EDINBORO — The Meadville Bulldogs wiped away an 0-9 season in Week 1 against Mercyhurst Prep. This time, the Bulldogs needed to erase a 40-7 loss at home to Conneaut. Meadville responded with an all-around strong performance against Region 7 foe General McLane.
A bad snap on a punt gave Meadville the ball at the McLane four with just over a minute to play in a 28-28 tie. Two plays later, Chandler Edwards trotted into the end zone for the winning score.
On Friday night at Linden Field, Meadville played well in all three phases of the game to beat General McLane 35-28 in a Region 7 contest.
“We had to be firing on all cylinders. Our special teams had to be top-flight, our defense had to play very stingy and our offense had to be on the move and score points,” said Meadville head coach Ray Collins.
In the first half, it was an offensive shootout. Meadville started out with a nine-play drive that led to a Landon Beck tuck and run for a 7-0 lead.
General McLane followed by feeding its star tailback Ben Howe-Jones, who tallied a 54-yard touchdown run to tie things up.
On the first play of the second quarter, Dominic Foote sprinted in on a McLane punt and batted the ball down. After a few tries, Winstin Heagy fell on the ball for the score. The Bulldogs were up 14-7.
Howe-Jones scored for McLane on the ensuing drive to tie things up again, but the rest of the half belonged to the ’Dogs.
Aryan Cotterman broke loose for a 50-yard touchdown run to put Meadville up again midway through the
After a fourth down stop, Meadville marched down the field again and scored with 1:17 left in the half. This time it was a short run from Chandler Edwards.
At the break, Meadville had 194 rushing yards. The Lancers had 116.
In the third, the Lancers pushed back hard and wound up knotting things up at 28-28. Seven plays was all it took to get the Lancers rolling. Jared Iavarone-Campbell bulldozed in for the first score.
After a Bulldogs three-and-out, McLane tied it up when Jaxon Scrutchins found the edge and sprinted down the sideline for a 42-yard score.
“I knew General McLane was not done fighting. I mean that’s Jim Wells, holy cow. They’re going to come out and battle you,” said Collins. “It’s going to be a four-quarter, back alley brawl with General McLane.”
Both defenses buckled in for the fourth quarter. McLane got down to the Meadville 32, but the Bulldogs fended off the drive and Leehan’s incomplete pass turned the ball over on downs.
Eventually, Meadville got a little luck with a bad snap on a punt late in the game.
“The fact that we were bringing all that pressure probably had a little bit of influence on that long snapper down here at the end of the game,” said Collins.
That led to the only score of the fourth quarter with Edwards squeezing through the line and finding paydirt.
“A lot of people would say you’re crazy to give the ball to that little guy,” said Collins. “He plays with the heart of a champion. He epitomizes the attitude of that locker room.”
Edwards tallied 53 yards and scored two touchdowns in the win.
“That says we got heart and we’re family and we’re never going to give up, even when we’re down, even if we’re tied, even when they’re coming back,” said Edwards.
Cotterman led Meadville with 101 yards and a touchdown. Beck added 46 and a score.
For McLane, Howe-Jones led the ground attack with 125 yards and two touchdowns despite leaving the game early in the fourth with an injury. Iavarone-Campbell had 38 yards and a touchdown and Scrutchins had 47 and a score.
Meadville improves to 2-1 and 1-0 in Region 7. General McLane falls to 1-2 and 1-1 in region play.
“We don’t quit. Last season was really rough for us, but I feel like this year we put in the time and we’re ready,” said Foote. “We’re ready to take all of Region 7, man.”