Meeker's play this season has surprised even its head coach, Mike Hedge, and on Friday night the Bulldogs went on the road and upset Hartshorne, 28-18, in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
Meeker's freshman quarterback, Jake Standley, rushed for 167 yards, but the biggest play in the game was made by safety Nick Cagle.
The Miners, trailing 21-12 with seven minutes left in the game, appeared to have struck gold on a 60-yard slant route, but Cagle saved the touchdown by chasing down the receiver and punching the ball out of his arms at the 1.
The football bounced out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
“It was a huge play,” Hedge said. “It ended up being a 14-point swing.”
Meeker (7-4) then went on a 80-yard scoring drive, capped off by a Jesse Weaver 11-yard touchdown run, to seal the victory.
The Bulldogs, who only have five seniors on the team, can make school history with a win Friday night at Commerce (10-1). No Meeker football team has ever advanced past the second round of the playoffs.
“Every time they step on the field they shock me,” Hedge said of his club. “They've did things this season no one had expected of them.”
WASHINGTON ROLLS IN FIRST ROUND
Washington fought its way to a No. 2 seed in the playoffs, and made it count with a 43-6 win over Kingston.
Quarterback Brock Harmon threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for another, and Cooper Treadway added a pair of big plays.
Treadway got the Warriors on the board first with a 65-yard interception return touchdown. Later, he pulled in a 55-yard TD toss from Harmon.
“Our offense was struggling early,” Washington coach Brad Beller said. “The defense was in control the whole game, and that interception return really swung momentum. That kind of let us breathe on offense, and the big plays started coming.”
The Warriors will have to go to Hennessey, the two-time defending champion, Friday for a second-round matchup.
“We understand what we're up against,” Beller said. “They're disciplined and aggressive. They're always fundamentally sound, and with us being an option team, we try to take advantage of teams not being fundamentally sound. But that will be a challenge this week.”