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MEEKER I The field was snowpacked, the temperature freezing at kickoff and it was snowing lightly in Starbuck Stadium last Saturday for the quarterfinal round of the Colorado 1A state football playoffs between the hometown Meeker Cowboys and the visiting Yuma Indians.
The game started well for the Cowboys but ended in a 43-14 loss to the Indians, ending the season for Meeker.
“We couldn’t ask for more in the beginning,” head coach Shane Phelan said after his team was first to get on the scoreboard. “It looked like we had some things going.”
The Cowboys kicked off to start the game and held the Indians, stopping them on fourth down to get the ball back near midfield. A short run by senior fullback Tyrel Gerloff set up a pass from senior quarterback Colton Brown to junior Jared Frantz for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion attempt by senior Mitch Jacob was denied and the Cowboys took an early 6-0 lead.
Yuma was scouted as a powerful running team and, according to Phelan, one of Meeker’s objectives was to stop the run and force the Indians to pass the ball.
“We accomplished some of what we wanted to do, stopping number 21 (Joel Rhoades) and make them pass the ball,” Phelan said.
The Indians did just that on their second possession and after a big run, passed the ball to move it to Meeker’s 20-yard line, from where they would score, four plays later to tie the game.
“When they went to play B, they were just as potent,” Phelan said. “We didn’t think they would be quite as effective passing as they were. Yuma had some good guys and 19 seniors, which made a difference.”
After forcing the Cowboys to punt on their next possession, the Indians threw a 50-yard touchdown pass on first down to take the lead for good. The Indians would score two more touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 29-6 lead into the second half.
“We had some consistency issues on offense and defense,” Phelan said. “That’s what playoff football is all about, matching the other team’s intensity and we were unable to do that on a consistent basis.”
The Indians scored 43 unanswered points on the Cowboys before Brown connected with Nate Bradfield for a 25-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter for the final score of the game.
“We had a good year, losing only to Olathe (defending 3A state champs), who is still going strong, Hotchkiss, who also made it to the top eight, and Yuma, which we’ll see how it plays out,” Phelan said. “We played hard, we just couldn’t string things together.”
It was the last high school game for seniors Bradfield, Brown, Brock Campbell, Gerloff, Jacob, Cesar Lopez, Pat Love, Spencer Madison, Ever Olivas, Dakota Rowlett, Jarett Waldref and Johnny Wix.
“Our bunch of seniors will be missed, but we have a strong junior class and we look forward to the future,” Phelan said.