Cottonwood football opens their historic 2020 season respectably at Summit AcademySep 21, 2020 04:19PM ● By Brian Shaw
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
Standing in a sea of assistant football coaches, bench players and fans clad in masks, Cottonwood head coach Casey Miller stood on the sideline in his mask as his best 11 players in helmets and pads were standing alongside him Aug. 14 at Summit Academy, receiving their final instructions in this, the 2020 season opener.
Hours before the game started, Miller had his players temperatures checked and made certain they tested negative for COVID-19. Above all, Miller and his team had been over and over the game prep in the days leading up to the season opener.
"We were missing one of our players due to a COVID issue in his family, and we had to start a new player," Miller said.
For this game, less the one player out, the Colts football team was good to go to open 2020. Months after a pandemic had turned the world upside down, they slipped on their helmets, straightened their chin straps, took in deep breaths and jogged onto the field as the sun beat down.
Sure, some things looked vastly different for everyone involved. The social distancing. The smaller crowds spread out across the bleachers. And the masks. For Cottonwood though, dealing with adversity isn't anything new, and football is football. The Colts football team played the 2019 season so short handed that most games had a running clock from start to finish. The name of those game was survival. This year? Different story, according to the Colts head coach.
"This was the first game in almost three years that there wasn't a [running clock] due to us being so far behind," Miller said.
The Colts came out from the opening whistle with something to prove. They were still smarting from the pounding they took when Summit traveled to Cottonwood in the 2019 season opener, and several of those Colts players from the 2019 team were here on Summit Academy turf—a year older and wiser.
That experience showed through in first series of 2020 as the Colts defense took Summit’s best shot off the opening kickoff, forcing a turnover—then administered a little payback a few plays later with a touchdown toss to senior Joseph Madrigal, who sprinted into the end zone giving Cottonwood a 6-0 lead off in its first offensive possession.
Cottonwood wouldn’t score again to open this historic season in which the Colts will play an independent schedule as they strive to build up sagging numbers in the program and get back the competitive juices needed to compete against Skyline and Highland. While the Colts kept the score close, training only 13-6 at the half, Summit would pull away with more numbers and depth in the second half, dealing the Colts a 40-6 defeat.
"We played a full game and for about half of it, we competed and had a chance," said Miller, whose team started two freshmen at wide receiver and had a sophomore backup wideout starting as well in the season opener. "They are well coached and platoon. They wore us out. In the second half we turned it over three times on the first play of each series; that's how the score got out of hand. It was closer than what many think. I am super proud of my kids."
For the Colts, they’re scheduled to play eight games this season including this game at Summit. In games taking place after City Journals press time, a home tilt against Carbon on Aug. 21 is going to also serve as Cottonwood's senior night due to the unpredictable nature of this COVID-19 pandemic. Then another home tilt against Copper Hills on Aug. 28 will round out a busy month.