller's estimation was the Homecoming Game Sept. 18 against Timpanogos. In that game, the Colts got their second win of the year after a 16-point third quarter broke open a tight first half, giving them a 40-27 win, their second in 2020.
"The past four of five years, it's been [an] 0-10 [season] or we luckily got one [win]," Miller said. "Getting that second win and having it be on Homecoming was really something I think the kids embraced as a point where they thought, 'We can actually do this.'"