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MEEKER I The Meeker Cowboys fell to Del Norte on a warm Saturday afternoon. Fumbles again had strong effect on the outcome of the game. The Cowboys open conference play this Friday in Leadville, going up against the host Lake County team. It could be the first game of the year that the Black and Gold has all their players ready for battle.
The ‘Boys showed outstanding signs on both defense and offense, but have not been able to sustain these plays without miscues during the action.
Sebastian Clarke led the Cowboys in rushing, running for 110 yards on 17 carries. Clarke also had a number of good kickoff returns, with his longest being 41 yards. He was followed by T.J. Shelton, who added 75 yards on 16 attempts. Jake Phelan ran 11 times for 43 yards with Tala Atoafa chipping in 27 yards on only three carries. J.C. Henderson added 3 yards on one carry, and Dylan Mobley added 10 yards on four rushes. Dylan led us in passing, hitting two completions on seven attempts for 23 yards, plus a 20 TD strike to T.J. Shelton. Clarke scored 16 points for the night, running for two TDs and four extra points.
All in all the Black and Gold ran for 268 yards on 52 carries, and hit for 23 yards on seven pass attempts. The total offense for the night was 59 attempts for 291 yards and 15 first downs. On defense, the opponent ran for 164 yards on 34 attempts and they hit on seven of 14 passes for 189 yards. Their total offensive bill was 353 yards and 14 first downs. The Cowboys had nine tackles behind the line-of-scrimmage (LOS), which is outstanding. This tied for sixth place on the all-time tackles behind the LOS in a game list. The leader is 15 in a game in 1988 with Coach Rick Miers at the helm. Aaron Zielinske’s defensive unit also had 12 behind the LOS this season and 11 last year. Zielinske-led defenses have five of the top 15 games with tackles behind the LOS. The 2012 Cowboys have tackled the runners behind the LOS 28 times this season, which places them fourth on the all-time list, again headed by Rick Miers’s 79 in 1989.
First downs are a good indicator of offensive line play. We had 15 in the game, which is good, plus the 2012 team is averaging 16.0 per game. If they can keep this up they will be within the record setting lines of the 2002 group, which averaged 16.7 per game, and the 1995 group that averaged 16.2. Well done, we might add. Our line seems to get better each and every game, are led by Joe Newman, Ricky Jeffrey, Austin Brown, Ruben Royball, Nakoma Biley, Adrian Shroyer, Kash Atwood, and with the aid of blocking backs J.C. Henderson and Costin Pallach.
Tackles are not available at this time but leading the way was good play by senior safety Nate Walsh, who had a number of strong, solid hits.
Keeping the ball off the ground will be the big emphasis this week. The Cowboy totals are good except in this area and with improvement will come wins which could put the Black and Gold in the run for their first conference championship since 2001.
Clarke leads the Cowboys in rushing for the season, running 49 times for 396 yards. T.J. Shelton has run 52 times for the year for 311 yards. Dylan Mobley leads in passing, hitting 26 completions in 70 attempts. Alex Smith, who did not play this week, is the leading receiver with 14, for 146 yards. Willis Begay stepped in as the punter for the first time and had several good kicks. He averaged 33.2 yards per punt.
Sebastian Clarke leads in the number of plays over the four games, with 480 plays: TJ Shelton has played 410, JC Henderson 400, Devon Pontine with 358, Dylan Mobley 332, Alex Smith 331, Scott Smith 323, Noah Overton 285, Joe Newman 267, Nate Walsh 264, Jake Phelan 259 and Fernando Olivas with 255 plays. The Cowboys have played 18 men over 100 plays, which is usually a good determining point for experience gained and lettering. We have played 35 different men over the course of the season. Our seniors have played 28 percent of the total snaps, with juniors leading the way with 33 percent, followed by the freshmen with 20 percent and the 10th graders with 16 percent.
The Cowboys hope to see you in Leadville this Friday for the beginning of conference play.
DID YOU KNOW? Coach Craig Paschal, who had the last conference championship team at Meeker in 2001, averaged a Meeker record 379 total yards a game. He was also second on the all-time list with 363 yards per game in 2000. Third on the list is Meeker’s own Shane Phelan, with 356 yards per game in 2009. The 2012 Cowboys are averaging 320.2 yards a game. Only nine teams in Meeker’s 112 years of football have averaged more than 300 yards per game.