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MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys dropped their final conference game to Hotchkiss, 34-12. The Black and Gold played the Bulldogs fairly even except for two long runs by the ace Hotchkiss running back, who bolted for 60 and 93 touchdown runs during the contest.
The ‘Boys gained 321 yards during the game, with 162 yards passing on 23 attempts and 159 rushing on 38 carries. Jake Phelan ran for 51 yards and threw for 156 on 32 total attempts, 22 passing and 11 running. This was Jake’s fourth straight game of having more than 200 total yards in a contest. There have been 25 times in Meeker history that a player has combined running and passing totals for more than 200 yards in a game. The top total was by Bob Tucker in 1949, when he ran and passed for 321 yards in one game.
We again had a number of men tackling in the seven-nine total range for the game. Tackle leaders for the year were junior Aaron Cochran with 63 total, followed by Scott Smith (59), Fernando Olivas (54), Jake Phelan (43), JC Henderson (42), Willis Begay (42), J.R. Crawford (41) and Tala Atoafa with 40.
Jake Phelan and Alex Smith led the 2012 Cowboys in total plays played, each going more than 900 plays. They were followed by Sebastian Clarke (890), JC Henderson (880), Scott Smith (878), Devon Pontine (775), T.J. Shelton (760), Nate Walsh (663), Noah Overton (643), Aaron Cochran (555), Tala Atoafa (550), Fernando Olivas (534), Joe Newman (500), Dylan Mobley (437) and Austin Brown (415). The ‘Boys played 36 different players in 2012, and 22 went more than 100 plays each.
Sebastian Clarke carried 16 times during the game and gained 46 yards. T.J. Shelton ran 11 times for 61 yards. Shelton led the 2012 team in rushing with 785 yards on 115 carries, for a very good 6.8 average. This is the 22nd best rushing total in school history. He was followed by Clarke, who rushed 109 times for 696 yards and a solid 6.3 yards per attempt. Shelton’s total average per attempt was the school’s 10th best of all time, behind the record setting Dale Dunbar who averaged 9.3 yards a carry in 1977. Clarke finished 12th on the all-time list. Both Clarke and Shelton are underclassmen.
Clarke led the Cowboys in scoring with 58 points, including eight touchdowns. Shelton was second with 54 points and he also had eight touchdowns. Phelan led in passing, hitting on 34 completions in 68 attempts for a 50 percent passing average. He threw for 624 yards, the 20th best behind the record of 1480 yards by Jimmy Cook in 1968. Alex Smith caught 32 passes in 2012, fifth highest all-time, behind the 49 caught by Bill Tagert in 1940. Alex’s 372 yards caught rank ninth on the record list, behind the 743 yards by Tagert, also in 1950.
Leaders for the 2012 season were Aaron Cochran in tackles; T.J. Shelton in rushing; Jake Phelan in passing, total offense and total plays; Sebastian Clarke in scoring and kick returns; Alex Smith in receiving; Raul Lopez in punting which included a 51-yarder vs. Hotchiss, the 16th longest of all-time, behind the record setting boot by Bill Anderson in 1983 of 73 yards; Tristin Pelloni in interceptions; J.C. Henderson and T.J. Shelton in practices with 56 and no misses in 2012. Leaders in weight room workouts were J.C. Henderson, T.J. Shelton, Jake Phelan and Jake Henderson, all with more than 100.
Often the offensive line gets overlooked, but the 2012 bunch were also responsible for some record-setting of their own. The combined unit of Joe Newman, Devon Pontine, Nakoma Bailey, Ruben Roybal, Ricky Jeffrey, Noah Overton, Ty Dunham, Kash Atwood and Tyler Pollock were in on the longest drive in school history, pushing the ball down the field in 22 plays and 98 yards for a score. They took up nine minutes and 17 seconds on this drive. They led the team to 541 total yards in one game, setting a school record by going past the 2002 team’s record of 528 yards. They also were the center of attention on the 27 first downs in a game, breaking the old record of 25, set in 2005. They were the main cog in the 2012 team running 57.7 plays a game, also the high in school history. Good point about these men is the fact that all but one will return for the 2012 season. The 2012 team finished fifth on the all-time total offensive list set in 2001 by Craig Paschal’s team, which averaged 379 yards per game. The 2012 team total was 342 yards a game.
Thirty-six young men played in a varsity game in 2012, and 29 return in 2012.