WEST VALLEY CITY — The Region 2 season is only a week old, but the Hunter Wolverines have already started eyeing the possibility of another championship.
Friday night, the Wolverines had virtually everything go their way. Nathan Uhi rushed for 99 yards, Curtis Pati ran for 91 more and Hunter took advantage of six Cottonwood turnovers to beat the Colts 28-12.
The win pushed Hunter to 3-3 overall and 1-0 in region. The Wolverines’ record might not be impressive, but their preseason schedule has been filled with 5A powers, and that may be more than enough to prepare them for the rest of their schedule.
“We got four turnovers in the first half, and we were able to do a lot with them,” said Hunter coach Scott Henderson, celebrating with his players after the game.
Much of Henderson’s other comments got lost by the crowd noise in the festive post-game atmosphere. Not only was Hunter celebrating its homecoming, but the game was televised locally on cable.
There were three major deciding points.
The game was mostly decided in the first half. Hunter never trailed. At intermission, Cottonwood had just 28 yards and — as Henderson noted — had turned the ball over three times on interceptions and once on a fumble.
The Colts finally made it a game when Jed Diederich caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Tevita Garber, and the Colts kept the momentum for a long time afterward. Cottonwood took advantage of a cold, blustery south wind and seemingly had Hunter on its heels. The Colts couldn’t punch it into the end zone and, when the teams changed directions to start the fourth period, Hunter put together a goal-line stand to stop one Cottonwood drive.
A few minutes later, Hunter playmaker Noah Togiai snagged a 27-yard touchdown pass with one hand to finally put the game away.
Hunter had a 304-223 advantage in total yards. Cottonwood was led by running back Malu Hosea, who rushed for 127 yards on 30 carries. Garber, however, struggled throwing the ball. After a tough first half, he came back to complete 9 of 23 passes for 134 yards. Alemi Aiono also had a good night with three fine kickoff returns, including a 93-yarder late in the game for a score.
Bruce Smith grew up in Boise and is a longtime newspaper sports writer. He writes primarily high-school sports articles for the Deseret News.
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