MHS Cowboys lose game and players in Carbondale

MEEKER I The Meeker High School football team lost its third game of the season, 28-0, in Carbondale on Friday. But, more importantly, the team lost players to injury and will now play its final game of the season without several key starters.
“We got bit by the injury bug,” Cowboys head coach Shane Phelan said.
The Cowboys started the game against the Roaring Fork Rams without lineman Rueben Roybal and running back T.J. Shelton because of injuries suffered in earlier games. The Cowboys then lost starting quarterback Jake Phelan on the first drive of the game and defensive end Devon Pontine later in the game.
“We received the kickoff, then it was fourth and four and we, of course, went for it,” Coach Phelan said.
The play was a quarterback keeper, and Phelan’s right leg was hit at the same time by two Ram defenders.
“He broke his tibia and fibula,” Coach Phelan said of his son’s injury. “He won’t be punting for us any more.”
Phelan said the injury “shook us up for a little bit,” and the Rams scored on their first possession.
“We put Hunter (Garcia) in a tough spot,” Coach Phelan said of the freshman sent in to play quarterback. “We put our lineman and everyone in a tough spot.”
The Cowboys trailed 21-0 at halftime and could not come back.
“We had four turnovers on the night,” Coach Phelan said. “You can’t lose the turnover battle and we didn’t force any either.”
According to Phelan, the Cowboys played better in the second half, allowing one more touchdown late in the fourth quarter but not able to score themselves.
“We gained a little composure in the second half and did some good things, but we couldn’t create the big play opportunities,” Coach Phelan said. “Overall, our seniors (J.C. Henderson, Ohana Mataia, Willis Begaye and Ricky Jeffery) all stepped up and did an excellent job.”
Meeker will end its season Friday in Hotchkiss against the state’s No. 3-ranked Bulldogs.
“We’ll rally the troops and look for a great effort and play hard-nosed football,” Coach Phelan said.