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MEEKER I As far as anyone can remember, last week’s meeting on the gridiron between Meeker and Moffat County was the first time the two football teams have met, on a varsity level, in 32 years.
“Everyone is excited and ready to be to some semblance of normal, and a Friday night football game under the lights felt as normal as we have had in a long time,” commented head coach Shane Phelan. “I am really pleased with the guys,” Phelan continued, “we had an idea they would be a bit raggy around the edges and some clean up would be necessary. We dug ourselves a hole early on, but the boys showed resiliency and stepped up to play.”
The Bulldogs intercepted on the Cowboy’s first possession and with 10:42 remaining in the first the Cowboys were behind 0-7. Adjustments were made by the Cowboys and just under eight minutes later Jeremy Woodward ran it in for the Cowboys first score of the season; Spud White answered with the two point conversion and the Cowboys secured their first lead of the game, 8-7 and never let it go.
Early in the second quarter Braden Garcia connected with White, unable to make the two point conversion the score was 14-7. At the 5:30 mark remaining in the first half the Bulldogs scored, but the Cowboys drove it down and the teams went to the locker room 20-14. The Bulldogs failed to score the rest of the game.
“There were a lot of new faces for the Cowboys that stepped up and did some good things, the older boys on the team played really well, and it showed which boys put in their time during the off season in the weight room, that work shined through,” Phelan said.
On Moffat County’s first possession of the second half they fumbled, recovered by the Cowboys who converted it to a score by White and a two point conversion by Kelton Turner. White had 163 receiving yards for the evening, Turner 30, and Colby Clatterbaugh 23, all contributing to the victory. The Cowboy’s next possession they went three and out, but it didn’t last long for the Bulldogs. Moffat County’s first play of the possession, Ryan Peck’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Cooper Main who ran it down for the Cowboys final touchdown on the evening; with the two point conversion, the score was 36-14.
“Moffat County has a good new coach,” said Phelan, “with a new coach we didn’t really know what to expect, they threw some wrinkles at us and we had to adjust on the fly and the kids did a good job.”
“We started slow, but then our offense started working, and did some good things, we won the turnover game which led us to victory,” said Phelan.
Offensively Ryan Phelan threw for 213 yards and ran it in for two touchdowns, White had two touchdowns, and Main the final one. Defensively Casey Brink and Zach Simonsen each had one sack and Connor Blunt, Clatterbaugh, Woodward and Dax Sheridan each had four tackles.
The second game of the season finds the Cowboys pitted against the Cowboys from Gunnison. This game, hosted by Meeker, will have a 6 p.m. kickoff to allow them travel time to get home.
Gunnison has not played at the varsity level since 2017, in 2018 and 2019 they only had JV teams while they were rebuilding their program.
Last weekend they took on Florence who is ranked number one in the Tri-Peaks league for 1A and number four overall by the coaches poll. In the matchup, the score ended 32-8, but neither team scored in the second half. The Gunnison quarterback, Marchitelli threw for 91 yards and also led the team in rushing with 150 yards.
“We know they have a good quarterback,” commented Phelan, “and a couple good receivers, they are a bigger school and we are expecting them to be physical and be a challenge.”
The JV also faced their first opponent for the year, Moffat County once again traveled to Meeker and the Bulldogs came out ahead 16-24 over the Cowboys.
By CAITLIN WALKER | firstname.lastname@example.org