MEEKER I A long bus trip to Ault (A Unique Little Town), did not seem to affect the Meeker Cowboy football team as they whipped the Highland Huskies 18-8 in the first game of the season.
The Cowboys will play the 2A Coal Ridge Titans on Friday in a non-league game in Silt.
“We got after things right from the get-go,” Meeker head coach Shane Phelan said of his team’s quick start.
The Cowboys received the opening kickoff and scored their first touchdown of the season on the third play of the game—a pass from junior quarterback Logan Hughes to classmate Doak Mantle for 65 yards, before one minute had clicked off the clock.
The Huskies fumbled their first snap and Meeker senior Chase Rule recovered it, but the Cowboys could not capitalize.
Meeker would score after receiving a punt and driving down field, with Hughes running the ball in from four yards out with 16 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
The Huskies would get on the scoreboard when they were given a safety after a bad snap, then scored a touchdown, pulling within four of the Cowboys 12-8, with four minutes to play in the first half.
Meeker would score again on a pass from Hughes to senior Cole Brown, but it would be called back because of a penalty. The two connected again in the end zone on the next play to give the Cowboys an 18-8 lead at the end of the first half. That would also be the final score.
“Our offense was pretty balanced, which is unusual for the first game, but we kept them off-balance with our running and passing,” Coach Phelan said.
Hughes completed 11 passes to five different receivers for 182 yards and two touchdowns, as well as rushing for 47 yards on 10 carries.
Brown led the team with five catches for 75 yards. Garcia and Casey Turner each had two catches while Mantle caught one, as did senior Sheridan Harvey. Mantle also carried the ball 15 times for 78 yards and Turner rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries.
Coach Phelan was also pleased with his defense.
“Our defense flew around the football making plays,” he said. “They got loose on a couple of plays, but other than that, they played good-hard-nosed football.”
Rule led the defense with seven tackles, Turner and Mantle each had six and Harvey finished with four.
Turner also recorded a sack and Garcia ended the game with an interception.
Meeker’s junior varsity played its first game of the season in Craig, losing to the 3A Bulldogs 12-6.
The Cowboys are scheduled to kickoff against the Titans in Silt at 7 p.m. on Friday.