Through four weeks of football, it’s kind of hard to figure out Central Tech.
Yes, the team is only 1-3. But those losses were against current undefeated Pittsburgh City League team University Prep (52-7), current undefeated Region 5 leader Slippery Rock (21-6), and a highly-regarded undefeated squad out of Maryland in Fort Hill (53-14).
Then again, so far Meadville hasn’t been easy to gauge either. The Bulldogs are also 1-3 on the year. And each of their losses were against currently undefeated teams as well, including Northwestern (31-7), Slippery Rock (49-16) and Warren (33-21).
Both Central and Meadville have one win, and they were each against the same opponent — East. Central blew out the Warriors 36-0 in Week 2. The following week, Meadville edged East 12-6 in overtime.
Now we get to see how the two teams stack up head-to-head as the Bulldogs and Falcons square off at Erie’s Veterans Memorial Stadium today at 7 p.m.
Actually, this won’t be the first time these two have battled this year.
“We scrimmaged them,” said Rob Matz, Central’s head coach. “It was a fairly even scrimmage.”
In that scrimmage, Matz and company got acquainted with Meadville’s most potent weapons.
“I have a ton of respect for Ryan Harkness,” said Matz. “I’ve watched him for a couple years now. He’s a tremendous player. And the line is always fundamentally sound.”
Harkness, a senior fullback, is Meadville’s top ball-carrier this season, gaining 497 yards and scoring four touchdowns on 97 carries. He’ll be flanked in Meadville’s Wing-T backfield by halfbacks Nathan Martin (40 carries, 183 yards, one TD) and Derek Niemann. Caleb Schweter, who had been playing halfback, will move back to his original wideout position as Niemann slides into the backfield.
Central Tech has also been doing some shuffling in its backfield. Their top rusher is and will likely remain senior Calvin Franklin, who has 42 carries for 241 yards and a touchdown this season. And quarterback Josh Wells is also a threat to run, taking 46 keepers for 222 yards and two TDs.
Matz admits, however, that “We’re still trying to find ‘that’ guy right now.”
He’s hoping to find that guy in either junior Eric Mitchell (18 carries, 130 yards) or fellow junior Desmond Mitchell, the latter of whom missed the first two games before getting two carries for 16 yards last week.
Whatever the combination is, Meadville coach Mike Feleppa realizes that, “They have a lot of team speed. I think that’s the glaring thing with them. They’re on you right now. ... The quarterback is good and both the running backs are decent kids as well. They have a plethora of people who can catch the ball. They’ll be a challenge to defend.”
The Falcons will pass the ball. Wells has completed 19 of 48 passes for 289 yards, three touchdowns and eight interceptions. His top target this season has been senior Eddie Tate, who has five catches for 139 yards and a touchdown.
“We haven’t given up a 100-yard rusher yet this season,” said Feleppa. “That should equal more wins. But when you’re giving up too many yards passing ... we’ve got to get better at defending the pass for sure.”
The ’Dogs’ defense has to take care not to get burned through the air this week.
“It’s not that we’re not in position or schematically that we’re not defending the pass,” said Feleppa. “We’re missing the tackle and then there’s no one there to make up for it and the kid’s catching the ball and taking it the whole way. We have the kids in position. We’ve just got to do a better job of making the play.”
Through four weeks of football, it’s kind of hard to figure out Central Tech.
Breese closes career with second straight title
Sam Breese now knows how it feels to be perfect.
Breese finished with an undefeated season record of 35-0, with win No. 35 being the sweetest one of all.
The Lakeview senior stared into the face of the pressure that comes with defending a title, and made the Giant Center in Hershey feel like home. Undeniable talent and an incredible determination are the hallmarks of Breese’s approach to wrestling, and for the second straight year, he can call himself a champion.
McLane’s Wheeling comes up short in final
On a night when six wrestlers repeated as PIAA Class AAA champions, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines stole the show.
Marsteller, of Kennard-Dale, and Haines, of Solanco, became the 11th and 12th four-time gold-medal winners in Pennsylvania history. Marsteller (166-0) also is the first four-time champion to complete his career without a loss since Cary Kolat (1989-92) and the fourth overall.
Serra outlasts Cardinals
For the second time in as many days a basketball team from Cochranton High School played a private school from the WPIAL, put forth a valiant fight, but ultimately had its heart broken.
On Friday, it was the Cochranton boys team, which fell to Vincentian Academy 95-85.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
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