MEEKER I With more than 500 offensive yards, the Meeker Cowboy football team ran over the Cedaredge Bruins in Starbuck Stadium on Friday, defeating them 38-12 in a league contest.
The Cowboys will play the Grand Valley Cardinals in Parachute on Friday in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
“It was a tribute to our team to bounce back after a tough loss (in Paonia the week before), to play a team ranked third or fourth in the state and a critical league opponent,” Meeker head coach Shane Phelan said after his team’s fourth win of the season. “I’m still optimistic and believe if these kids continue to improve each week, our best football is still ahead of us, and that’s exciting.”
The Cowboys’ play has been exciting for Meeker fans, and the game against Cedaredge was no different.
Although the Cowboys started out moving the ball, a touchdown was called back because of a penalty, and an interception on the next play kept Meeker off the scoreboard in the first quarter.
However, the second quarter was different as the Cowboys started lighting it up early.
Sophomore running back Doak Mantle scored from six yards out, and Meeker led 6-0, with less than one minute played in the second quarter.
After forcing the Bruins to punt after three downs, the Cowboys scored again when sophomore quarterback Logan Hughes connected with senior running back T.J. Shelton for a 16-yard touchdown pass. The two connected again on the two-point conversion to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead.
The Bruins did score with less than one minute to play in the first half, so Meeker led 14-6 at the break.
Both teams turned the ball over in their first possessions of the second half but it would be Meeker moving into the end zone when Shelton broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run and Hughes ran in the two-point conversion to give the Cowboys a 22-6 lead.
The Cowboys turned the ball over three times to the Bruins, but they also earned three turnovers during the game.
“We turned the ball over way too much and we have to clean that up going forward,” coach Phelan said. “We talk about protecting the ball a lot; we still have plenty room for improvement.”
Shelton would score again in the third quarter as would the Bruins, making the score 30-12 at the end of the third quarter.
Senior Devon Pontine, who finished the game with 110 yards rushing on three carries, scored the final touchdown of the game, a 54-yard run breaking several tackles on the way into the end zone along his team’s sideline.
Meeker’s defense only allowed the Bruins to rush for 43 yards while the Cowboys rushed for 438 yards, including 223 from Shelton and 55 from Mantle.
Hughes completed nine of 17 passes for 84 yards and one touchdown, and Cole Brown caught two two-point conversions for the Cowboys.
Chase Rule led the Cowboys with 14 tackles while Casey Turner finished with 10. Every Cowboy on the roster recorded at least one tackle.
Coach Phelan said Caleb Bradford “played really well on defense,” including two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a pass deflection.
Although Grand Valley is looking for its first win of the season, Coach Phelan said his team will be prepared.
“We have to be prepared to go on the road against a good opponent,” coach Phelan said.