Cowboys take it on the chin 0-34

MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys dropped a conference game 0-34 to Paonia. It was a game of much contrast. Meeker moved the ball well, very well at times, but self-destructed once they got near the goal line. Two dropped footballs in the end zone plus penalties slowed down the Cowboys. The boys amassed more than 300 yards in total offense, rang up 14 first downs and had 60 offensive plays. Those totals are usually good for 21-28 points in a game.
Special team’s play, a solid unit for much of the season, had their worst night of the 2011 season. They punted for only a 21.3 yards per punt average, plus they lacked the usual kick return burst seen in other games and did not cover as well. All in all, a poor night for this unit.
The ‘Boys have played well rushing the football, passing the football, run and pass blocking, played good tough defense, intercepted seven passes and showed signs of really good football in their kicking game in game after game. The problems seem to be a lack of consistency and inability to put them all together during an entire game.
Meeker seemed to answer Paonia’s first touchdown with a good solid drive of 65 yards, only to be stopped with a penalty after a big run. The Cowboys seemed to have stopped  Paonia’s first TD drive with solid defense, only to have a 15-yarder tacked on allowing the drive to continue. The Eagles then went on to score their first touchdown.
The Eagles second score came on a fairly short drive after a poor Meeker punt. It was also aided by a penalty. Meeker played sound defense for a while, then allowed a 30-yard run around the right defensive side for a score by the Eagles. Another breakdown in the kicking game occurred when the runner slipped on the 5-yard line after the kickoff. Meeker drove the ball for 40 yards, but then was forced to punt. The Eagles were set up with good field position and took a 21-0 lead into halftime, again with the help of a penalty, for holding on defense, a rare call.
In the second half, the ‘Boys went to the air, completing 11 passes in 24 attempts during this second phase of the game. With junior QB Nate Walsh throwing well, the Cowboys marched down the field towards the Eagles’ goal line. This drive was stopped with an interception in the end zone. The Black and Gold held the Eagles and after a long punt marched down the field again on the arm of Walsh. The Smith brothers, Scott and Alex, made some nice catches to knock on the goal line again. The results were the same, as the Cowboys came up with no score.
The teams traded drives but the only one to result in a touchdown was another short drive by the Eagles. The score jumped up to 28-0. Again, the Black and Gold had a nice drive that slowed down near the GL and then finally stopped.
Coaches often praise their team when they are winning, talking about their character, their never-say-die spirit, etc. Our young men have that same spirit, and they play hard in game after game and quarter after quarter. They don’t quit, going all out for the entire game. Coach DuPree believes this trait comes from their families and this community.
“It certainly was not developed by me, it was here when I came and I’m proud of them for playing hard the entire game.”
There were some highlights, such as 11 tackles from Scott Smith and Sebastian Clarke. Another solid game was had by Willis Begaye, a sophomore defensive corner-backer. J.R. Crawford had his usual solid game at defensive tackle and the offensive line of Crawford, Joseph Newman, Collin Cochran, Reno Roybal and Ethan Overton blocked well for both the run and the pass. Scott Smith had four tackles behind the LOS which is an outstanding total.
Freshman quarterback Rual Lopez started his first game and played very well. He moved the offense and made good, quick decisions on the option. He was replaced by Nate Walsh in the second half who threw for 177 yards, the ninth best total in one game in Cowboy history, with the record being set by Joe LeBlanc in 2005, when he threw for 264 yards in one game. Nate threw for 177 yards in one half.
Scott Smith had seven catches for 121 yards, both of which rank high on the all-time record chart. It was the seventh best yards caught in a game, behind the 161 yards caught by Jacob Nieslanik in 2010. He jumped past Jimmy Sullivan who caught 120 yards in 1950. Scott’s brother, Alex, caught four passes for 56 yards. The seven catches in a game ties Scott for second on the all-time list, behind the eight catches by Juan Villalpando in 2006.
Defensive line play accounted for 33 tackles and that is a good total for this unit. Leading tacklers for the season are Scott Smith with 72, followed by Atoafa (71), Roybal (66), Begaye (57) and Crawford (50).
Twenty-six young men have played in varsity games this season. Players with the most plays in this season are Scott Smith with 765 plays, followed by Crawford (728), Alex Smith (706), Atoafa (669), Walsh (665), Collin Cochran (659), Roybal (623), freshman Phelan (560) and Clarke (505). Eighteen men have played more than 100 plays.
The junior class leads in tackles with 274, followed by the sophomores with 111, the seniors with 105 and the freshmen with 67 total tackles so far this year. All in all, underclassmen account for 81 percent of all tackles by the 2011 Meeker Cowboys. The junior class also leads in the number of plays for the season. They have accounted for 3,552 plays, followed by the seniors with 2,313, the sophomores with 1,692 and the freshman class with 984. Underclassmen account for 79 percent of all plays in a game for the Cowboys. Underclassmen account for 79 percent of all rushing yardage also.
The boys play their second home game this Friday v. Rangely. Be there!

Did you know? Tagert, in 1940, caught passes for 743 yards, and this is still the highest yardage by a receiver in one season in Meeker history.