Backs lead Cedaredge past Cowboys
MEEKER — For the first three Meeker possessions Friday night, the Cedaredge football team held the Cowboys to three turnovers on downs. Then, a botched snap on a Meeker punt gave the Bruins’ the ball on the Cowboys’ 3 yard-line.
The ball didn’t leave the Cowboys’ half of the field until late in the first quarter when quarterback Jacob Phelan rugby-kicked a punt that rolled across midfield.
Cedaredge jumped to a 24-0 lead with slightly more than six minutes left in the second quarter, but the Bruins needed a late drive to win 38-30 to spoil Meeker’s homecoming.
Cedaredge running backs Xander Camp and Beau Hebert led a 19-play, 79-yard drive that lasted more than eight minutes in the fourth quarter to pick up the final touchdown. On Meeker’s first play of its final drive, Hebert picked off a deep heave from Phelan to seal the victory.
Camp finished with 132 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. Camp was forced into a heavier workload when Peter Williamson sprained his left ankle in the second quarter, Cedaredge coach Brandon Milholland said.
“You know, Xander’s felt that pressure to step up already this year,” Milholland said. “We had full confidence in him and knew that he was going to be just fine.
“The big thing really, today, was our line. We haven’t been able to run the ball effectively all year, and in all honesty, that’s started up front. But tonight, especially on that last drive, they showed that they’re capable of really dominating the line of scrimmage against a quality opponent. Extremely proud of the kids today.”
Hebert served as another option in the backfield. The defensive back saw more carries when Williamson went down, and he finished with 12 carries for 46 yards and a touchdown.
The success on the ground limited the amount of times Trent Walker had to throw, as the senior quarterback completed five passes on 12 attempts for 36 yards and one touchdown.
The Bruins’ defense limited Meeker’s normally explosive spread-option attack to 78 yards rushing.
T.J. Shelton finished with 20 yards on 12 carries. Phelan had 46 yards on 19 carries.
“The last two weeks, before the games, I’ve been telling those guys about people coming up to me saying they look flat,” Milholland said. “Whether it’s the principal or one of the parents of the kids, I told them what people were saying. The last two weeks we’ve looked flat, but tonight we played with emotion and passion and with heart, so I’m really proud of them for that.”
Phelan was able to spark the second half comeback behind 7-of-17 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown. Phelan also ran for three short touchdowns.
Cowboys coach Shane Phelan said his entire team was shell-shocked by Cedaredge’s opening intensity, but they were able to settle in and close the gap.
“We just dug ourselves too big of a hole at the beginning,” Shane Phelan said. “That’s the bottom line, really. You just can’t do that against the defending state champs. That’s too good of a team to spot them that many points right from the get-go. They have good kids and a great coaching staff. You just can’t shoot yourself in the foot.
“We were just a little surprised at the beginning. Things snowballed a bit ,and we weren’t able to compose ourselves until halftime.”
During the third quarter, Meeker wide receiver Tayler Slaugh remained motionless on the ground after a collision near the line of scrimmage. Slaugh was taken from the field on a backboard and stretcher and was taken by ambulance to Pioneers Medical Center.
After the game, it was announced over the loudspeaker Slaugh was in good condition and was able to move his extremities.