MURRAY It was supposed to be the season opener for both schools, but Cottonwood's Ryan Romero and Isi Sofele appeared to be in mid-season form.
Romero was in a groove from the beginning, completing 13 of 20 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns as the Colts took apart the Clearfield Falcons 41-10 Friday in a non-region game on Cottonwood's home field.
"I'm very happy with Ryan," said Cottonwood coach Cecil Thomas. "He made a lot of good decisions. We didn't have any turnovers."
Romero also had some help. The Colts' impressive offensive line, led by John Martinez and Percy Taumoeleau, didn't give up a sack but had trouble opening holes for their backs. Sofele, the shifty senior, scurried for 128 yards on 14 carries. He seemed to make most of those yards on his own, and was exciting to watch any time he got the ball.
The Colts eventually racked up almost 500 yards of offense, and held Clearfield to just 161.
Sofele scored one touchdown on an 18-yard run and got the fans excited in the second quarter when he caught a short pass, ran through several defenders for 60 yards. Then, just before he was tackled, he pitched the ball to Martinez.
Martinez, the Colts' massive 6-foot-3, 275 offensive tackle, broke a few more tackles before he hit the ground. He gained just five additional yards, but carrying the ball made his day.
Thomas and the rest of the Colts' coaching staff were also happy that a lot of players got in the game, and that the team had few mistake. The only disappointment was Cottonwood accrued 160 yards in penalties, including at=A0four unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.
By halftime, Romero had passed for two scores and Sofele had one as Cottonwood held a 21-3 lead. Romero's favorite targets were Jason Lundquist, who had a touchdown catch in each half, and Isi Moli, who had one score and was on the receiving end of a two-point conversion.
Clearfield, on the other hand, had a disappointing night, starting early in the game when Justin Parkinson had his 98 yard kickoff return called back due to a penalty. The Falcons offense was ineffective after kicker Jose Casillas boomed a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter.
"We have a lot of guys going both ways, and they just wore down," said Falcons coach Billy Pluim. "We were tired and we made a lot of mental mistakes."
The Falcons' fatigue was apparent, especially on the offensive side. Clearfield got the ball six times after halftime - and never earned a first down. In fact, in one stretch, they had 23 offensive plays and moved the forward only once.
The Falcons also fumbled seven times (losing just one).
Clearfield's only bright spot came in the last two minutes of the game, when sophomore Braxton Patterson ran 45 yards through Cottonwood's reserves for the team's only touchdown.