FRANKLIN — The style of game was totally different in Oil City-Meadville Part II, but the end result was the same: An Oilers victory by a small margin.
In the District 10 Class 5A football championship game, Oil City outlasted Meadville in a defensive showdown 9-7 on Friday night at Franklin High School.
The Oilers (11-0) move on to the PIAA Class 5A playoffs and will play Hollidaysburg next week at St. Francis University.
“Can’t express the feelings,” said Oil City head coach Dan York. “A lot of hard work went into it, you know football. It’s a grind.
“Just glad we got (the title).”
For Meadville (7-4), the season ends here as runner-up with a remarkable turnaround from a winless campaign in 2018.
“It was a total reversal of the script. The first time we played, the defenses on both sides took a beating from the offenses,” said Meadville head coach Ray Collins. “It was a fantastic football game.”
In the first quarter, there was not much to be had for either side. On Meadville’s fifth offensive play, quarterback Landon Beck threw a ball toward the sideline, but Dakota Cole was there to steal it for the interception. However, Oil City couldn’t do much with it, punting from the Bulldogs 37-yard line.
Early in the second quarter, Oil City drove down to the Meadville 12 to set up a Max Latona field goal, but his kick sailed wide right keeping the score at 0-0.
Meadville had an extended drive later in the quarter, but it stalled out with a fumble at the Oilers’ 9 with 3:09 to play in the half.
It turned out to be just enough time for the Oilers. Petro got things rolling with a 17-yard scamper. Holden Stahl followed with a pass over to Cole for 29 more yards. Oil City added 11 more yards to set up another kick for Latona. This time, the senior drilled the kick for the 3-0 halftime lead.
“We knew Meadville’s a tough team, a real tough team,” said York. “And we knew we had our hands full coming in here. Could’ve went either way.”
Out of the second half, the Bulldogs forced another Oilers punt, but Latona once again came up with the special teams play, pinning Meadville at its own 2-yard line.
The ‘Dogs had a 3rd-and-9 from the 3 and Beck rolled out and sent up a heave downfield. Like many times before, Hayden Parks made a play on the ball going over the stingy cornerback Cole. Cole fell and Parks stayed up to run the rest of the 97 yards for the touchdown.
“Other than one long pass, we did things right,” said York. “Kids played hard.”
Meadville carried the momentum right into the next possession drawing a three-and-out with two sacks from Griffin Buzzell and Tommy Pollard.
However, the momentum flipped on the next possession. Meadville fumbled an exchange on its own 20, giving the ball to the Oilers and they had a trick up their sleeve.
With 2:16 left in the third quarter, quarterback Holden Stahl pitched the ball to Petro. However rather than running, Petro pulled back and fired the ball to a wide open J.T. Stahlman in the end zone for the 9-7 lead.
“We had that one little break at the end there with that halfback pass. That’s what caught us,” Collins said. “They had it in their back pocket. They waited until the right time to use it and they used it.”
“Dave Skinner called it and he looked at me and said ‘What do you think about halfback pass?’” added York regarding his offensive coordinator. “I said, ‘Yeah, go ahead. Try it.’”
Meadville drove into Oilers territory again, but stalled out on a Beck scramble on fourth down. Beck tried to drive forward for the first down, but was a yard short of the line
Later in the quarter, Meadville punted on 4th-and-12 with 4:48 to play. But the Oilers made the championship drive preventing Meadville from getting the ball back. On fourth down at Meadville’s 32-yard line, Petro rumbled through the line and ran all the way to the one-yard line. From there three kneeldowns closed the game out.
“(Petro’s) a tough kid. Noah actually started five games for me as a freshman,” said York. “I think the world of Noah. Just a tough, hard-nosed kid.”
Petro ran 26 times for 119 yards and added the game-winning touchdown pass. Stahl added 41 rushing yards and 37 passing yards. Stahlman had two receptions for 25 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m happy for Oil City. I’m happy for coach York,” said Collins. “Those kids certainly undefeated, ranked fifth in the state. They’ve been playing good football.
“Our kids came out tonight and showed that they can play good football too and did
For Meadville. Parks had 49 rushing yards to add to his 97 receiving yards. Aryan Cotterman led the ground game with 66 yards. Beck finished 2 for 4 for 107 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception.
“Those seniors are the reason for the turnaround. Their attitude, their commitment, their dedication to this program, their leadership and just the way they came out every night and played ball,” Collins added. “That’s what turned us around. Our young kids, I think, really had some great role models to look up to and learn from.
“It’s all about creating that culture of winning and keeping that culture of winning going.”
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.