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Meeker and Hotchkiss were the last two undefeated teams in the Western Slope League, and the game winner was likely to continue on as the league champion.
The Cowboys scored first when Jeremy Woodward ran it in for six and Casey Brink finished up the scoring run with a two point conversion, and the score was 8-0 with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, but that was the last time Meeker was able to score.
“We were not able to get done what needed to be done,” commented head coach Shane Phelan; “this is the first league game in four years that we’ve and Hotchkiss has been aiming to take the league title.”
The Bulldogs controlled offensive possession throughout the game. Late in the first quarter they punted but the Cowboys were unable to maintain possession after one of the first plays in the possession was intercepted. Hotchkiss ran it down, scoring early in the second quarter, but the Cowboys stopped their extra point attempt. The Bulldogs scored one more time in the second quarter making it 14-8 at the half.
“Hotchkiss is a well coached, good football team,” said Phelan, “They have team speed, their quarterback is good and one of their top rushers.”
The second half was a battle of the defenses and remained scoreless, the Cowboys fought hard, repeatedly stopping the Bulldogs in the red zone.
“The boys kept battling,” commented Phelan, “bottom line, I gotta do a better job coaching and preparing for these boys.”
The defensive time on the field shows in the stats with five Cowboys having five or more tackles; Colby Clatterbaugh led the team with 11 tackles, Zack Eskelson had seven, Woodward and Connor Blunt each had six, and Trinden Powell had five and one interception.
Offensively Ryan Phelan threw for 109 yards, connecting with Turner, Woodward, and Spud White for a combined 78 yards. Woodward also rushed for 119 yards for a total of 147 yards, Phelan led the Cowboys with the most yards, 149.
The Cowboys have a 2-1 record, and remain in the top eight in division 1A in the coaches poll. Beginning in 2019 the four main rankings, CHSAA RPI, CHSAA coaches poll, MaxPreps Rankings, and Packard Rankings, are combined to determine postseason brackets, and this year only those in the top eight will continue on the postseason play. Depending on which you look at, the Cowboys are ranked from number 4 to number 8, ultimately the combined ranking is the most important for seeding information and that has not been officially released. Colorado Preps unofficially looked at the data and projected Meeker to be sitting at number six at the end of the season.
The Cowboys now turn their eyes to the Cedaredge Bruins who also have a record of 2-1.
“We are getting ready for Cedaredge,” said Phelan, “we will move forward and are looking ahead to a normal routine of playing on Friday night; we hope to respond and do well this weekend.”
The Bruins have another double threat quarterback who can pass and leads the team in rushing. Their only loss came last weekend when they were defeated by Gunnison 20-7. Meeker took on Gunnison during their last home game and won 48-0 in their first shutout of the year. Defensively the Bruins have senior Brody Wagner who is their top tackler.
This week is homecoming 2020, parade at 11 a.m., pep rally to follow and the football game will kick off at 7 p.m.
In JV action, the team traveled to Battle Mountain for their second game of the season last Wednesday, they won 36-6. “The kids did well,” said Phelan, “it was nice to see the JV guys get after it.”
This week the Cowboy JV team took on Moffat County for a second time on Tuesday in Craig, the final score was 28-12 with Moffat County taking the win. They have one more game on the schedule and will travel to Grand Junction next Monday, November 2.
For a full schedule of homecoming activities, see Page 3B.
Special to the Herald Times