Prep football: Cousins bully O-lines for Cottonwood
Cottonwood Heights • Here's the problem for quarterbacks facing Cottonwood.
Sophomore T.J. Fehoko, a 245-pound defensive end, comes charging around the edge and can destroy blockers on his path to wrapping up passers.
The natural inclination is to avoid the side he lines up on. But his cousin, 250-pound T.J. Pututau, is storming from the other end.
What to do, what to do?
"We're not selfish," Fehoko said, shrugging and smiling. "We know if one of us doesn't get the sack, the other will."
The Colts undoubtedly are facing a difficult season, now up to 0-5 and struggling to keep their playoff hopes alive in a difficult region. But a bright spot that stands out from the disappointments is how aggressive the defensive line has been this year.
It hasn't yet translated into a win, but Cottonwood's pass rush has been productive this season. Fehoko is a precocious talent, accounting for nine sacks on his own.
He's the player opponents have to try to account for on every play. Skyline (Wash.) coaches identified Fehoko as the defense's main threat going into its nationally televised game with Cottonwood, and he still sacked top-rated quarterback Max Browne twice on the first drive.
"He can teach me stuff," Pututau said. "He has really good hands and gets blockers off him. That's all we both really do, just try to go hard and get to the quarterback."
Fehoko is not the only one on the defense making plays in the backfield. The Colts have recorded 21 sacks. Pututau doesn't quite have the numbers that his younger cousin has, but he still plays an important role in bringing pressure from the other end and plugging up any chance for escape.
There are more than a few standout defenders in their extended family. The boys list Utes V.J. Fehoko and Star Lotulelei as cousins that they shape their game after.
As children, both worried they wouldn't inherit the size that would allow them to take after their much more notable cousins. Fehoko says he was scrawny, and Pututau jokes that his baby fat held on a bit longer than he would've liked.
Growth spurts have made them forces for Cottonwood's defense. They hope their efforts will bring results in the win column.
The Colts' offense averaged nearly 30 points per game last season. That's down to 13 this year.
"It makes it a little harder, yeah," Fehoko said. "We're trying to just stay positive, to lift each other up."
Losing their first region game to West Jordan was a downer for the Colts, but they continue to work, continue to charge. Don't sleep on them.
"It makes us work harder," Pututau said. "We're trying to come together and play as one mentally."
Defensive line a highlight in tough season
Sophomore T.J. Fehoko has nine sacks this season, good for second in the state.
The Colts have 21 sacks so far despite an 0-5 record.