MEEKER— So, so close.
The Meeker Bulldogs fell 48-42 Friday night, bowing out of the Class 2A football playoffs to the Chisholm Longhorns for the third year in a row.
The two teams combined forces for an offensive explosion. They combined for 90 points and 1,041 yards of total offense.
Trailing 48-36, Meeker took possession with 2:00 remaining on its own 35-yard line. And two plays later Jacob Martin found Dawson Stanberry for a 56-yard touchdown beauty, to cut the deficit to 48-42. The run for two failed, leaving the margin at six and an upcoming on-side kick attempt.
Meeker converted the on-sides kick, recovering the loose ball at the 45-yard line and a chance for a Meeker miracle. That chance faded away on a third and 17 from the 50-yard line. Martin’s pass was picked off by T.C. Smith to end the threat, and Meeker’s season.
Meeker closed the campaign with a 9-2 record.
Chisholm got on the board first, on the game’s initial drive. Braden Meek found Cade Balenti for a 55-yard touchdown pass, the first of six scoring strikes from the senior quarterback. He threw for 312 yards on 18 completions.
Meeker answered with a Jacob martin touchdown run of 15 yards, then converted the two-point pass to take an 8-6 lead with 9:37 left in the first quarter.
Meeker then increased the lead on a 38-yard run by Cade Wolford. Wolford scored with no time remaining on the clock to end the opening frame with a 14-6 lead.
Wolford had a monster night on the ground. The sophomore carried the ball 30 times and churned out 233 yards. He scored three times.
On the next possession, Chisholm answered with an eight-yard touchdown throw from Meek to Noah Henn. That combo would connect for two more scores in the contest.
The Bulldogs held the Longhorns at bay for the remainder of the first half, taking a 20-18 lead into the break
The two offenses traded punches in the third quarter, exchanging the lead four times in the back and forth affair. Meeker held their final lead of the game at 36-32 with 10:19 left to play.
The Longhorns scored on a Garrett McDowell 26-yard run to take the lead for good. They were up 40-36 at that point, then increased it to 48-36 on Meek’s third touchdown pass to Henn with 2:00 left in the game setting up Meeker’s last gasp effort.