MEEKER I Disney was the theme for the 2014 Meeker Homecoming festivities, and like most Disney productions, which end happily, so did the football game in Starbuck Stadium, where fans witnessed the Meeker Cowboys shut out the Grand Valley Cardinals 52-0.
The Cowboys, currently ranked No. 4 in the state by Maxpreps, will play their final game of the regular season on Friday in Hotchkiss with a guaranteed playoff berth going to the winner.
“It was nice to have a good performance in front of our home crowd,” head coach Shane Phelan said. “It was a team effort again; our offense was clicking and our defense played well.
“Everyone suited up on the sidelines got to play,” he said. “It was a good experience for our younger players to perform in the fun Homecoming setting.”
The Cowboys received the opening kickoff and set the tone immediately with a nice return to near mid-field by Cade Rowlett. On the first offensive play of the game, senior quarterback Jake Phelan threw a screen pass to Raul Lopez, who ran the ball 54 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. T.J. Shelton scored the extra points to give their team an 8-0 lead in the first 19 seconds of the game.
Meeker’s defense forced the Cardinals to punt their first possession and the Cowboys needed less than two minutes to score again, this time on a 44-yard run by Shelton. A pass from Phelan to Devon Pontine for the two-point conversion gave the Cowboys a 16-0 lead.
Meeker’s Casey Turner recovered a Cardinal fumble and Shelton capitalized with another touchdown. Rowlett caught the two-point conversion and Meeker led 24-0 with 5:47 left to play in the first quarter.
Meeker’s defense was relentless and forced Grand Valley to punt again, then Shelton scored again to give Meeker a 32-0 lead.
Meeker’s starting offense was not finished yet as Phelan connected with Pontine again, this time for a 19-yard touchdown.
There is a mercy rule in high school, where a running clock starts once a team leads by 40 points and Meeker showed mercy in the first half.
Freshman quarterback Logan Hughes replaced his cousin and he too connected with Lopez for a 44-yard touchdown, which featured some good running by Lopez to get into the end zone. That started the running clock with four minutes to play in the first half and Meeker ahead 45-0.
Turner scored Meeker’s final touchdown in the third quarter.
Phelan completed three of five passes for 78 yards and one touchdown,while Hughes received a quarterback rating of 137 for attempting and completing one pass for a touchdown.
Nine Cowboys ran the ball, including Phelan, Shelton, Pontine, Turner, Dillon Frantz, Jacob Pelloni, Conner Pfister and Doak Mantle. Shelton gained the most yards—99 on 10 carries—and scored three touchdowns.
The Cowboys will play their final game of the regular season in Hotchkiss on Friday.
“This is an awfully important game for both teams, with the winner securing the second seed (Paonia is No. 1), which guarantees a playoff game,” coach Phelan said. “Hotchkiss is a good team and will be ready for this game with a playoff berth on the line.”