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MEEKER | Meeker walked into Strasburg ready for a battle. The Cowboys had first possession of the game and took full advantage. Kelton Turner ran the ball down to the 50-yard-line on the kick return and just over four and half minutes later, Jeremy Woodward had the first score of the night, the first score against Strasburg so far in 2020. It was the first time Strasburg was behind all year.
“The boys played hard, they played their hearts out,” said head coach Shane Phelan. “It is heartbreaking how it ended the way it did, but sometimes that is just how sports are.”
Strasburg then scored two more times making it 14-6 for the Indians, but then on the kick return, Turner ran 85 yards to put the Cowboys within two. Ryan Phelan ran it in for the extra two points and the Cowboys and Indians were tied 14-all at the end of the first half.
“They are a good team and have been through some battles,” said Phelan. “It was disappointing we couldn’t get it done in those critical times, but it was a great effort, nothing to hang our head about.”
The second half opened with an Indian possession and score that was answered in three plays by Woodward and the extra two once again by Phelan. With 6 minutes and 14 seconds left in the third Meeker once again pulled ahead, 22-21.
As the game progressed the Cowboys fully stopped the Indian drive, but these well-matched teams kept going back and forth, scoring nearly every possession. With just under a minute left in the game, Phelan met Spud White in the end zone and the game was within two, 34-36. The Cowboys couldn’t convert the extra two, but a successful onside kick after the score recovered by Colby Clatterbaugh gave them one more chance. The recovered kick started their drive in Indian territory, but Meeker was beaten by the clock and the game came to an end 34-36, Strasburg.
Phelan threw for 106 yards, 48 to Clatterbaugh and 36 to White. On the ground Turner had 85 and Woodward 79. Defensively Turner also led in tackles with 14, Clatterbaugh had 13 and Zach Eskelson and Cooper Main both had eight.
“This year when August rolled around the guys were really excited, then it was taken away, only to later go back and forth, but in the end they got a season and were able to compete,” began Phelan. “The guys wanted an opportunity to be with their teammates and friends and be able to play. It was great they got some normalcy in the world we are living in.”
“We appreciate all the help and community support and it was disappointing that the fans couldn’t come to our last contest of the year,” commented Phelan, “I don’t agree and think the event could have been handled differently to get our fans there.”
The 2020 stats are three or four games shy of a typical “Cowboy” football year, but Phelan still threw for 1,024 yards, primarily to White with 402 yards, Turner with 252 yards, Clatterbaugh with 160 yards and Braydon Garcia with 120. On the ground Turner led the team with 670 yards, Woodward had 591, and Phelan 141. Total yard leaders for the team were Phelan, Turner and Woodward.
Defensively Clatterbaugh led the team in tackles with 55. Connor Blunt and Eskelson each had 41, and Woodward 38. Seven Cowboys posted stats for sacks this season, led by John Hampton Hightower with two. Turner and Trinden Powell each had three interceptions, but Clatterbaugh’s interception yielded the most yards — 75 — and Liam Deming had one for 54 yards.
This year’s seniors were Garcia, Clatterbaugh, Sheridan, Phelan, Woodward, Ethan Drake, Justin Henderson, White, and Josh Murphy.
“We really enjoyed this year’s seniors and they will be sorely missed,” commented Phelan. “It is disappointing to not be able to continue with this group of boys, but sometimes that is how these things go.”