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5A high school football playoffs: Big second half lifts Cottonwood over Herriman

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 3:07 p.m. MDT

MURRAY — Being that Halloween is right around the corner, saying that Cottonwood received a scare in the first half of its 5A first-round home game against Herriman Friday afternoon would be nothing short of appropriate.

After three first-half turnovers and a barrage of mistakes and penalties the Colts found themselves trailing at halftime to the first-year school.

However, the second half was a far different story.

The Colts dominated in every aspect from the third quarter on and scored touchdowns on four straight drives to open the half en route to a convincing 54-24 win to advance to the second round.

"We put our defense in bad situations in the first quarter with three turnovers right off the bat — it was a nightmare. We couldn't ask for a worse start," said Cottonwood coach Josh Lyman. "I thought our team did well and responded. They woke us up they did a great job."

The Mustangs jumped to an early 8-0 lead after recovering two straight fumbles by Cottonwood. On third and two, Herriman quarterback Teuni Lupeamanu found Graham Smith on a play-action pass — the Mustangs then incorporated some trickery with a fake PAT pass.

Two possessions later Herriman's Tanner Rush picked off a pass and returned it 32 yards to set his team up in scoring position once more. Three plays later Rush delivered again with an incredible reception in tight coverage to boost the score to 15-0.

"They were really well prepared. We knew that we would have our hands full," said Lyman.

That was when the tide began to turn. The Colts began marching steadily and eventually scored when sophomore quarterback Cooper Bateman found wideout Inoke Lotulelei in the corner of the end zone. It was the first of three scoring hookups between the tandem on the night.

"Just take care of the football — that's what we told our offense. We just had to execute and take care of the football," said Lyman, when asked what was said at halftime, "Luckily our team woke up in the second half."

Bateman finished with four touchdown passes, and found the end zone once with his legs.

With the win, Cottonwood advances to the second round and will host the Jordan Beetdiggers. The 'Diggers are coming off a blowout victory against Davis in the first round.

"We can't (start slow) against Jordan. We're not going to go very far turning the ball over like that in the first half (against Jordan)," said Lyman.

e-mail: tphibbs@desnews.com

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