MEEKER | It was the first time this season the Meeker High School football team trailed its opponent but things change and for the first time since 2009, the Cowboys beat the Paonia Eagles 12-7, securing the league title and they are the No. 1 ranked 1A team in the state, according to Colorado Preps. “We didn’t have any negative thoughts,” Cowboy senior Casey Turner said about he and his teammates, after Paonia scored in the fourth quarter, then kicked an extra point to lead 7-6 with 6:39 left to play. “We were just out there playing hard and having fun.” The game was hard-fought, with the Cowboys scoring first in the second quarter before both teams scored in the fourth. “It wasn’t pretty but it was exciting,” Meeker head coach Shane Phelan said of the game. “It was a nice win for us, being Homecoming, everyone was eager all week to get to the game and it lived up to its billing.” Meeker was first to get on the scoreboard but it was not until the second quarter, as both teams played tough defense and Meeker could not move the ball on the ground. “We struggled to run the ball again, as they added more guys inside the box but our receivers did a great job,” Coach Phelan said. The Cowboys only gained 39 yards on the ground but junior quarterback Logan Hughes completed 13 of 16 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, including Meeker’s first score, a pass to senior Hunter Garcia. After Garcia scored the touchdown with 8:33 left in the second quarter, he intercepted a pass and returned it to the 25-yard line but the Cowboys were unable to score. “We had some opportunities but didn’t capitalize on them,” Coach Phelan said. The Cowboys made a goal-line stand and kept the Eagles out of the end zone in the third quarter but could not keep them out in the fourth, when they connected on a 20-yard pass, on fourth down, for a touchdown and then kicked the extra-point to take a 7-6 lead. “I was proud of how the kids bounced back,” Coach Phelan said. “They are a resilient bunch and just got to work.” Meeker also got into a fourth down situation and a big pass to senior Sheridan Harvey (who finished with four catches for 109 yards), not only gave the Cowboys a first down, he moved the eight-yard line, when Hughes then completed a touchdown pass to Turner to give Meeker the lead back with 4:11 to play. “We had a lot of individuals step up and make big plays,” Coach Phelan said. “We spend a lot of time in the summer, throwing and catching and when those big-time opportunities come around, we make those catches. We have a lot of guys that can make plays and you never know who it’s going be.” One of the biggest plays came with 1:43 left to play, with Paonia moving the ball past mid field, when Meeker senior Ty Gibson stripped the ball away from the Eagles’ quarterback and junior Eli Newman recovered it to give his team the ball back and the victory. “It was a great atmosphere for a football game,” Coach Phelan said. “The fans were outstanding and they sounded like thunder every time we did something good.” The Cowboys will play in Olathe at 7 p.m., Friday.
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