MEEKER I “We have been here before and the games get tougher every week,” Meeker head football coach Shane Phelan said after his team defeated the Platte Canyon Huskies 32-20 in the first round of the 2015, 1A Colorado State Football playoffs last Saturday in Bailey. The Cowboys will host the No. 2 seeded, Resurrection Christian Cougars, this Saturday in Starbuck Stadium at 1 p.m.
Last year the Cowboys advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs, where they were eliminated by the Buena Vista Demons. The Demons lost to the two-time defending state champion Paonia Eagles in the championship game.
This year, Buena Vista is the No. 1 seed and Paonia is the No. 3 seed, putting Meeker on the same side as the defending champs. Buena Vista will play Wiggins on Saturday and the Eagles will host Burlington. If Meeker and Paonia both win Saturday, the Cowboys would play the Eagles in Starbuck Stadium in the semifinals.
Against the Huskies in the first round, the Cowboys needed a little time to figure out the Platte Canyon’s running game, while developing their own.
Meeker would be the first to score, a 25-yard jaunt by T.J. Shelton and a two-point conversion by quarterback Logan Hughes, gave the Cowboys an 8-0 lead in the first quarter but the Huskies would tie the game early in the second.
“They (Huskies) have a power running game and it took us a little time to get adjusted to what they were doing but we figured it out and got some big stops,” coach Phelan said.
Meeker drove down to the one-yard line but fumbled away the ball, only to force Platte Canyon to punt three downs later. Shelton would score his second touchdown of the day from five yards out and Hughes added the two-point conversion again, giving the Cowboys a 16-8 lead at halftime.
“We should have had a bigger lead at half but we came out and pulled away in the second half,” coach Phelan said.
Meeker senior Jacob Nielsen recovered a fumble and Hughes scored his first touchdown of the game from five yards out, then Casey Turner added the two-point conversion to give Meeker a 24-8 lead in the third quarter. The Huskies would also score again, making the score 24-14, going into the final quarter of play.
Shelton scored his third touchdown, midway through the final quarter and sophomore running back Doak Mantle added the two-point conversion. The Huskies scored a final touchdown with less than two minutes to play and Kash Atwood caught the on-sides kick to give his team the ball and the 32-20 win.
Shelton finished the game with 225 yards rushing on 28 carries, Mantle gained 31 and Hughes had 55 yards rushing, completed three of nine passes for 41 yards, including two to senior Devon Pontine and one to Hunter Garcia.
Turner led the Cowboys with 18 tackles and junior classmate Chase Rule finished with 13. Pontine and Garcia each recored nine tackles and junior Caleb Bradford had seven. Shelton, along with senior classmates Dillon Frantz and Conner Pfister all finished with six tackles each.
Frantz and Turner both recorded sacks, Shelton and Cole Brown each had interceptions, while Nielsen and Tyler Ilgen both recovered fumbles, caused by Turner and Mantle.
“It was a nice overall team effort,” coach Phelan said.
Coach Phelan said Resurrection Christian is undefeated (10-0) and they have only had one close game all year.
“They are a good bunch, number two in the state with a big roster and a lot of coaches but they will only have 11 players on the field at a time too,” coach Phelan said. “We have them at home and we welcome the challenge.”
The game will be played in Starbuck Stadium, with the kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m.
“It ought to be exciting and a fun football game to watch,” coach Phelan said. “We hope to get a big turnout and we’ll see what happens.”
CHSAA passes only
MEEKER I Saturday’s 1A Colorado State football playoff game is a Colorado High School Activity Association (CHSAA) event and only CHSAA issued passes will be accepted for admittance at the gate. District passes will not be accepted.