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MEEKER I After a loss to the defending 3A state champion Olathe Pirates the previous week, the Meeker Cowboys doubled their wins this season with a resounding defeat of a less-experienced 3A Roaring Fork Rams team.
“We outmuscled them,” head coach Shane Phelan said of his opponent, which featured only two starting seniors and a sophomore quarterback. “They’ll be a good team in a couple of years.”
The game didn’t start out so well for Meeker’s senior-dominated team, but once they got on track, the Rams couldn’t stop the Cowboys, on the ground or in the air.
Meeker gave Roaring Fork good field position on a kickoff return, but the Cowboy’s defense, held the Rams to a field goal, with less then three minutes played in the contest.
Meeker got on the scoreboard when senior quarterback Colton Brown got outside and scored on a 47-yard run. Meeker didn’t convert the extra point and led 6-3, with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.
The Cowboys forced the Rams to punt on their next possession, which was blocked by junior Jake Nieslanik and Meeker took over at the five yard line. Senior Mitch Jacob scored Meeker’s second touchdown on the next play and Brown connected with junior Trevor Matrisciano for the two-point conversion and a 14-3 lead.
The two teams traded the ball back and forth, with each team fumbling twice and Meeker capitalized on the second recovery, when senior Tyrell Gerloff scored a touchdown from five yards out. The Cowboys led 20-3 at halftime of the Rams’ homecoming game.
“We have to eliminate early mistakes and we didn’t take care of the ball very well,” Phelan said of his team’s first-half play.
Meeker held on to the ball in the second half and scored 32 more points in the final two quarters, starting with a strike from Brown to Nieslanik for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Nieslanik also forced Roaring Fork’s quarterback to make a bad pass, which senior Pat Love intercepted. The interception set up another score, when Brown threw an on-the-money pass to Brock Campbell, who ran under the ball in the end zone.
The Rams scored a touchdown to start the fourth quarter, but it was the only time they would make it to the end zone.
On Meeker’s next possession, backup quarterback Matrisciano ran 45 yards before losing the ball, which was recovered in the end zone by Campbell.
Junior Cole Steiner scored on a reverse and sophomore speedster Toby Casias had the game’s longest run, going 56 yards for Meeker’s final score.
“It helps our confidence,” Phelan said of the win. “It gets us back on track and hopefully we can build on it and continue to improve. It was nice to see some of our younger kids working hard out on the field and getting things accomplished.”
Brown finished with 67 yards passing and 103 yards on the ground. Jacob rushed for 85 yards on 10 carries and Matrisciano ran for 58.
The Wix brothers, senior Johnny and junior Ryan, led the Cowboys on defense with 19 tackles between them and a fumble recovery by the younger sibling.
Meeker’s opponent this Friday was scheduled to be New Direction Prep, which canceled its game with the Cowboys Wednesday.