Host showdown with undefeated Paonia Eagles at Starbuck Stadium Friday
MEEKER | Two of the best 1A football teams in Colorado will play in Starbuck Stadium Friday, when the undefeated Paonia Eagles come to town to take on the undefeated Cowboys in Meeker’s 2016 Homecoming game. The Cowboys improved their record to 7-0 after they beat the Bruins 42-14 in Cedaredge last Friday. “They are a really good football team; big, strong, fast and physical,” Meeker head coach Shane Phelan said of the Bruins. “They put a lot of guys on the line and made it difficult for us to move the ball on the ground but we had an effective passing game.” Meeker’s defense recorded five turnovers, including three interceptions, one for a touchdown and two fumbles. “Defensively we played well and kept the pressure on,” coach Phelan said. “The kids were flying around the ball and they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, who threw the ball up for grabs and we intercepted him three times.” Cowboy senior Hunter Garcia put Meeker on the scoreboard first on what coach Phelan called a “quick slant,” to give the Cowboys an early lead. The Bruins followed with a touchdown of their own but the Cowboys came back with another touchdown pass, this time from junior quarterback Logan Hughes to senior running back Casey Turner for a 75-yard touchdown. The Cowboys were not finished as senior wide receiver Cole Brown caught a touchdown pass, as did classmate Sheridan Harvey. Brown also had a “pick-six,” (an interception for a touchdown) and junior running back Doak Mantle scored Meeker’s only rushing touchdown. Mantle and Garcia also had interceptions and Hughes recovered two fumbles caused by Turner and senior Ty Gibson. Hughes completed 14 of 17 passes to four different receivers for 235 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Brown caught five passes for 38 yards, Garcia caught four for 73, Harvey caught four for 49 and Turner caught one for 75 yards. Meeker sophomore Jorgen Stagg led the team with 43 yards on five carries. “Our younger guys were able to get some varsity experience,” coach Phelan said. Turner led the team with 18 tackles on defense, senior Chase Rule finished with 14 and Harvey was in on 13 tackles, while Gibson recorded the Cowboys’ only sack. Coach Phelan said his team is ready for its next test against the Eagles, who have played in the state championship game the last three years, winning the first two. “Traditionally, we play Paonia really tough, we’ve just come up on the short end in three heartbreakers,” Coach Phelan said of rivalry with the Eagles, the past three seasons. Meeker lost 30-34 last year in Paonia after seven lead changes. “The kids are going to be excited and ready to go, not only because it is homecoming but because of the opponent.” The showdown will be around sundown (7 p.m.) on Friday, Oct. 21, in Starbuck Stadium where the undefeated Meeker Cowboys will play the undefeated Paonia Eagles for more than the league championship. “It should be a great high school atmosphere and I encourage everyone to come out and watch the showdown,” coach Phelan said.