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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood seniors JJ Mitchell, Doug Maughan earn Academic All-State in two sports

Jul 22, 2021 12:09PM ● By Brian Shaw

Doug Maughan (left) and JJ Mitchell (right) were recognized as Academic All-State athletes in both football and track. 

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

In the eyes of Cottonwood football head coach Casey Miller, variety is the spice of life. In his view, the fact that other high school football programs across the state practice year-round is counterproductive. 

“We don't do any practices from October through end of school,” said Miller. “Lots of places have made football year-round. I hate it.”

Instead, the coach urges his players to play all the sports that Cottonwood offers. “I want them doing everything they can…Wrestle, track, baseball, basketball,” he added. 

There may be some truth to the coach’s philosophy, because this past year saw JJ Mitchell and Doug Maughan, two of his top football players not only play different sports—football in the fall and track this spring—but end up thriving so well in the classroom that both were named to the Academic All-State team, in both sports. 

Mitchell and Maughan manned the offensive and defensive lines for Cottonwood and ran track in several events. In football, Mitchell won three player of the game awards for the Colts, two on offense and one on defense, as well as the player of the game award overall for a Sept. 4 performance. 

Mitchell will be on his way to Utah State University soon to major in aeronautical engineering, and he graduated from Cottonwood with honors according to Miller, but it’s his hard work on and off the gridiron that impressed the coach the most.  

“JJ took the hardest classes Cottonwood has to offer, and already has his plan for college,” said Miller. “He was another one who has shown up every single day and has worked just as hard at football as he does at school and turned himself into a very good center and defensive end for us. I can't think of a game where he didn't play well this entire season and was easily the best OL and DL we had this season.” 

Maughan was a great kid the Cottonwood coach said he could trust with anything, something the graduated senior leader earned over time and by trial and error. 

“Doug is the kid who has used football to learn about himself and become a more well-rounded person. He made Academic All-State this year having almost a perfect GPA for all four years of high school,” added Miller. “He was a national merit scholarship finalist and had never played any football before high school. He has come so far and has been a great example that you can do well in school and be at all our football requirements if you are willing to work hard.” 

Maughan’s future plans include getting a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics, having earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Utah where he will begin his studies. 

For the coach, he’s sad to see them go, as they were the linchpins of his team. 

“Both kids are the kids we wished we had 100 of...hard working, no excuses, and kids who wanted to do everything a teacher/coach asks of them.”