Cowboys advance to state quarterfinals, Play Platte Canyon Huskies in Bailey, Colo., Saturday

The kickoff of the quarterfinal playoff game between the No. 1 ranked Meeker Cowboys and the Platte Canyon Huskies, is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday in Bailey. The Cowboys defeated the Ellicott Thunder Hawks 43-6 in Starbuck Stadium in the first round of the 2016 1A Colorado Football State Championship playoffs. Bobby Gutierrez photo
The kickoff of the quarterfinal playoff game between the No. 1 ranked Meeker Cowboys and the Platte Canyon Huskies, is scheduled for 1 p.m., Saturday in Bailey. The Cowboys defeated the Ellicott Thunder Hawks 43-6 in Starbuck Stadium in the first round of the 2016 1A Colorado Football State Championship playoffs.
Bobby Gutierrez photo

MEEKER | “It was nice to play in front of our home crowd, which was big, as expected,” Meeker head football coach Shane Phelan said after his team defeated the Ellicott Thunder Hawks 43-6, in Starbuck Stadium in the first round of the 2016 1A Colorado Football State Championships. The Cowboys performed well in front of a full house and will take their undefeated (10-0) show on the road to Bailey, where they will play the Platte Canyon Huskies this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the state quarterfinals. “We were able to control both lines of scrimmage and we ran the ball well,” coach Phelan said of the game against the Thunder Hawks. Seven Cowboys carried the ball 42 times and rushed for a combined total of 298 yards, including 157 from junior running back Doak Mantle, who carried the ball 24 times and scored two touchdowns. “Having a good running game helps open things up,” coach Phelan said. Senior Casey Turner gained 56 yards on five carries and sophomore Jorgen Stagg carried the ball six times for 53 yards. Meeker’s first three touchdowns were scored on the ground, with Mantle being the first to score, then he made a big run to set up quarterback Logan Hughes to sneak in from the one-yard line for the Cowboys’s second score. Hughes ran in the first two-point conversion then lateraled to Sheridan Harvey, who completed a pass to senior classmate Cole Brown for Meeker’s second two-point conversion. Mantle scored Meeker’s third touchdown of the first half and Hughes connected with senior Hunter Garcia for the two-point conversion to give the Cowboys a 24-0 in the second quarter. Brown intercepted a pass late in the second quarter and was able to make a diving catch of a long-bomb from Hughes but it was five yards short of the goal line, with no time on the clock in the first half. “Ellicott had three really talented players at skilled positions, which we were able to keep under control in the first half, which helped us a little bit,” coach Phelan said. Brown, who leads the Cowboys with nine touchdown receptions, caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter and led the team with 77 yards against Ellicott. Garcia also caught a touchdown pass late in the third quarter and Harvey came in at quarterback and scored Meeker’s final touchdown on an 11-yard run. Junior Jerrick Garza kicked the extra point to make the score 43-0, midway through the fourth quarter. Hughes completed eight of 13 passes for 166 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 145. Two yards separate Meeker’s top three receivers as Brown leads the team with 538 yards, Harvey has 537 and Garcia has 536 on the season. Harvey led the Cowboys with 10 tackles on defense and senior classmate Chase Rule was in on nine. Brown and junior Trapper Merrifield each had interceptions for the Cowboys and junior Eli Newman recorded a sack. The Cowboys’s defense will be tested this week in Bailey according to coach Phelan. “Platte Canyon is a big, physical football team,” coach Phelan said. “They don’t pass the ball much, they just run and run and run some more. We expect a very physical and hard nosed game.”