The No. 13-seeded Buena Vista Demons traveled to fourth-ranked Meeker Nov. 4 with upset on their minds.
At halftime they were in position to make that happen, but Meeker had other plans and regained control in the second half to win 34-20.
Meeker began the game looking to be the dominant team that the seeding would suggest.
The Demon defense rose up once the Cowboys entered the red zone and continued their habit of shutting teams out of the end zone.
Meeker worked their way deep into Demon territory, but Luke Reavis made a great break on a pass and picked it to give Buena Vista their first possession of the game.
The Demons moved near midfield before changing field position when they had to punt the ball away to the Cowboys. From there on, Meeker methodically moved the ball and chains down the field with a time-consuming drive against a stout Demon defense.
Malachi Bardol broke through the line of scrimmage to stop Cowboy quarterback Ryan Phelan to end the first quarter.
It was evident as the sea of white jerseys were removed that the quarterback was injured and would not return for the game.
Enter backup Braydon Garcia. After switching ends of the field and a couple of warm-up plays, Garcia found receiver Jacob Shelton in the end zone for a 6-yard scoring toss.
The Buena Vista defense stopped the run attempt on the two-point conversion and Meeker led 6-0 with 11:52 to play in the second quarter.
Buena Vista was not going to concede to the home club and quickly answered in the next drive.
After moving the ball to midfield Kik Molitor tossed the ball down the right sideline where Reavis had worked behind the defense and caught the ball in stride.
He broke the tackle of a would-be defender and raced to the end zone to tie the score on the 58-yard play. Tam Flowers split the uprights to put Buena Vista up 7-6.
The two teams took turns at turning the ball over on fourth down attempts near midfield and then Buena Vista seized an opportunity after recovering a Cowboy fumble.
With 0:44 showing in the first half Molitor connected on a 15-yard scoring pass to Tucker Storms and the Demons headed to the locker room up 14-6.
Buena Vista had the lead and received the second half kickoff, but on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter Meeker’s Kelton Turner stepped in front of a Molitor pass and ran 30 yards for the score.
One more time the Demon defense rose up to stop the two-point conversion run attempt and Buena Vista still led 14-12.
Garcia found Colby Clatterbaugh open on the sideline on a fourth-down attempt near midfield on Meeler’s next drive. Clatterbaugh barely got one foot down inbounds for the completion to keep the drive alive.
From there, the Meeker offense methodically moved the ball down field and scored on an 8-yard pass to Jeremy Woodward with 2:34 remaining in the third. Again there was a failed run attempt and the Cowboys were up 18-14.
When the Demon offense stalled, the Cowboys scored again with 6:31 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 57-yard run and then added two more on a successful pass for the conversion.
Buena Vista put together a valiant drive to keep hopes alive, but came up short in the red zone on a fourth-and-1.
Turner raced 75 yards for the score on the very next play to put the game out of reach 34-14.
The never-say-die Demons continued to play with great effort just as they had all year and added one more score with 25 seconds remaining on a 9-yard pass completion from Molitor to Flowers to make the final score 34-20.
“Our seniors I want to recognize,” said coach Matt Flavin. “We are so proud of them as players and men. They should have no regrets on how they played their last game. They left it all on the field.
“We are also excited about what we have coming back. We will make another run at it in the years to come,” Flavin said.