Cardinal RB Cowan running to new heights
PARACHUTE – After Danny Manzanares rushed for 1,108 yards, averaging 7.3 yards per-carry with 10 touchdowns in 2006, helping the Grand Valley football team to its first playoff appearance in six years, he left big shoes to fill for future Cardinal running backs.Good thing for Grand Valley, Colton Cowan stepped in and took off running. The junior rushed for 1,246 yards for a 9.1 yards-per -carry average and 18 touchdowns in the Cards’ 9-0 regular season. Not only are the yards and touchdowns new Grand Valley school records, which were previously held by Manzanares, but Cowan’s the leading scorer of all Class 1A running backs and in the top three in yardage.Colton, who was a wide out last year for the Cards, said he learned a lot from Manzanares, knowing he wanted to be a running back for Grand Valley in following seasons.
“He taught me a lot,” Cowan said of Manzanares, who is currently redshirting for Mesa State College. “He was such a small kid and how hard he worked, he just put in perspective how hard I need to work.”The two runners couldn’t be more opposite, as Manzanares carried the load on a 5-foot-4, 171-pound frame, needing jukes and speed to evade tacklers. Cowan, who’s 6-foot-1 and 183 pounds, has got long legs for speed in addition to a strong body that can shake off tacklers.”Manzanares was very shifty and creative as a runner where Colton almost looks boring as a runner sometimes because he sees it so well,” said Grand Valley head coach Mike Johnson. “He has done a great job and his goal this year is that he wanted to be a better back than Danny. He kept telling me ‘I really want to make people forget about him.’ Even though he really likes him.”
With Grand Valley putting up a perfect regular season, a Class 1A Western Slope League Championship and a first-round play off game against Burlington on Saturday, Cowan certainly has gotten the attention of fans and coaches around the state. Johnson credits Cowan’s offseason workouts as a major factor for his success.”He really came a long ways speed wise. He has really worked on his speed and kinda grown into his body,” Johnson said. “He is a bigger kid, he’s a big tailback especially for our level. He’s physical, he really is exceptional at seeing the field.”Cowan on the other hand, credits his offensive line and guys like Matt Zollars, Coltin Ostermiller, Cody Miles, Tyler Harris, Cole Kraft and Mike Divini to name a few, for his massive run totals.
“The line’s earned every yard and the fullback and wide receivers blocking,” Cowan said.While Cowan didn’t expect to have such a star-studded season this year, he is enjoying every second of it. And on Saturday, he’ll look to add to his totals and to Grand Valley’s win column.”I didn’t really have any expectations coming in. I just wanted to take every game one by one and win,” he said of the 2007 season. “It doesn’t matter how I perform as long as we get the win.”
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