Saturday, December 1, 2007

utah road conditions

Butler Community College coach Troy Morrell can't recall every detail of his team's bowl game loss two years ago to Snow (Utah) College.

When it comes to the less-than-ideal weather conditions of that morning in Salt Lake City, though, Morrell can go on at length -- especially about the effect it had on his players.

And with an NJCAA championship on the line today when No. 2 Butler faces No. 1 Snow in yet another Top of the Mountains Bowl showdown, Morrell has left nothing to chance.

"We thought everything was good, and then we walk out of our hotel on game day and it's like it has been around here," said Morrell, referring to the winter-like temperatures prior to Butler's 17-14 loss to Snow in 2005. "That kind of froze our players up and our performance suffered because of it.

"We'll go out there a couple days early this time (the team left Wednesday). We have to be ready, because this is going to be a real test."

Both Butler and Snow come into the game at the University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium with 11-0 records.

It's not the only similarity the two teams share.

Winning big has also been a common theme. Since their one-point victory over Kilgore (Texas) to open the season, the Grizzlies have beaten opponents by an average of 26.3 points. Snow has won by more than 30 points seven times.

But while Butler has relied heavily on running back Beau Johnson (1,533 yards) to achieve success offensively, the Badgers are just as good rushing as they are passing.

Snow's average of 457 yards per game -- split evenly between run (245 yards per game) and pass (212) --ranks second nationally.

Of Snow's 57 offensive touchdowns, 33 have come on the ground. Soni Sotele leads the way with 1,317 yards and 18 scores.

"You need to have a good running game if you want to be able to pass," said Snow coach Steve Coburn, who is 22-1 in two seasons at the helm, "and we feel like we have a number of receivers that defenses have to make sure they guard."

Coburn credits the play of his offensive and defensive lines for much on the team's success.

Two of Snow's linemen -- defensive standouts Coleby Clawson and Tevita Hola -- have already orally committed to play at Brigham Young. "Our D-line can really put pressure on people, much like Butler's line has done this year," Coburn said. "I definitely see the similarities, both on offense and defense."

Even more the reason to believe other factors could come into play.

Although today's title game will be played on a neutral field, it will almost certainly feel like a road game for Butler.

The Badgers' campus is located in Ephraim, Utah, two hours south of Salt Lake City.

It's not the only obstacle Butler may be forced to overcome. Today's game forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s and a 50-percent chance of snow showers.

"It's going to be a battle in every way," said Morrell, who guided Butler to a national championship in 2003. "These players want to leave their mark and finish things off right."

Notes -- Snow has won its last eight bowl games and 11 of 12 overall, including a 29-14 win over Northeastern Oklahoma in 1985, which gave the Badgers the school's first and only national championship.... Butler defensive end Markus White, who has scholarship offers to the likes of West Virginia and Florida State, leads the nation with 24 ½ sacks
Salt Lake City (ABC 4 News) - A long line of people gathered at the Union Labor Center on Redwood Road to pay their last respects to Ed Mayne. The Utah state senator and president of the state AFL-CIO passed away Sunday at the age of 62.

His friends explain why the turnout was so large," AFL-CIO president Jim Judd says," Ed had a passion that he threw into everything that he did whether it was serving on a county council, being the president of the state AFL-CIO or being a state senator, he touched so many lives."

Many of those who were touched by Mayne waited patiently to say goodbye Wednesday night. Two firefighting honor guards flanked Mayne's open casket, while his wife Karen greeted the well-wishers. Mayne was a fearless legislator and labor leader who always stood tall for working men and women. Mike Fredrickson of the Salt Lake City Fire Department says," He was a gentle giant that could reach across party lines. He was a Democrat but all the Republicans liked him too. He was just a great man."

Many people Wednesday night called Ed Mayne a great man, but his daughter Jamie just called him dad. She told us what she'll miss the most about her father. Jamie Jennings says," Probably his heart. He fought for everything he believed in to the very last breath. He helped the people who couldn't help themselves." Mike Fredrickson says," That was his motto. To make sure that every working man got their wages and working conditions taken care of."

The crowds are expected to be even larger Thursday night when visitation is held at the state capitol. Mayne will be buried Friday in West Valley.


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