Meadville Tribune

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August 26, 2013

Race to the top: Bulldogs chasing Slippery Rock for Region 5 crown

MEADVILLE — The countdown continues for the 2013 high school football season. Only a few days remain until the 44 teams in District 10 kick off the year under the bright lights of Friday night.

Leading up to opening night, The Meadville Tribune is going to take a look at the six regions in District 10. Today we’re starting with the big school leagues — Region 5 and Region 6.

Region 6 returns a defending state champion in Cathedral Prep and a couple other teams — McDowell and General McLane, to be specific — that are going to be hot on Prep’s trail. (The Region 6 preview can be found on Page B3).

Region 5 finds Meadville and five other teams attempting to unseat reigning champion Slippery Rock.

Slippery Rock Rockets

2012 record: 8-3 overall, 6-0 Region 5

Head coach: Brendan Hathaway (4th season at Slippery Rock, 6th overall)

Opening week opponent: Home vs. Brashear, Friday at 7 p.m.

Slippery Rock has some rebuilding to do. And much of that comes from the graduation of quarterback Ryan Currie, who was a straight up play-maker for the Rockets. Last year, he passed for 568 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 738 yards and 18 more TDs.

Former receiver Jake Whitmer is taking over at QB for Currie. He’ll at least have an experienced running back to hand off to as second-team all-region rusher Frank Conlon returns for his senior season. He led the team with 897 yards and seven TDs last year.

Whitmer will also have Currie’s favorite target from last year to throw to as senior Chris Reeseman (nine catches, 122 yards, two TDs) returns to the lineup.

The Rockets will need to replace some of their big boys with the graduations of first-team offensive linemen Dylan Neal and Forrest Christmann and first-team defensive lineman Spencer Rea.

Overall, the Rockets do have some holes to fill. But the program seems to have broke through since its 0-10 campaign in 2010, using coach Brendan Hathaway’s system to good effect. A repeat region title isn’t too far-fetched.

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