Lincoln, NE - With father Barney in the stands, senior tight end Sam Cotton and the rest of the Lincoln Southeast Knights continued their recent domination on Thursday night, with a 38-0 victory over Columbus in Class A action.
The Knights (6-1) have outscored teams 165-13 over the last four contests, with the playoffs creeping ever so closer.
"I feel like we can always get better, I think the reason we have had such high scores and limited teams is because of our preparation," said Cotton. "We have had a chip on our shoulder most Friday nights and it really has helped up come to work through out the week."
Cotton, who also played a key role at defensive end, had two catches for around 32 yards. Both times they were in key situations and for first downs – with one catch called back because of holding down-field. He also recorded multiple tackles for loss.
"Coach Gottula knows when and where are the best times to throw the ball down-field," said Cotton when talking about his role in the offense. "He knows the best situations to get me the ball. It's been a focus a lot this season in practice. We know when I'm going to be open."
Cotton is used more as a blocking tight end in the high power running attack, but when targeted is athletic enough to get upfield. While his stats have been limited this season, most of his catches and two touchdowns have come in key situations.
A large part of that is due to the credit of junior quarterback Najee Jackson. The 6-foot-1, 160 pound athletic signal-caller has done a great job managing the Lincoln Southeast attack this season.
"We all knew that Najee had that arm. We knew what he was capable of," said Cotton. "He's come out and shown he is a threat to throw and the run the ball."
When Jackson is finding Cotton down-field, it's likely running back Devin Washington is making noise. The 5-foot-7 junior plays much bigger, rushing 21 times on Thursday night for 165 yards and four touchdowns. His second straight four touchdown performance.
Washington is quick to give up the glory to the front five and Cotton's blocking.
"The offensive line worked hard. It comes down to the line of scrimmage. They just moved bodies," Washington told the Lincoln Journal Star after the game. "I just wanted to make sure I made the right read and the right cut. It's amazing how good our line was doing."
Lincoln Southeast, currently ranked 8th in the state, scored on five of it's first six possessions.
On the same night Cotton was enjoying Lincoln Southeast's 5th straight win, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini announced that his older brother Jake Cotton (OL) would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL and MCL.