MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys hosted the Aspen Skiers last Friday at Starbuck Stadium in non-conference play. It was a tough 38-26 loss for the Cowboys. Not since the 2014 game against the Paonia Eagles have the Cowboys lost a regular season game at home. The current roster has never lost a regular season game at home but they “battled well the whole game,” said head coach Shane Phelan.
Aspen is a 2A school coming off a strong season with a quarterback who has an excellent arm. “Aspen threw the ball well,” said Phelan, “we struggled matching up.” The Cowboys settled in after the first quarter but the Aspen schemes gave the Cowboys trouble the entire game.
The game was long, more than 200 snaps and three hours. Most games average 130 snaps. It was one of the longest games Phelan has ever coached, not wrapping up until after 10 p.m. The score was tied for a moment in the third quarter but “late in the game we wore down a bit,” said Phelan.
The sun was still shining when Tannen Kennedy put up the first score for Meeker, running it in late in the first quarter. Jeremy Woodward then ran in another for an additional six that brought the score to 12-14, Skiers in the lead. That is where they began at the half. Ryan Phelan threw a 62-yard pass to Andy Kracht who put the Cowboys on the board again at the nine-minute mark in the third quarter. Phelan kept for the two-point conversion which tied the game 20-20. The Skiers had a “good young quarterback and a good receiving core,” that allowed them to pull ahead in the fourth quarter, according to coach Phelan. The Cowboys Phelan-Kracht combo connected again with four minutes and 35 seconds left in the game, scoring through the air for the final Cowboy points on the night. The Cowboys were outscored in the fourth quarter 18-6.
“We have identified things to work on,” said coach Phelan, “and I am optimistic we will have a great season. The boys put forth great effort the entire game.”
There are only three home games for the varsity Cowboys this year, the next game is Friday, Aug. 31 and they are on the road playing another 2A team, Coal Ridge. Coal Ridge ended last year well, and with twice as many students Meeker has, they will be a tough opponent. The next home game is Friday, Sept. 28 when Meeker hosts Grand Valley. The JV will also battle Coal Ridge, hosting for their first home game Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m.
By Tiffany Jehorek | Special to the Herald Times