Cottonwood football wraps up 2018 season with marked statistical improvementNov 26, 2018 02:44PM ● By Brian Shaw
Head coach Bart Bowen gives a thumbs-up to one of his players. Bowen lead the Colts to their first win in almost two years. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
The Cottonwood Colts football team finished the season with a 0-5 record in region play. But, they did win their first game in over two years — a first for second-year head coach Bart Bowen as well.
Cottonwood had a 1-9 record overall, giving Colts fans and alumni some hope. Because after two-plus years of languishing in the basement of Class 5A football, the Colts improved statistics reflect the hard work they have been putting in.
For one, quarterback Hunter Workman was inserted in the starting lineup after spending two years at a different position. The senior stepped into some big shoes that departed QB Gabe Hagerman filled last year upon graduating.
Workman shined at times in 2018, throwing for 856 yards — more than 300 yards the better of Hagerman's 2017 total. He completed 41 percent of his passes as well and threw for four touchdowns. He did also throw 10 interceptions.
The recipient of 37 of Workman's 81 throws for positive yardage was senior wide receiver Ben Ostler, who collected 357 receiving yards to go with one touchdown.
But the high-flying, acrobatic wideout on the team was senior Lawrence Lokonobei, who electrified the Cottonwood crowds — and audiences elsewhere — with mystifying catches. He may have only had 11 catches on the year but it didn't tell the whole story.
Every single grab Lokonobei made was worthy of the highlight reel. Those 11 receptions Lokonobei made came at a clip of 19 yards per grab. He also scored two receiving touchdowns on the year, leading all Colts in that category. He also led Cottonwood with 415 kickoff return yards, which included a 100-yard return for a score.
Sophomore Naalani Tsosie also accounted for 11 receptions for 104 yards, giving Colts fans a glimpse at their bright future indeed.
On the ground, Cottonwood was productive and balanced. The Colts running backs scored just one rushing touchdown all season — that from senior Kobe Grover, who also had 103 rushing yards.
Senior Ethan Wallace Manu led Cottonwood with 185 rushing yards while sophomore Joseph Madrigal wasn't far behind Manu with 179 yards on the ground.
Ostler — who also stars on Cottonwood's soccer team in the spring — connected on all seven of his extra-point tries as the Colts' starting kicker.
But the real reason for optimism, according to head coach Bowen, is the Cottonwood defense. Led by junior Viking Miller — who had three sacks to lead the Colts — Cottonwood improved drastically on that side of the ball in 2018.
Miller was everywhere on defense. He also had four quarterback hurries and 20 tackles — two of which were tackles for a loss.
The Colts do lose a great number of players to graduation especially on offense. But with such a young defensive corps in place and a capable running back in Madrigal, the future is in place at Cottonwood.