MEEKER I The Cowboys football team opened the season with a 14-21 defeat to the Ignacio Bobcats, played on a neutral site last Saturday.
“We had a chance to win at the end,” Meeker’s new head coach Ron Dupree said of the game played in Olathe.Dupree said 20 players got in the game but did not get the start he was hoping for.“We started off poor with some alignment problems,” Dupree said. “They had some good drives in the first half but we made them bleed.”The Bobcats took a 14-0 lead into halftime, scoring a touchdown in each of the first two quarters. The Cowboys got on the scoreboard themselves for the first time in the third quarter. Meeker put together an eleven-play drive, with fullback Sebastian Clark running the ball in from 2 yards out and Kevin Eli adding the extra point.“We scored in the third then they came back and scored again,” Dupree said of the 7-21 score going into the final quarter.Dupree, who has been researching the history and records for the Meeker football program, said a 78-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter by junior Tala Atoafa is the fifth best he has come across in his research.“Tala got a great block from our fullback, Alex Smith, then one of our ends, Kevin (Eli) made a block that sprung him,” Dupree described the scoring effort. Eli added the extra point to bring the Cowboys within a touchdown of the Bobcats.“With one minute left we got down to the 10-yard line but that was the game,” Dupree said.Atoafa finished the game with 125 yards on nine carries and was also in on seven tackles on defense. Eil led the team with 11 tackles. The Cowboys used two quarterbacks in the game, junior Nate Walsh and freshman Jake Phelan both took snaps in the game. Walsh completed three of nine passes, with the longest for 17 yards to Eli.The Cowboys will travel to Monte Vista for another non-league game this Friday.“It takes a while to get this system in and we are not there yet but we are getting faster and stronger,” Dupree said.