Paonia beats Meeker on late score

PAONIA — Taylor Walters ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left Friday night as Paonia rallied to beat previously unbeaten Meeker 28-22 in a pivotal Class 1A Western Slope League football game.

Paonia (5-1, 2-0 WSL) overcame three lost fumbles in the second half, amassed 380 total rushing yards and played stout enough defense in the end after giving up a bunch of big plays in the first half.

“I was worried our kids who fumbled wouldn’t keep their heads up, but the rest of the team picked them up, so it didn’t become a problem,” first-year Paonia coach Brent McRae said. “This could be a game that we look back on that may change our season.”

The Cowboys (5-1, 1-1 WSL) scored on the first play of the game, a 92-yard shovel pass from Jake Phelan to T.J. Shelton.

Phelan’s two-point conversion made it 8-0.

Paonia responded with a nine-play drive, capped by Walters’ score from 1 yard out and Colby Simpson’s extra-point kick.

Meeker regained the lead 14-7 when Phelan connected with Raul Lopez on a 92-yard scoring strike.

“We’ve got some athletes that are pretty good in open space, and we were able to take advantage of that,” Meeker coach Shane Phelan said.

“Overall we’re improving and getting better, and that’s ultimately our goal.”

The Eagles came right back with a big play of their own, a 71-yard touchdown pass from Walters to Josh Altman. Simpson’s kick made it 14-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Walters scored his second 1-yard touchdown run, and Paonia led 21-14 going into halftime.

Walters finished with 230 rushing yards and Will Austin ran for 121.

Hotchkiss 47, Lake County 18: Devan Rupe threw six touchdown passes to six different receivers for the Bulldogs (5-1, 2-0 Class 1A Western Slope Conference) in the lopsided win.

Rupe’s scoring passes went for 13, 75, 17, 12, 10 and 45 yards. Hotchkiss led 21-0 after the first quarter and up 34-6, Duncan Turnbull scored a 15-yard rushing touchdown.

Hotchkiss wasted no time, stopping Lake County’s opening drive, then scoring when Rupe connected with Hank Edwards with nine minutes to play in the first quarter.

Three minutes later, Rupe hit Caleb Schelle for a 75-yard scoring play and two minutes after that connected with Alex Smith from 17 yards out.


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