OIL CITY — Sometimes all it takes is a point. That one point is the difference between celebrations and disappointments. Down 33-32, Oil City head coach Dan York went for the 2-point conversion instead of the extra-point. Both he and Meadville head coach Ray Collins knew where the ball was going — to Noah Petro.
Holden Stahl pitched it right to Petro who forced his way forward for three yards and across the goal line. The Oilers took the lead for the final time in a classic football game.
On Friday night at The Oil Field, Oil City rallied late for a 34-33 win over Meadville in a big Region 7 clash that could decide the region title.
“It’s big. I told the kids. I said honestly that our last three games are going to be the hardest,” said York. “Meadville, Fort LeBoeuf and Slippery Rock are going to be hard. I just thank God we got this one.”
“That game was everything I figured it was going to be,” added Collins. “When you got two undefeated teams in the region going for the possible region championship, you know its going to be nip and tuck. You know its going to be a hard fought game.”
It took everything from Oil City to scrape past the Bulldogs. It helped that the Oilers got off to a good start.
The Oilers marched down the field and Petro rolled in from seven yards out for the 6-0 lead.
Aryan Cotterman answered with a touchdown for Meadville, but Petro responded with another to give Oil City a 14-6 lead after one.
A 44-yard run by Petro made it 20-6. He had 147 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.
“(Petro) was a fantastic, hard running back. You could tell he was hard to tackle,” said Collins. “At times throughout tonight we had a hard time bringing him down.”
The Bulldogs followed it up with an 11-play drive ending in a Landon Beck quarterback sneak to cut the halftime deficit to 20-12.
Meadville had a chance to make it closer, but a pass to Chandler Edwards was stopped four yards short of the goal line by Holden Stahl.
Early in the third quarter, Beck cut the lead to just one point with a scramble that went for 46 yards.
“The quarterback is quick on that waggle that they ran to get around the end on us,” said York.
Meadville started the fourth with the ball as well and on the first play of the fourth Beck threw the ball up to Hayden Parks, who hauled it in at the 11-yard line over a pair of Oilers.
That play set up a Beck run from three yards out to give Meadville its first lead of the game 26-20.
After an Oil City fumbled pitch, Meadville drove down to the two. But Cotterman lost the ball driving for extra yards. On the very next play, Petro made it hurt with a 98 yard sprint for a touchdown and the 26-26 tie.
Cotterman made up for the fumble immediately. He capitalized on a 23-yard rush to give Meadville the 33-26 lead with 3:40 left.
“All we could really do was score that last touchdown and kick the extra point and force them to do what they did,” Collins said.
What Oil City did was feed the back that got them here. Petro racked up 38 more yards on the final drive in what ended up being a 345-yard night with five touchdowns.
After he rumbled in from 10 yards out Oil City called a timeout before going back to the well and handing Petro the ball one last time for the lead.
“I give credit to Dan York for having that trust in his team to go for two for the win,” said Collins. “It was just a solid, all-around great football game played by both teams.
For Meadville (5-2, 4-1 Region 7), Cotterman led the way with 166 yards and two TDs.
Beck added 52 yards rushing and three scores. He also was 4-for-10 for 48 yards and a pick.
“(Beck) is just really emerging as a really dynamic quarterback right now,” said Collins.
Parks added 82 yards
Oil City (7-0, 5-0 Region 7) remains undefeated. After Petro, Stahl tallied 57 rushing yards and 40 passing yards.
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.