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MEEKER I “It was a nice homecoming,” Meeker High School alumni and head football coach Shane Phelan said of the homecoming football game against the Lake County Panthers, which Meeker won 45-14 inside Starbuck Stadium. The Cowboys travel to Paonia to play the two-time defending state champion Eagles on Friday in the second league game of the season.
“Our kids were excited to play the first league game, and we got after them from the start,” coach Phelan said. “We were able to impose our will on them early and continue through the game.”
After Meeker kicked off and forced the Panthers to punt their first possession, the Cowboys only needed two plays, starting with a pass to senior Devon Pontine, before classmate T.J. Shelton got outside and ran 55-yards for a touchdown, the first of three for Shelton in the game.
Pontine scored Meeker’s second touchdown when he received a pass from sophomore quarterback Logan Hughes from 11 yards out. Pontine also scored a two-point conversion, as did Sheridan Harvey, Shelton scored two, two-point conversions and senior Kash Atwood kicked an extra point. Hughes also rushed for a touchdown and junior Hunter Garcia returned a punt for a touchdown.
“Our special teams had a good game, we almost returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Hunter (Garcia) did return a punt,” coach Phelan said. “We were really happy with the play of our special teams.”
Garcia returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown and sophomore Valentine Rosas returned a kickoff 79 yards before being tackled short of the goal line.
Meeker scored all of their points in the first half, forcing a running clock in the second and allowing many of Meeker’s younger kids into the game.
“A lot of our younger kids got in on the homecoming fun and we saw a lot of good things from them,” coach Phelan said. “Our defense would have like to keep them off the scoreboard but it was good to get our younger kids some experience.”
Every Cowboy on the roster recored at least one tackle. The defense was led by juniors Casey Turner and Tyler (aka Big Nasty) Ilgen, each finishing with nine tackles. Pontine and Ty Gibson, each finished with seven.
Phelan said the Cowboys are healthy and they are “excited” to get senior Dillon Frantz back for the Paonia game.
“Dillon broke his ankle in the first game of the season and it will be nice to get a senior of his caliber back on the field,” Phelan said.
“Paonia will be a big game for us,” Phelan said. “They are the two-time defending state champions and it’s been a couple of years since they have lost a home game. We have had some tight contests with them, coming down to the last seconds of the game but we have been on the losing end of those games and we would like to turn that around on Friday.”