Listen to this post
MEEKER I Cowboy head football coach Shane Phelan said he does not script the first 15 plays for his team.
If he did, it would have been difficult for him to script them any better last Friday. After the first 15 plays against county rival Rangely, Meeker led 30-0.
Meeker shut down and shut out the Panthers 46-0 in the Rio Blanco County championship game, played in Starbuck Stadium, to remain undefeated in league play, with Hayden on the schedule for Friday.
Meeker took control immediately, as senior Brock Campbell returned the opening kickoff 85 yards in 14 seconds. Senior running back Mitch Jacob added the two-point conversion and Meeker led 8-0.
“I was happy with how our return team set the tone on the opening kickoff,” Phelan said.
The return fired up the Cowboy defense, which forced the Panthers to punt after three plays, only to have senior Ever Olivas block the punt and give his team the ball 27 yards from their end zone.
On Meeker’s second offensive play of the game, senior quarterback Colton Brown connected with Campbell for a 27-yard touchdown pass, with less than three minutes played in the first quarter.
The Cowboy defense forced the Panthers to punt again after three downs and started with good field position, on the Panther’s 44-yard line. Meeker ran five plays before Brown connected with senior Nate Bradfield on the sixth play, for a 34-yard touchdown. Jacob again added the extra point and Meeker led 22-0, with more than five minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Panthers made their first, first down of the game on their next drive, followed by a second, but were unable to make a third, even going for it on fourth down.
“We were focused,” Phelan said of his defense. “We talked of some things we wanted to accomplish on defense, then we went out and executed them.”
The Cowboys also executed well on offense, using seven plays to get into the end zone for a fourth time. After passes to Campbell and junior Cole Steiner and runs by Jacob and senior fullback Tyrell Gerloff, Brown scored after running untouched for a 15-yard touchdown. Gerloff added the two-point conversion and Meeker led 30-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Phelan credited his offensive linemen including: Jarett Waldref, Olivas, Ryan Wix, Jake Nieslanik, Justin Hardy, Spencer Madison and Charley Adams for opening holes and protecting the quarterback.
“It doesn’t happen without the guys up front,” Phelan said of his team’s offensive production.
The Cowboys continued to hold the Panthers, while adding points of their own. Campbell scored on a 10-yard sweep and Gerloff added the two-point conversion, to make the score 38-0.
The Panthers made two first downs on their next possession, but could not sustain the drive with a third, giving the ball back to Meeker on downs.
The Cowboys continued to run and pass over the Panthers, topping off the drive with a 65-yard touchdown run by Brown. Brown completed a pass to Campbell for the two-point conversion and Meeker’s final score.
The second half went quick as the clock was not stopped, since the Cowboys led by more than 40 points and neither team scored in the second half.
Christopher Ruckman was injured late in the game and has been hospitalized in Grand Junction with a kidney injury.
“We’ll keep Christopher in our thoughts and prayers,” Phelan said.
The Cowboys will play in Hayden Friday at 7:30 p.m.