LAYTON Isi Sofele and his teammates were cool and composed. Never mind that they had just blown a 19-point lead and were now trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter on the road against one of 5A's top teams.
Cottonwood's diminutive dynamo of a running back had an explanation for not fretting before leading the Colts' 40-36 comeback win over Layton. He said after the game that he had no idea what the score was.
"I don't keep track of the score. I just try to go out and execute plays," Sofele said.
The Colts had just missed a field goal that would have cut the Lancer lead to seven with just under 10 minutes remaining, and Layton looked to be close to sealing a victory, 36-26. In a game that saw more plot twists than a mystery novel, it was ultimately Sofele, on the ground, in the end zone that was the cause of death to the Lancers' impressive comeback.
Cottonwood's defense held a fatigued Layton and got the ball back with six minutes remaining. Sofele scooted around the left end for a 15-yard touchdown. The Colts' defense halted Layton's next drive, and Asi Hosea returned the punt to the Layton 26-yard line, setting up Sofele's scintillating 26-yard touchdown scamper that put the icing on Cottonwood's victory.
"We know how to win in the fourth quarter," said Cottonwood coach Cecil Thomas. "(Sofele) is a special kid. We were finally able to get him going."
It was hard for Sofele and the Cottonwood offense to get going because Layton was playing ball hog all game, dominating the time of possession 34:37 to 13:33.
The game started with a bang as Hosea returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for the score. Not to be outdone, Layton's Shea Kopecky took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to give the Lancers a 7-6 lead.
Cottonwood then took over in the first half, capitalizing on Layton mistakes to stake a 26-7 lead. First, Eric Pauni stripped, recovered and returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown. Layton fumbled again on the ensuing possession and Cottonwood capitalized with a touchdown pass from Steve Romero to Sofele from five yards out. On the next Layton possession, Cottonwood blocked a punt and Romero capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run.
Layton stormed back, scoring 29 unanswered points on scores by running back Karl Williams, and passes from Camren Applegate to Josh Johnson, Thomas Bryson and Cory Bartley. Ultimately, it appeared the Lancers were exhausted in the final moments of the fourth quarter due to the amount of energy expended in their comeback.
Sofele finished with 92 yards rushing on 11 carries with two touchdowns on the ground and one touchdown receiving. Romero was 14-24 passing for 228 yards and one touchdown. Williams rushed 20 times for 102 yards and one touchdown for Layton, and Applegate was 16-33 for 234 yards and three touchdowns.