The Bulldogs certainly made the long trip to Bradford worthwhile.
A steady ground attack and four defensive turnovers proved to be the difference, as Meadville picked up a Region 5 win over the Owls Friday night at Parkway Field.
Both teams run the same offensive set, a Wing-T formation, but it was never difficult to tell the two apart. The Bulldogs ran with much success, including 220 yards on the ground by halftime, while Bradford struggled to find a rhythm.
It was exactly the type of victory any head coach would be happy with.
“It was a good trip over to Bradford. You never know what to expect after a long bus ride,” Meadville head coach Mike Feleppa said. “The kids came out and performed, and they executed well.”
Unlike a week ago when Bulldogs’ running back Ryan Harkness ran for 311 yards, Friday night’s success on offense was spread around, highlighted by a 105-yard, two-touchdown performance from Nathan Martin, and a two-touchdown night from Caleb Bish.
Martin was the first to crack the end zone, scoring on a nifty 13-yard run to make it 7-0 late in the first quarter. The score came after both teams traded fumbles to start the game following long drives.
In the second quarter, Martin found paydirt once again, this time via a 30-yard run that was nicer than the first, putting the Bulldogs up 14-0 midway thought the second quarter.
After the Meadville defense forced a 3-and-out, the Bulldogs’ offense was back in business, piecing together a 10-play, 71-yard drive, capped off by a bulldozing 1-yard touchdown run from Bish to give Meadville a commanding 21-0 halftime lead.
“The kids executed the game plan on both sides of the ball,” Feleppa said.
Harkness had already rushed for 68 yards at halftime, but sustained a foot injury late in the half that kept him on the sidelines the rest of the game.
The Bulldogs didn’t miss a beat, and continued to control the game.
In the second half, both teams traded possession before the Owls finally got something going.
A long drive was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Tim Shuster to cut the Meadville lead to 21-6 on the final play of the third quarter.
But the Bulldogs put the game away in the fourth, this time on the defensive side of the ball.
Combined, Meadville collected three interceptions, two coming in the second half, both from Martin.
“The secondary played well,” Feleppa said. “Three interceptions is big for us. Up front, they weren’t able to move the ball consistently, and we were able to shut them down. The defense did a great job.”
The Bulldogs put the finishing touches on the game when Bish scored from 1-yard out to cap a 12-play drive with 2:53 remaining in the game to push Meadville's lead to 28-6.
Martin had a big game, rushing for 105 yards on 13 carries, and snagging a pair of picks. Derek Niemann rushed for 76 yards on 13 carries in the win.
The victory makes it two in a row for the Bulldogs, something they haven’t done all season.
Now, Meadville looks to continue its late-season success next week against DuBois.
But first, it’s time to enjoy the win.
“We’re happy,” Feleppa said. “It feels great to get back-to-back wins. It feels great to get any win. We just have to keep the ball rolling against DuBois now.”
The Bulldogs certainly made the long trip to Bradford worthwhile.
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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