5A football: Robbie Hutchins develops into force for Brighton
The road to kneeling the most important kneel of his young football career was snaking for Robbie Hutchins.
On Friday afternoon against the defending Class 5A champion Jordan Beetdiggers, Hutchins, who didn't own a blue Brighton Bengal jersey a year ago and wasn't the starter until Drew Jensen went down with injury, trotted out to kill the remaining 15 seconds in Brighton's 44-20 win over Jordan.
The junior quarterback was a backup to future Alabama quarterback Cooper Bateman at Cottonwood a year ago. But he transferred to Brighton, moving in with his grandfather for a shot to join a team with weapons like Osa Masina and Isaiah Kaufusi.
"It was tough at first," Hutchins said after topping the Beetdiggers, a football tucked into his left arm. "It was really intense with the competition and stuff like that, but the guys were just really welcoming. These are my brothers now. Winning games and stuff just brought us together."
Winning games definitely helped.
Friday's 24-point win showcased a plethora of things for Brighton, but Hutchins' 198-yard performance on 14-of-23 passing proved that the Bengals aren't just a one-trick pony riding the legs of Masina. Hutchins kept the Jordan defense honest all day with his arm, a byproduct of a job worked for in practice and earned over the course of a season.
"We noticed he had confidence," Brighton coach Ryan Bullett said, "but as the year wore on, the kids got confidence in him as the offensive line got better. [The offensive linemen] were more comfortable with him, then the receivers started getting a little more comfortable."
Brighton's left tackle Jackson Barton, a University of Utah commit, said he's proud of Hutchins' development behind center.
"Robbie's been good all season for us," Barton said. "I'm just really proud that he stepped up to the plate when Drew went out with a broken wrist. I'm really happy with the development he's been going under."
Hutchins said the transition, predictably, eventually was eased with being taken under the wing of Barton and the offensive line as well as Masina, Kaufusi and the other Bengal skill players.
"Just having playmakers on both sides of the ball," he said. "The defense makes it easy for me, and it makes it easier having playmakers like that."
The chemistry built and developed couldn't be coming to a head at a better time for Brighton. The Bengals will play for the 5A crown next Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
So with Hutchins' arm being added to the already stocked Brighton offensive arsenal, does that allow the Bengals to open the playbook even more?
"Sure," Bullett said, "but that's not our style. We'll do what we can."