\MEEKER — The Meeker High School varsity football team opened the season in grand form last Friday night with a convincing 34-14 victory over the hometown Basalt Longhorns.
The Cowboys used a balanced running and passing attack to gain 197 yards on the ground and 170 yards passing in the win.
Meeker won the opening coin toss but deferred receiving the ball until the second half. Good coverage on the kickoff had the Longhorns starting on their own 16. Basalt gained enough for an initial first down, but three more plays and two penalties had them punting to the visiting Cowboys. Starting on the Basalt 44, Meeker showed that it may be a long night for the Basalt secondary on their opening play as senior quarterback Tyler Matrisciano connected with junior Dakota Rowlett for a 19-yard gain down to the Basalt 25.
Hard running by backs Tyrell Gerloff and Mitch Jacob found Jacob in the end zone with 7:20 left to play in the first quarter. The point-after-touchdown (PAT) attempt failed, but the Cowboys had gained a 6-0 lead.
The next series for Basalt showed some possibilities of a close game as Basalt quarterback Dillon Buck escaped the Cowboys defense for a 38-yard touchdown run to knot the score at 6-6. This was as close as the Longhorns would get the rest of the night though, as Meeker’s offense promptly marched the ball down the field again mixing passes and runs as Jacob found the end zone again for the Cowboys from three yards out for a 12-0 lead with 1:08 left in the quarter.
Meeker’s defense stopped Basalt to start the second quarter. Matrisciano picked up 14 yards for a first down to get the offense rolling again. Colton Brown relieved Matrisciano for a series and the junior QB showed good poise and ability as he proceeded to march the team 60 more yards and capped the drive with a 9-yard run for the Cowboy score.
Meeker’s defense stopped Basalt on the next series and took over with 24 seconds left in the half and the Cowboys set up a well executed drive. Matrisciano found senior receiver Trenton Schindler for two quick passes and gains of 20 and 8 yards. With four seconds in the half, Matrisciano rolled to his left, and found Rowlett wide open in the right corner of the end zone for six as the halftime horn sounded. With Jacob scoring the two point conversion, Meeker had a commanding 26-6 halftime lead.
Meeker only had the ball one time in the third quarter but made the most of it as Matrisciano scored from three yards out and then connected with Schindler for the conversion and a 34-6 lead. Although Basalt had the ball for 8:21 of the quarter, the Longhorns were unable to score.
Meeker did not score in the fourth period as some of the younger players got a chance for some varsity experience. Basalt did connect on a nine yard pass play and PAT to finish the scoring at 34-14.
For the game seven Cowboys carried the ball for the 197 yards with Jacob leading the way with 81 yards, two touchdowns and an extra point. Matrisciano was eight of nine passing for 116 yards and a TD, while Brown was four of seven for 57 yards. Defensively Jacob, Quinn Wix, and Caleb Ball anchored the Cowboy defense with 12, nine and eight tackles respectively.
In other action around the league:
Hayden, ranked No. 4 in 1A fell to Coal Ridge 16-14, No. 9 Paonia clubbed Cedaredge 30-13, newcomer Hotchkiss did likewise to 3A Roaring Fork 41-0, West Grand defeated Saratoga, Wyo., 13-9, Rangely lost to Altamont, Utah, 12-25. Meeker will host Olathe at Starbuck Stadium Friday.
Meeker 12 14 8 0 – 34
Basalt 6 0 0 8 – 14