Cowboys beat Ignacio, host No. 1 Yuma

Meeker senior running back Mitch Jacob eludes a defender during last week’s first-round playoff game. The Cowboys will host No. 1 Yuma Saturday in the state quarterfinals at 1 p.m.

Meeker senior running back Mitch Jacob eludes a defender during last week’s first-round playoff game. The Cowboys will host No. 1 Yuma Saturday in the state quarterfinals at 1 p.m.
Meeker senior running back Mitch Jacob eludes a defender during last week’s first-round playoff game. The Cowboys will host No. 1 Yuma Saturday in the state quarterfinals at 1 p.m.
MEEKER I The Cowboys traveled to the southwest corner of the state for the first round of the Colorado 1A state playoffs against the Ignacio Bobcats and returned with a 28-17 victory.
The win advances Meeker to the state quarterfinals, a game it will host Saturday at 1 p.m. in Starbuck Stadium, featuring the No. 1-ranked Yuma Indians.
“We had high hopes and we went into the game confident, knowing if we played well, we would have a good chance to win,” head coach Shane Phelan said of the first-round playoff game.
Phelan has coached the Cowboys for six seasons and has taken them to the state quarterfinals twice before. Phelan’s Cowboys lost to Center in his first year at the helm and then lost to Akron (the current defending state champions) in the quarterfinals two years ago.
“Winning the league is a better path to take; it makes it tougher if you don’t,” Phelan said.
The Cowboys did not win the Northwest League this year, forcing them to go on the road to play the San Juan Basin League champion Bobcats.
Meeker scored first on the Bobcats after kicking off to start the game but got the ball back quickly after Mitch Jacob intercepted a pass. Jacob would score Meeker’s first touchdown on a 10-yard run and senior quarterback Colton Brown added the two-point conversion to give the Cowboys an 8-0 lead.
According to Phelan, the Bobcats were big and a talented passing team, which they used to drive down the field to answer Meeker’s touchdown and pull to within one.
The Bobcats would kick a field goal for a 10-8 lead, after forcing Meeker to punt, then intercept a Brown pass and capitalize on it with a touchdown, giving them a 17-8 lead, with less than 3:30 seconds to play in the first half.
“We turned the ball over in the first half and got a little rattled,” Phelan said of his team. “We watched film and worked on things all week, then they did things we hadn’t seen offensively and defensively. We didn’t adjust so well on the fly and needed a little break.”
Before the halftime break, the Cowboys would move the ball down field, to pull within three, after a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Brown.
The Cowboys made adjustments at halftime and would receive the kickoff to start the second half. Meeker would use all but 33 seconds of the third quarter to move the ball downfield, converting four, fourth-down situations, keeping the drive and the Cowboys in control. Jacob scored his second touchdown from the goal line and also added the two-point conversion to give his team a 22-17 lead, going into the final quarter. Jacob carried the ball 26 times for 147 yards during the game.
“We were pretty patient and converted some manageable fourth downs,” Phelan said. “Trevor (Matrisciano) made a good grab on one of them.”
Jacob, Brock Campbell, Jake Nieslanik, Cole Steiner, Nate Bradfield and Jared Frantz also caught passes from Brown, who completed 11 of 15 for 136 yards.
Meeker’s defense also made adjustments at halftime and kept the Bobcats out of the end zone in the second half.
“Defensively, in the second half we settled down and put more pressure on their quarterback,” Phelan said. “They had a wide receiver who was as good as any we have seen all year.”
Phelan credited his defense and an interception by Ever Olivas for sealing the game.
“Ever made a big pick for us at the end,” Phelan said. “He stayed in after hurting his ankle and came up with a big play when we needed it.”
The Cowboys moved down the field and Brown scored his second touchdown for the final score of the game.
“We played hard and were well prepared,” Phelan said of his team. “We are all excited about the game this Saturday.”
The game this Saturday is against the undefeated (10-0) Yuma Indians.
“We still feel like there is more out there for us,” Phelan said.
Football parents will host a tailgate party starting at 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot at Starbuck Stadium.