MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys ended their season on a down note with a loss to the No. 2 rated team in the state. For the fourth year in a row, Hotchkiss beat the ‘boys handily. Hotchkiss ended the season unbeaten and averaged 50 points a game to complete one of their best seasons ever.
The Black, Gold and Silver started the game off well, taking the opening kickoff back for 35 yards (by sophomore Sebastian Clarke). After a first down pass fell incomplete, Meeker got a 36-yard run on the option pitch for 37 more yards, again by Clarke, and a first down deep in Hotchkiss territory. A fourth down pass during this drive was completed but came up a yard short and the ball went over to the Bulldogs. After losing a yard on their first play the Red and White ‘Dogs moved the ball 73 yards for a touchdown. The extra point kick was good and the Bulldogs led 7-0.
The Cowboys returned the kickoff 54 yards (Clarke again) to set up in good field position but the Hotchkiss defense held the ‘Boys to three straight incomplete passes and Meeker turned the ball over on the enemy’s 29 yard line. Hotchkiss then marched 71 yards for their second score. The Bulldogs then started to kickoff by keeping the football on the ground and away from Clarke.
Meeker put together an eight-play drive for 56 yards but had to punt after Hotchkiss’s defense stiffened. Big plays in this drive were an 8- and 15-yarder by Rual Lopez, plus three strong runs inside by big fullback Collin Cochran for 15 yards. The Bulldogs stiffened after Meeker’s J.C. Henderson made an 18-yard run up the middle. Meeker was forced to punt later in this drive. After a very short punt, Hotchkiss marched the field for another score.
Meeker opened their next drive with two penalties in a row and then a fumble. The Bulldogs then covered the short field in four plays and 36 yards for the score. Meeker had no three and out drives, but they could not get any rhythm established and Hotchkiss had drives of 8, 9 and 13 plays to finish off the Cowboys.
It was not a great season as far as won-lost records go, but there were a number of highlights and the future looks bright. During the season the Cowboys started five freshmen, five sophomores, six juniors and five seniors. Twenty-three different players played more than 100 plays which is a benchmark for experience. Thirty men played in a varsity game and 37 total played in the varsity-JV schedule. We ended the season with 34 players and injuries were held to a minimum. This was not the case in the last game of the season, when we had three starters missing after the first quarter. We had five players play more than 900 plays which shows not only consistent play, but a toughness that is hard to come by in today’s game. We had four freshmen play more than 100 plays, plus seven sophomores, seven juniors and five seniors. Our leading tackler, rusher, scorer, passer, pass receiver, kick returner, and total plays leader will all return for the 2012 season.
We will lose six seniors, all of them very important to the development of a championship plan. They played tough and had a high degree of leadership for this young team. *complete stats will be listed in next week’s paper.
Coach Ron DuPree was quoted as saying, “We have a number of managers where we stopped to eat tell me how well mannered our players were and this is a great reflection on their parents, our community and our school. It has been an enjoyable season due to the character of this team.”
RENO ROYBALL #56
Our defensive leader and defense caller. Had 91 tackles from his linebacker position and he played in 849 snaps of the ball. He kept the team loose and in good humor. He made our season enjoyable and he will be missed greatly.
ETHAN OVERTON #51
Started every game at left offensive tackle. He also played in the defensive line at various times. Overton played 671 snaps and showed up every game ready to go. Gave us steady play and good leadership in the offensive line.
CHARLES SCHERBATH #86
Got off to a slow start after being injured in a summer play-ground accident. He stayed the course of recovery and came back strong. He started at a corner-backer position, a very tough position to play and did a really good job. He had 50 tackles and played in 525 plays.
AARON PENA #52
Started most of the games as our offensive center. He played every game and in his 389 plays he was injury free. Center is the leader of the offensive line and a tough job, but he contributed greatly to the Meeker attack.
COLLIN COCHRAN #71
Played a multitude of positions: offensive center to start the year, fullback and the ever-present leader of the defensive line. He ran for 144 yards, contributed 45 tackles and played in 874 plays. He made all 57 practices for the year and was the only senior never to miss practice. This is an outstanding total and he was a leader in many ways, not just in ability.
COOPER SMITH #88
Did not become eligible until three games were left on the schedule, having transferred in from another school. He has enormous talent kicking the football. His 61-yard punt is the third longest in school history and his kickoffs were high and deep. He kicked two field goals in one game and was a good team man. He only played in 32 plays but he made ‘em count. He also contributed four tackles to our team totals.