Rushing game turns the tide for Page football

BURNSIDE JUNCTION, Ariz.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero Page Sand Devil Kele Meredith (1) continues to move forward and carries Ganado Hornet’s Xavier Freeland (82) Friday night in Burnside, Arizona. Page defeated Ganado, 61-24.

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Page Sand Devil Kele Meredith (1) continues to move forward and carries Ganado Hornet’s Xavier Freeland (82) Friday night in Burnside, Arizona. Page defeated Ganado, 61-24.

For most of the night, the Page football team had the Ganado defense reeling on their heels.

By running a breakneck-paced offense the Sand Devils scored on eight possessions and posted a 61-24 victory at Hornets Stadium. On six of those scores Page successfully completed the two-point conversion.

“I felt like we ran the ball well and we stuck with our plans and did things we wanted to do, although not as clean as we wanted to do,” Page coach Jeff Wheatley said. “We still have a long way to go and we are trying to get better week-to-week but these guys worked hard and they played very well.”

Page rolled up 523 yards of offense with 451 coming on the ground. Sand Devil running back Kele Meredith ran for 213 yards and three touchdowns as Page bounced back from a heartbreaker to second ranked Monument Valley.

“We wanted to get better and come back stronger,” Meredith said of their focus last Friday night.

Meredith, who had 21 carries for an efficient 10.1 yards per carry, credited his offensive linemen for opening up some seams for him to run.

“It was good blocking especially from Morgan (Axlund),” Meredith said. “I saw the openings and I just ran through them.”

In their opening drive, Meredith went 30 yards to set up the 1-yard touchdown run by senior Jaden Myers with 10:36 in the first quarter. The two-point conversion by senior running back Peter Corbell gave the Sand Devils an early 8-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Meredith had scoring runs of one and three yards that paced the Sand Devils to a 22-8 cushion at the break.

During those drives, the Page sophomore picked up 58 yards and finished the first half with 119 yards on 12 carries.

As Page’s leading ball carrier, Wheatley said Meredith is not afraid to run the ball.

“You can’t arm tackle him because he’ll keep going and he is such a strong kid,” he said. “He’s big and that is one of his strengths.”

With 3:00 left in the opening half, Ganado got a 50-yard touchdown run from junior Justin Curley to cap a 74-yard drive that took four plays.

That was one of the bright spots but Ganado coach Chris McNabb said they were physically outmatched.

“I thought our guys competed but we couldn’t stop the run and that was a big factor,” McNabb said. “We had some guys in the right spot but we couldn’t bring those guys down. They were just bigger and more physical than us.”

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Categories: Football

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com