Taking on a perennial playoff football team like the Meeker High School Cowboys is a tall order for any team regardless of classification. Interestingly, coming into the away contest, the Cedaredge High School Bruins and the Cowboys had played each other on the gridiron a total of 20 times. The record ... 10 wins apiece. For the season, Meeker sported a 4-1 season record and a No. 4 RPI ranking.
It didn’t take long for Cedaredge to realize it was up against a well-oiled Meeker machine led by all-state junior quarterback, Ryan Phelan. Phelan entered the game as one of the state’s leading passers. On the night, Meeker was able to score touchdowns when it had the ball. The Cowboys were ahead 36-0 at halftime.
Regardless of the first half result, Bruins’ head coach Craig Cerise wanted nothing more than for his athletes to compete until the end. The rest of the contest was going to be a test of Bruin pride.
Showing heart, the Bruins continued to fight. Cedaredge starting quarterback, Jacob Brown, was forced out of the game in the second quarter. Presented with a surprise opportunity to lead the Bruins, sophomore backup quarterback Ty Walck took the reins behind center. Nerves must not have been a factor, as Walck played well. He connected on two long passes to reliable wideout Colby Rupp, the Bruins’ leading receiver. Eventually Dusty Emig, the Bruins’ top running back, got into the end zone from three yards out for a much needed Cedaredge touchdown. It was the Emig’s seventh rushing touchdown of the season.
The loss to the physical Cowboys was a tough one. Several players were banged up a bit, but Cerise knows that’s part of the game. Entering the game, Cedaredge was dealing with a handful of key injuries.
“During the game there was some juggling of players and different positions because of injuries and other factors. We knew depth could be an issue for this season because we don’t have a lot of kids out,” Cerise said. “However, we couldn’t be happier to have the kids that we do have out. We’ve moved kids around, and they’ve stepped in and done what we’ve asked of them.”
Ahead for Cedaredge is a home contest against the Grand Valley High School Cardinals on Friday, Oct. 18. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“Moving forward, I think we might have more injuries that we’ll be dealing with, but that’s football. We’ll prepare the players the best we can and try to put them into a position to be successful,” said Cerise. “We take the season one week at a time. We just have to be focused on Grand Valley and beating them Friday night. They’ll be playing with a lot of emotions, and we need to be ready for that.”