One down ... two more to get.
Befuddling Bradford with its three-headed rushing attack, Meadville won its second consecutive game for the first time this season and kept its District 10 playoffs hopes alive Friday night with a 42-28 victory over Bradford in Region 5 action at Bender Field.
Heading into the clash, MASH coach Mike Feleppa pretty much laid it on the line: “I think we’ve got to win out (to make the playoffs). It’s really that simple.”
Feleppa threw a little wrinkle into his game plan against the Owls. Senior tailback Trevor Martin, who entered the game with only 325 rushing yards, played a major role and was the Bulldogs’ top rusher with 155 yards on 18 carries and scored one touchdown.
Senior tailback Artrel Foster and junior fullback Ryan Harkness also had 100-yard performances. The speedy Foster gained 138 yards on 19 hauls with three touchdowns and the hard-nosed Harkness netted 115 yards on 21 totes and two TDs.
When asked if it was his initial game plan to use Martin more, Feleppa said, “No, I go with whoever has the hot hand and Trevor ran hard (tonight). Artrel and Ryan also ran hard. It’s a testament to our offensive line. They did a fantastic job blocking.”
The ’Dogs rushed for a season-high 450 yards.
It was MASH’s special teams that set up its first touchdown. After sophomore Jarrid Miller’s blocked punt, Foster went off left tackle for a four-yard touchdown run with 11:09 remaining in the first half.
Meadville’s 7-0 lead held up in the first half. It was a different story in the second half, as both the Bulldogs and Owls engaged in an offensive shootout.
Energized by 30- and 21-yard runs by Harkness and Foster, respectively, Meadville increased its lead to 14-0 on its opening possession in the third quarter as Harkness capped off the five-play, 65-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
Meadville’s 14-point lead was short-lived as Bradford quarterback Matt Yurkewicz broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run on the Owls’ opening play in the ensuing possession.
It was back-and-forth from then on.
Meadville’s special teams helped Bradford’s 28-point, second-half performance, as two touchdowns were set up by 84- and 69-yard yard kickoff returns from Justin Fishkin.
“You can’t continue to give a team 20 yards to score a touchdown,” he said. “We definitely have to fix this problem.”
After Bradford’s Aaron Fishkin scored on a one-yard plunge to cut Meadville’s lead to 35-28 with 2:28 left in the game, the Owls tried an onside kick. But it was unsuccessful, as the Bulldogs recovered.
Harkness sealed the “W” with a 26-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left in the game — joining Martin and Foster in the 100-yard club.
“The kids battled hard,” said Feleppa. “We are going to enjoy this win and then get back to work on Sunday.”
Meadville next travels to undefeated and Region 5-leading DuBois, which beat Warren 39-13 on Friday night.
’Dog Bones: MASH’s offensive linemen deserve some pub — senior Taylor Dart, junior Jake Jageman, junior Louis Crawford, junior Brad Soltys and junior Josh Trimble. ... MASH quarterback Tyler Minnis had a steady game. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 46 yards (both completions were to Foster) and rushed for 42 yards on six carries. ... Martin also shined on the defensive side with numerous tackles.
One down ... two more to get.
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