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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — The Cottonwood Colts and their fans will be talking about this one for years to come.
It was second down, with a 38-35 deficit, and nine seconds on the clock. The play was called "Menu 9," and the premise was simple: send four receivers deep, chuck the ball to one and pray he catches it.
Cottonwood quarterback Cooper Bateman took the snap and rolled right. Nearly 50 yards downfield, he spotted a miraculous sight: a Colts receiver had gotten behind the West Jordan prevent defense.
"We just knew we had to make something happen," Bateman said amidst a jubilant postgame celebration, in which the students rushed the field. "We sent four guys deep, and the line gave me enough time to make a play."
Bateman's pass carried over 55 yards in the air until finally meeting the open hands of Sione Moli, who sprinted to the end zone as time ran out on the game. A 78-yard Hail Mary, and Cottonwood had pulled off one of the most improbable victories of the year, 41-38.
"I thought they were going to try and cover me, but they didn't," Moli said. "I just wanted to try and do something to make a name for myself."
As joyous as the team was after the game, just 22 seconds earlier they had hit rock bottom as the Jaguars had a stellar late drive of their own.
Down 35-31 with 1:22 remaining, quarterback Michael Moorehead completed a 35-yard pass to Andrew Jessop, then salvaged a four-yard completion out of what looked to be a sure fire sack. With 22 seconds left, he found receiver Martavius Redmond covered in the corner of the end zone, but the senior used his body to shield off the Cottonwood defender for a stunning touchdown and a 38-35 lead to seemingly seal the game.
The last two touchdowns were just the grand finale to a fourth quarter full of theatrics by each team. Tied 21-21 heading into the final stage, the game had previously been marred by penalties and defensive pressure. Cottonwood had battled back from a 21-7 deficit behind two touchdown passes by Bateman and another on the ground from running back Gabe Hosea.
The Jaguars jumped ahead 24-21 on Alex Giordani's 26 yard field goal. The Colts then took four minutes to methodically drive the ball, mostly behind Bateman's running ability. Hosea would punch the ball in from the one for his second touchdown of the night and a 28-24 lead.
West Jordan quickly went back to work behind Moorehead, who finished with 340 yards passing on the night. His completions to Cameron Peacock and DeShawn Perkins brought the ball to the Cottonwood 32. Peacock would then carry the ball five consecutive times, eventually scoring from two yards out for a 31-28 margin.
Hosea then broke a 34-yard run to bring the Colts within striking distance, then finished the drive with a 10-yard touchdown and a 35-31 lead with 1:22 left in the game. At the final tally, the two teams combined for four touchdowns in less than three minutes to end the game.
Bateman finished with 339 yards passing and three touchdowns, perhaps none as important or memorable as the last one that left his hand.