Prep football preview: Cottonwood Colts
EDITOR'S NOTE • This is one in a series of previews of Utah's high school football programs. They will run throughout the summer leading up to the 2014 regular season, which begins Aug. 21.
After a highly successful career as football coach at what was then Dixie College, Greg Croshaw moved back to the high school ranks two years ago when he took over a Cottonwood program with strong players that was struggling with controversy.
The veteran coach has found the change different but enjoyable as he enters his third season.
"Coaching is great fun," he said. "That's what I do. It's a whole new set of circumstances. I was successful at Dixie because when I needed a running back or a quarterback, I could go out and recruit one. If you weren't successful, it was because I didn't recruit. They kind of frown on that in high school."
Croshaw took Cottonwood to the first round of the state tournament the past two years with a team that made up for what it lacked in quantity with quality. Cottonwood's boundaries stretch well into the west side of the valley, sometimes making it difficult for athletes who might like to play football to find a way to get home without an activities bus.
"Depth has been the weakness for the two years I have been there," said the veteran coach. "We are lucky to have 50 or 60 kids out, and that counts freshmen. We are not going to have 120 guys on the sideline, like some of those programs."
What Cottonwood does have are quality players. For example, quarterback Cooper Bateman who played for the Colts two years ago is competing for the job at Alabama this year. T.J. Fehoko, a defensive lineman on this year's team, has already committed to Colorado. Crowshaw says Fua Putupai, a defensive end, has received offers from Oregon, Oregon State and Utah.
The problem is simply lack of depth. If any of the frontline players get injured, replacing them will be a challenge.
That said, the Colts certainly should be competitive in Region 2 again this year.
Last year • 5-5 overall, 3-2 in Region 2. Lost to Brighton in first round of state tournament.
Key returner • Defensive lineman T.J. Fehoko will soon be plying his trade in the Pac-12, having committed to Colorado.
Player to watch • Defensive end Fua Putpau could be a Pac-12 player too, with offers from Oregon, Oregon State and Utah.
Biggest hole • The team has good frontline players, but lacks depth. Injuries could create some major problems.
Need to know • The Colts play in an evenly-matched region that didn't fare well at state last season. All four teams lost in the first round. Cottonwood has never won a state football championship.