Cowboys fumble homecoming game vs. Lake County

Meeker’s Sebastian Clarke (24), Aaron Cochran (4), kicker Kevin Eli and Jake Phelan (11) and the rest of the Cowboys will kickoff in Paonia this Friday at 7 p.m. Photo by Dale Dunbar
Meeker’s Sebastian Clarke (24), Aaron Cochran (4), kicker Kevin Eli and Jake Phelan (11). Photo by Dale Dunbar

RBC I Meeker found a new way to put the ball on the ground Friday night and lost their homecoming game 6-24. In a game that was close up until the middle of the fourth quarter, the Black and Gold again came up short.
Coach DuPree summed up the game by saying, “Before, we were putting the ball on the ground while running down the field, but Friday night it was the exchange area that gave us trouble.”
Meeker had eight snaps that found the ground on exchanges and lost six of them. The game was close until fumbles flared up in the fourth quarter. Meeker had four drives over 10 plays each during the game, but they were stopped or slowed by dropped balls.
Meeker started the game with a 13-play drive that was stopped by an interception in the end zone. The ‘Boys went 69 yards but failed to produce points. They also went 69 yards the second time they got the ball and were stopped on the goal line, again without a score.
The game remained close until a Meeker fumble deep in their own territory set up a short drive by Lake County. The two teams traded short drives for the rest of the game, with Meeker scoring on a 23-yard drive capped off by a 4-yard run by Tala Atoafa, his second touchdown of the season. The try for the extra point failed. The score was 6-8 at the half.
Leading tacklers for the Cowboys were as follows: freshman Rual Lopez led the way with 17 stops in his first game at linebacker, followed by junior Tala Atoafa with 14. Two seniors played well in the middle of the defensive line with Reno Roybal and Collin Cochran each at 10 tackles from their in-close positions on the defensive line. These are both high totals for these positions. Alex Smith filled in for an injured starter in the defensive backfield and contributed nine tackles, followed by defensive ends J.R. Crawford (10) and Scott Smith (7).
On offense, the top rushers for the game were sophomore Sebastian Clarke, who had 131 yards on 17 attempts, and Collin Cochran with 40 tough yards up the middle on 11 carries. All in all the Black and Gold ran 45 times for 200 yards. Clarke also shinned on the kickoff returns, going for 114 yards on three returns, one of which was for 50 yards. This is the second week in a row that coach Deming’s unit has excelled. The front wall getting Clarke started is led by Scott and Alex Smith, Rual Lopez, Tala Atoafa, JC Henderson, Dylan Mobley, Nate Walsh, Charles Scherbath, Anthony Watt and Aaron Cochran.
Tala Atoafa had the seventh team interception for the season, getting his second for the year.
A salute for the blocking of the offensive line, the fine play by the defensive line and the overall play of these units. The defensive line and offensive line are coached by Brandon Aven. Hats off also to the opponent, who played hard and their nose guard caused many of the problems faced by the Meeker team.
Meeker played a number of players, starting 17 different men. For the season Meeker has played 17 men with more than 100 plays each, led by Scott Smith with 665 total plays so far this season. 100 plays is a good measuring stick, as players that reach this total have usually started doing things that show not only improvement in their techniques, but also in their ability to adjust to game situations.
Leading tacklers for the year are Tala Atoafa with 63, followed closely by Scott Smith with 61, Reno Roybal (58), Wills Begay (44) and JR Crawford (43). Sebastian Clarke has run 53 times for 350 yards, followed by Atoafa with 33 attempts for 304 yards. Four players have more than 100 yards rushing for the season. Nate Walsh leads the ‘Boys in passing yardage with 306 yards on 50 attempts. Clarke has 17 punts for 470 yards and Kevin Eli has caught 17 passes for 196 yards.
Meeker has 65 first downs to the opponents’ 68 through five games. The Black and Gold has rushed for 892 yards compared to the opponents’ 787 yards. Meeker allowed three runs over 10 yards in the homecoming game and the longest was for 18 yards. Good job by the defensive unit led by coach Aaron Zielinske. Defensive line and offensive line coach Brandon Aven have showed outstanding improvement each game. We are averaging 268.8 yards a game. The Cowboys have 43 plays over 10 yards and 19 over 20 yards.

Did you know? The most rushing attempts in a game was by Jacob Stewart in 1994. He ran the ball 37 times. This is not only an outstanding record but it is also an outstanding physical achievement.