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MEEKER I For a second week in a row, the Meeker Cowboys football team has played a larger school on the road and returned with victories, the most recent an exciting 32-29 victory over the 2A Grand Valley Cardinals.
The Cowboys will host the 2A Coal Ridge Titans in their first home game of the 2013 season in Starbuck Stadium, starting at 7 p.m. on Friday.
“A lot of guys did a lot of good things,” head coach Shane Phelan said of his team’s second victory of the preseason. “It was a total team effort.”
The Cowboys fell behind to start the game as the Cardinals marched down the field and scored. But Meeker answered with a touchdown of its own when quarterback Jake Phelan connected with receiver Matt Frantz. Meeker did not convert and trailed 6-7.
According to Coach Phelan, the Cardinals scored again and went up 14-6 before quarterback Phelan threw another touchdown pass, this time, a 55-yarder to T.J. Shelton. Senior Cowboy J.C. Henderson crossed the goal line on the two-point conversion to tie the game at the end of the first quarter.
Meeker’s defense held the Cardinals and Phelan scored on a one-yard run to give the Cowboys a 20-14 lead in the second quarter. The Cowboys’ defense held again and capitalized with another Phelan to Shelton connection for a 12-yard touchdown. The Cowboy’ didn’t convert the extra points, but led 26-14 at halftime.
“We are struggling with our extra points,” Coach Phelan said.
Coach Phelan said the Cardinals “closed the gap” in the third quarter, scoring a touchdown and kicking an extra point to pull within five of the Cowboys, but quarterback Phelan scored on a 60-yard run for Meeker’s final score of the game and a 32-21 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Although the Cardinals scored another touchdown with five minutes to play, adding a two-point conversion to pull within three, it was Meeker’s defense that made the final stand.
The Cowboys got the ball back but turned it back over on an interception, giving the Cardinals the ball on Meeker’s 30 yard line with three minutes to play. The Cardinals made a first down, but Meeker stopped them at the nine-yard line after three tipped balls.
“It was a pretty big stand at the end,” Coach Phelan said. “This time of the year we are developing a personality as a team, and, when a big moment arose, they stepped up and met the challenge.”
Shelton and sophomore classmate Devon Pontine were each in on 10 tackles to lead the team and Pontine also had a 30-yard kickoff return. Phelan was in on nine tackles, Henderson recorded seven and Tristin Pelloni finished with six, including four unassisted. Pelloni also caught three passes for 59 yards on offense.
Senior Joe Newman and junior Noah Overton each had two pass deflections from their defensive end positions.
Phelan ran for 160 yards on 21 carries and threw 155 yards, including three for touchdowns. Shelton rushed for 70 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys accumulated 380 yards of offense.
Meeker will host the Coal Ridge Titans at Starbuck Stadium, with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We look forward to our first home game, and we are excited to play in front of our home crowd,” Coach Phelan said.