Landon Beck

Meadville’s Landon Beck tries to run around a Franklin defender during a Region 7 football game on Friday at Bender Field. Beck had a big night, accounting for four touchdowns, and the ’Dogs’ defense had six interceptions as Meadville cruised past the Knights 56-13.

Being a quarterback for the run-heavy Meadville offense means that you hand the ball off a lot and seldom get the recognition of, say, a 200-yard rusher out of the backfield. 

Friday night was different. Bulldogs quarterback Landon Beck had an eye-catching effort during his team’s 56-13 win over Region 7 opponent Franklin, passing for three touchdowns and carrying in a fourth. 

And yet, what’s the first thing that Beck wanted to talk about after the game? The defense; a side of the ball that he doesn’t even play. 

“You know what, that was a big time defensive effort,” Beck said. “(Franklin’s) Ian Haynes is a great quarterback. He has a few offers to go some places (for college). But we had to shut him down because he can blow a game wide open. But we played fantastic defense.”

Very well, then. Let’s talk about the ‘D’. 

Haynes indeed was a threatening figure, coming into last night’s game as District 10’s leader in passing attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns; and had done it all while throwing just three picks on the year. 

It’s likely that Haynes will still be leading the district in those first four statistics. After all, he completed 26 of 60 attempts for 439 yards and two TDs.

But his interceptions won’t look so pretty after the Bulldogs picked him off six times last night. 

“You know, I’ve seen him accomplish a lot during his career,” said Franklin head coach Tom Haynes, who is also Ian’s father. “I’ve seen him throw eight touchdowns in a game. And now I’ve seen him throw six interceptions in a game. 

“I told him, ‘You’ve broken every other passing record at Franklin, you might as well get that one too.” 

Drew Stewart had two picks on Haynes for Meadville. Sam Burchard, Tamaj Lyons-Glover, Winstin Heagy and Tommy Pollard each had one interception. 

Pollard’s was probably the highlight of the night. The big linebacker got in front of a quick pass by Haynes, snatched it away, and started chugging for the end zone. 

A few Franklin players met him just in front of it. But soon, a couple of Pollard’s teammates got behind him for a big push across the goal line, putting the Bulldogs up 42-7 late in the third quarter. 

“For Tommy Pollard to step in front of a slant route and take in back for a touchdown,” said Meadville head coach Ray Collins, “I can’t even begin to tell you how excited we are for him, for the defense, for this team.

“He got a little help from his teammates. He was held up at the half-yard line. But then I just saw a sea of black helmets attack him and finish that off. That’s just the fun that these kids play with every Friday night.”

Meadville’s defense also did a bang-up job on the run, too, holding the Knights to a net loss of 33 yards for the game. 

So that’s the defense. 

As for the offense, well, there’s a lot of credit to go around, as the Bulldogs put up two touchdowns per quarter. 

Aryan Cotterman led the rushing attack with 231 yards on just 13 carries and scored on a 69-yard run in the fourth quarter. 

Hayden Parks followed with 90 yards on just six carries. And Chandler Edwards had 74 yards on five carries, bringing in the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of the game on a 37-yarder in the first quarter.

Then we come to Beck. As mentioned, he completed 3 of 5 passes. All three completions went to Parks. And all three ended up in the end zone. 

The connection went 55 yards in the first quarter, 41 yards in the second and 63 yards in the third. 

Beck also got flushed out of the pocket and ended up keeping the ball 54 yards for a rushing touchdown in the second quarter. 

“Our brand of football is obviously smash-mouth, run-the-football,” said Collins. “That’s what we do and that’s what we do best. 

“But you should never overlook the fact that we can throw the football when we have to, and sometimes we we want to. And we saw a couple things that Franklin was doing defensively to stop the run that was putting them in conflict with our play-action pass. So, the next play was to deliver a deep strike to Parks. And it worked three times tonight.

“So I can’t say enough about what a great game Landon Beck put together.” 

Khalon Simmons put the final points on the board for Meadville with a clever cut-back for 21-yard score in the fourth quarter. 

Meadville, despite four fumbles, finished the night with 682 total yards of offense, including 523 on the ground.

The Bulldogs improved to 5-1 overall with the win and 4-0 in Region 7. Next week they will take on Oil City, which is also unbeaten in the region. 

Franklin slipped to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in Region 7.  

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