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MEEKER I When a team takes a 40-point lead against another in a Colorado high school football game, the “mercy clock” begins running continually for the losing team and last Friday in Starbuck Stadium the Cowboys started the running clock in the first half against the Grand Valley Cardinals to remain undefeated in six games. The Cowboys moved up in the state rankings and will put their undefeated record on the line Friday in Cedaredge, where they will play the Bruins in another league game.
“We couldn’t have scripted a better start,” Meeker head coach Shane Phelan said. “We put them in the hole from the beginning.”
The Cardinals won the coin flip but it was the only thing they would win, as they kicked off to start the game and the Cowboys took advantage of Grand Valley’s decision on the first play from scrimmage.
Cowboy quarterback Logan Hughes handed off to junior classmate Doak Mantle who broke two tackles, almost went down, then sprinted 67 yards for Meeker’s first score. Casey Turner ran in the two-point conversion and the Cowboys led 8-0, just 30 seconds after the game started.
The Cowboys forced the Cardinals to punt after three plays and following a big pass from Hughes to senior Sheridan Harvey, moved the ball to the eight-yard line, where his cousin Casey Turner ran it in for a touchdown.
Another punt after three downs by the Cardinals and Mantle scored again from 15 yards out, Turner ran in the two-point conversion and the Cowboys led 22-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Meeker’s offense continued to score in the second quarter, first on a 50 yard pass to Hunter Garcia and after senior Cole Brown intercepted a pass, Turner scored again and Meeker took a 38-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Cardinals scored their only touchdown on a long run with about seven minutes to play in the first half but Garcia caught another pass from Hughes and Harvey ran the ball in for a touchdown from 15-yards out and the clock started running as Meeker took a 46-6 lead late in the second quarter.
“I was pleased with the effort and level of intensity we played with and how we kept after them in the first half,” coach Phelan said. “The game goes fast after the clock starts running.”
After an interception in the third quarter by Garcia, sophomore quarterback Kale Burke score from 50 yards out on a quarterback keeper for Meeker’s final score of the game.
“We had a balanced attack on offense and a great job up front allowed us to run the ball well,” Coach Phelan said. “It was another good team effort.”
Ten Cowboys carried the ball for a total of 310 yards, including 119 from Mantle, 97 from Turner and 47 from Burke. Hughes completed seven of 11 passes for 180 yards, including four to Garcia for 112 yards.
Twenty-three Cowboys recorded tackles on defense, which was led by senior Chase Rule with six, while juniors Trapper Merrifield and Eli Newman were each in on five tackles.
The Cowboys are currently ranked fourth in 1A by Maxpreps.com, behind No. 1 Peyton, Platte Canyon and Paonia. Meeker’s next opponent, the Cedaredge Bruins are currently 5-1 and are ranked sixth in the state.
“They are a good bunch and we have to go down there to play them, we are getting real familiar with our bus seat,” coach Phelan said of another game on the road. “They have a big and fast running back, their defense doesn’t allow many points and they are a well coached team. They are a high quality opponent, not many years (four) removed from a state championship, so they have a winning tradition.”