For the second consecutive week, I had the chance to cover the Alta High School football team. The Hawks defeated Cottonwood 37-13 in a 5A quarterfinal contest at Alta.
It was a beautiful day for football. Sunny skies, only a little bit of wind, with temperatures in the upper 50s. I wore a coat, but didn't need it until late in the game.
Alta is a great team. The Hawks don't beat themselves. They make you beat them. Cottonwood and Alta faced off in the first game of the regular season, and the Hawks dominated, 59-20. QB Jordan Brown is the offensive leader, and had a great game. But to beat Alta, you have to hold down their receivers.
Zach Liston, Skyler Mayne and Tyron Morris each had great games, and they made Brown look good. Alta's offensive line usually gave Brown time to throw, and Cottonwood couldn't keep up. With the win, Alta advanced to play Bingham in one 5A semifinal game at Rice-Eccles Stadium. In the other game, Hunter will play Davis.
I'm trying to avoid disrespecting Hunter and Davis, but you have to figure the Alta-Bingham winner will be favored in the 5A championship game. Alta is the two-time defending 5A champion, but Bingham should be favored to win next week's game because the Miners edged Alta earlier this year.
Cottonwood looked good in the first quarter of this game. QB Crosby Jensen hit Tim Glenn a few times and RB Nadan Hosea earned the majority of his yardage. The defense also stopped Alta on its first two drives. The Colts hurt themselves, though, when Jensen threw an interception that led to Alta's points. Cottonwood also settled for field goals, instead of touchdowns, and couldn't gain a lot of momentum.
This is Cottonwood's first year back in 5A, and the Colts were respectable, although they believe they should win it all. They simply don't have the depth and talent like Alta and Bingham ... not yet at least. Cottonwood finished with an 8-4 record, and lost to teams that are still playing. Cheers for Cottonwood for playing a tough schedule, and for challenging itself to be the best team possible.
Cheers also for both teams in that they played with class. In the first game they played, there was some on-field talk between the teams, and it may have lacked sportsmanship. This game was different.
So, what do I remember most from this game?
* - Realistically, it wasn't that memorable, except I believe I learned more about Alta's football team. That may come in handy next week when I watch the big semifinal contest. Steve Luhm was there, representing the Salt Lake Tribune. I used to work with Steve when were both at the Tribune, and he is a good guy. He's a big asset to the Trib's sports department, and it was a pleasure to hang out with them at this game.
* - Alta's receivers aren't that fast, but they're quick. They also broke a lot of tackles that led to big plays. Alta had four pass plays over 40 yards. What's sad is they are in the same region as Jordan's great receivers, so it's possible some of those guys won't make first team all-region, even though they might deserve it.
* - Cottonwood's uniforms. The Colts' colors are yellow, black and white, and they sometimes differentiate their uniforms for each game. I like that. Alta wears all black at home, with grey numbers. The numbers are somewhat difficult to read from a distance, but I've noticed a number of teams are going with that kind of design.
* - The homes that overlook Alta's field. They are above the stadium, on a small hill, and it gives the homeowners great views of the games. There are some disadvantages to east-facing homes, but if I lived there, I would host parties every night Alta plays at home.
* - The game started at 4 p.m., and it was a bright afternoon. Alta was on the west side of the field, and in the shade. Cottonwood was in the sun for most of the first half, and it couldn't have been comfortable. I noticed a lot of people there trying to shield their eyes from the sun. Steve and I stayed on Alta's sideline in the first half, then moved to the Cottonwood side after the sunset.
* - Parking. Last week, I found a nice parking spot. This time, I had to park in a nearby neighborhood. Still, the stadium wasn't full. It helps to arrive early, it seems, to get the best parking spot.
I got to the game late, so my statistics weren't as good as usual. However, the Cottonwood statisticians provided me with some info, so I was able to catch up. Here they are:
Cottonwood 3 3 0 7 - 13
Alta 3 13 21 0 - 37
A – FG Vance Bingham 41
C – FG Riley Harper 27
C – FG Harper 28
A – Tyron Morris 67 pass from Jordan Brown (Bingham kick)
A – FG Bingham 23
A – FG Bingham 28
A – Morris 70 pass from Brown (Bingham kick)
A – Skyler Mayne 3 run (Bingham kick)
A – Mayne 21 pass from Brown (Bingham kick)
C – Jason Lundquist 10 pass from Crosby Jensen (Harper kick)
First downs: Alta 20, Cottonwood 17
Rushes-yards: Alta 26-74, Cottonwood 28-116
Passing yards: Alta 432, Cottonwood 188
Passes: Alta 20-25-0, Cottonwood 17-45-1
Fumbles: Alta 0-0, Cottonwood 2-2
Penalties: Alta 8-77, Cottonwood 7-45
Punts: Alta 3-38.3, Cottonwood 4-50.2
RUSHING: Alta – Eyring 10-34, Finnerty 7-33, Mayne 5-22, Jefferson 1-7, Brown 3 -(-14). Cottonwood – N. Hosea 25-98, K. Hosea 2-13, Carter 1-5.
PASSING: Alta – Brown 19-24-0-424, Handley 1-1-0-8. Cottonwood – Jensen 16-38-1-188.
RECEIVING: Alta – Liston 8-173, Mayne 8-86, Morris 3-166, Eyring 1-7. Cottonwood – Glenn 8-103, Lundquist 5-55, Roberts 2-16, N. Hosea 2-10, Beveridge 1-9, Jensen 1-(-1).