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MEEKER I The Cowboys opened league play last Friday against the Gunnison Cowboys. Gunnison and Roaring Fork are both new to the Western Slope league this year, but only Gunnison opted to play football during the Schedule A season.
“It was kind of a slow start,” began head coach Shane Phelan, “I am hoping that against Hotchkis we get off to a faster start.”
The first quarter ended scoreless but the second quarter is where Meeker came alive.
“I was really pleased with the second quarter,” said Phelan. “We cleaned up our first quarter problems, Gunnison had some turnovers and our offense was able to capitalize on the extra possessions which is very important.”
Right out of the gate Kelton Turner intercepted the ball and carried down to the Gunnison 28-yard line. Jeremy Woodward added the first points to the scoreboard, 8-0. Then, with about ten minutes left in the first half, Colby Clatterbaugh ran it down to field and put the Cowboys once again in scoring range; Woodward ran it in for a nother touchdown and secured the two point conversion for a score of 16-0.
The Cowboys were relentless, with Kelton Turner taking it in two more times for a half time score of 30-0.
Gunnison had first possession in the second half and they moved the ball quickly down into the red, throwing plays at the Cowboys that had not been seen in the first half. The ball was at one time within two yards of goal and the Cowboy defense stepped up big and stopped the score.
“The defense did really well and they had some critical interceptions,” said Phelan.
Leading the team in tackles this week was Woodward with seven, and Turner, Clatterbaugh, and Zach Simonsen each with five. Cooper Main had four tackles and one of the two sacks, the other came from Braden Garcia.
In the second half the team added 18 points, by Woodward, Turner, and then late in the fourth an interception by Liam Deming who ran it 54 yards down the field for the final score.
Offensive stat leaders for the Cowboys were, Ryan Phelan who had 201 yards and he now has 414 on the year, Woodward had 165 yards rushing and has 231 on the year, and Turner had 140 yards receiving; 170 combined.
“Gunnison is a pretty good team, but we had a strong second quarter and a string of things went our way; we got some momentum and came out ahead.” said Phelan; “They really played well in the beginning, and it took us a while to regroup. Their quarterback is a good athlete, player and leader for their team and they had quite a few good athletes on their team.”
The Cowboys will now travel to Hotchkiss to take on the Bulldogs who just defeated Paonia 51-14. It is likely that the winner of this game will be the determination of the champion for the Western Slope League for 2020.
“Hotchkiss is a really good team,” said Phelan, “Their offensive and defensive lines are good and big, it is another really good quarterback that we will be facing again, and they have one of the top tacklers in the state who is returning; this will be a really tough test for us.”
This first away game for the Cowboys will be next Saturday at 2 p.m.; “we are excited and fortunate that we get to continue to play,” commented Phelan.
Meeker is hosting Cedaredge on Friday, Oct. 30 for homecoming.
“It was awful neat to see a good home crowd and get to play in front of our home fans, and the early start made for some good weather,” said Phelan, “I hope to see them come out next time we are home.”