Cowboys slay visiting Dragons 36-20

MEEKER I “It was a nice home opener for us,” Meeker head football coach Shane Phelan said about his team’s 36-20, non-league victory over the Holyoke Dragons on their brand new field in Starbuck Stadium. “The kids were excited to play on the new field and in front of their hometown fans.”
The Cowboys are undefeated in their first three games and the varsity will have a bye this week but Meeker’s JV will play two home games, including one today against the Moffat County Bulldogs at 5 p.m.
It took Meeker a couple of series to get started but once the Cowboys started moving the ball, the Dragons could not stop them.
The two teams traded interceptions with Meeker’s Doak Walker getting the pick for the Cowboys before Meeker quarterback Logan Hughes threw one himself but then made up for it when he rushed for the game’s first touchdown then connected with senior Cole Brown for the two-point conversion, giving the Cowboys an 8-0 led at the end of the first quarter.
Meeker’s defense forced the Dragons to punt and after a penalty, the Cowboys started on their own six-yard line, when Hughes and Brown connected again but this time it was for an 89-yard touchdown, less than two minutes into the second quarter. Senior Casey Turner ran in for the two point conversion and the Cowboys led 16-0.
Both teams’ defenses forced punts and Meeker started on the 50 yard line after Holyoke’s second punt of the second quarter.
“We have a bunch of hard nosed kids who fly around the field and make football plays,” coach Phelan said.
Meeker drove down to the 5-yard line when Hughes connected for another touchdown pass, this time to senior Sheridan Harvey and the Cowboys took a 22-0 lead into the second half.
The Dragons scored on their first possession in the second half but the Cowboys would score again in the third quarter when Hughes connected with Trapper Merrifield for an 18-yard touchdown, with three minutes to play in the quarter, then Merrifield intercepted a pass to give the ball back to his team at the end of the third quarter.
Turner ran the ball the next three plays and scored on the third rush and gave his team a 36-7 lead.
Meeker played some of their backups and the Dragons were able to score two touchdowns to make the score closer than the game was.
“We lost focus a little in the fourth quarter but some of our mistakes are correctable,” coach Phelan said. “We need to buckle down and get things fixed during our bye week.”
Hughes completed 16 of 22 passes for 208 yards and three touchdown passes and he carried the ball nine times for 54 yards. Brown and Harvey each caught five passes from Hughes, senior Hunter Garcia caught three, Merrifield two and Turner caught one.
Junior Doak Mantle carried the ball 16 times for 66 yards and Turner ran the ball 12 times for 62 yards.
“We have a pretty balanced attack,” coach Phelan said. “We have a great receiving core, Casey and Doak are doing a good job carrying the ball and our line up front is providing protection, a few holes and hopefully they will continue to improve through the year.”
Meeker’s JV team will host Moffat County tonight at 5 p.m., then host Coal Ridge Monday, also starting at 5 p.m.
“This will give us a chance to focus on some of our younger guys and develop their skills,” coach Phelan said of the upcoming JV games.