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.
BOYS BASKETBALL: McElhinny gets first Bulldogs win in rout
Asked how important it was getting the team’s first win of the season, Meadville’s head boys basketball coach Mark McElhinny blurted out the answer before the question was even finished.
“Huge,” he said.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers just too much for Meadville
How defending Region 3 champion Saegertown will fare during the 2013-14 season is still a bit of a mystery.
But if Saturday afternoon is any indication of the effort the Lady Panthers are going to put into the season, they very well could be a title contender again.
BOYS BASKETBALL: East outlasts MASH to reach final
Unfortunately, Mark McElhinny’s biggest fear entering his debut as Meadville’s head basketball coach surfaced:
The Bulldogs’ youth factor came into play — at the worst time, in the fourth quarter.
Committing eight turnovers and showing fatique signs in the final period, the youth-laden Bulldogs were outscored 22-17 as Erie East spoiled McElihinny’s first game on the MASH bench with a 65-60 win in the opening round of the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday night at the House of Thrills.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Falcons move into title game
A youth-laden Conneaut boys basketball team had a well-seasoned Central Tech squad right within striking distance after one half. But the Falcons spread their wings in half No. 2 to claim a 56-34 victory over the Eagles during Friday night’s action at the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Slow start dooms Lady Bulldogs
It seems that the Meadville girls basketball team needed a couple quarters to get into the groove for the 2013-14 season.
In the second half of Friday night’s game at the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament at Meadville High School, the Lady Bulldogs actually beat Central Tech 21-14.
GIRLS BASKETBALL: Seneca too tough for Panthers
There was no wading into the pool for the sophomore-stocked Saegertown girls basketball team.
The young Lady Panthers opened the season against a bigger, more experienced opponent. And it showed on the scoreboard, as Seneca downed the Panthers 59-35 in the opening game of the Sertoma Tipoff Tournament on Friday at Meadville High School’s House of Thrills.
COLLEGE WRESTLING: Fighting Scots just miss out on upset of Iowa
It was nearly 50 minutes prior to the start of the Edinboro versus Iowa NCAA Division I wrestling match on Thursday night and the stands at McComb Fieldhouse were already nearly full.
That crowd, however, later announced at a whopping 3,152, was relatively quiet in the early going. Then Edinboro All-American A.J. Schopp took the mat. Just two minutes in that crowd turned deafening.
NBA: Irving, Cavaliers snap Nuggets' win streak 98-88
Kyrie Irving scored 23 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers snapped the Denver Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak with a 98-88 victory Wednesday night.
NHL: Crosby ties it in 3rd, wins it in OT for Pens
Sidney Crosby scored the tying goal in the third period and then won it with a brilliant individual effort 3:44 into overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 3-2 on Tuesday night.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No rest for Buckeyes, who face another must-win game
There was a time when Ohio State players could look forward to a break after trading bruises with archrival Michigan.
Not anymore. At least, not this year.
- More Sports Headlines
- BOYS BASKETBALL: McElhinny gets first Bulldogs win in rout