Elton John famously sang ‘Saturday night’s alright for fighting.’ Well, it’s also good for a Region 8 football rivalry, as Warren and Meadville will do battle from War Memorial Field at 6 p.m.
This is a game that has produced its fair share of classics over the years.
The 2004 version, which occurred before some members of the current team were born, featured a 52-45 Warren win at Bender Field in six overtimes, tied for the longest game in Pennsylvania high school history.
More recently, the Dragons won a thriller in 2014, 79-78 at WNF, a game that saw them overcome 323 yards on the ground from then-sophomore Journey Brown, now a star running back at Penn State.
And in 2018, there was the ‘Miracle In Meadville,’ when the Dragons snatched victory away from the Bulldogs in thrilling fashion in the final two minutes, 21-20 at Bender. The freshmen and sophomores on that team are now juniors and seniors, and certainly remember that game well.
And those are just a few of the great games these teams have played.
The last two meetings have been one-sided, once in the regular season and once in the playoffs a year ago, although the Dragons put a scare into the heavily favored Bulldogs in the D-10 semifinals before Meadville pulled away late in the second half.
The Dragons (1-2) are coming off a shutout loss at Oil City, which has won 19-straight regular season games in District 10.
This is a team, however, that has a lot of experience, as well as character, and one that will be tested by what is yet another vaunted Meadville (3-1) rushing attack.
The Bulldogs have been known for their prolific running backs over the years, and 2020 is no different. Khalon Simmons is that man this season, and he has rushed for 612 yards and 10 touchdowns in four games. Only two backs are ahead of him on the D-10 rushing list, one of whom the Dragons faced last week in OC’s Cam Russell.
Tamoj Lyons-Glover (356 yards rushing) and Griffin Buzzell (262) will also see their fair share of action as the Bulldogs almost all of their damage on the ground.
James Swanson (302 yards rushing, 110 receiving) leads the Dragon offensive attack, as well as fellow seniors Micah Passmore and Alex Borger.
They run behind an experienced offensive line, led by Brent Young, Alex Zariczny and Alex Zeigler.
Defensivley, Alan McCallister, Easton Hultberg, Blake Arnold, Kody Vega, Donovan Fiscus, Ethan Wilson, Derek McMeans, Passmore and Swanson help lead the way.
Look for the Dragon special teams, which have been a strength, to play a factor as well, led by dangerous return man and receiver Ben White.
Outside of a 38-14 loss to Oil City, the Bulldogs have been impressive in a pair of wins over Titusville, and one against Franklin, whom Warren also beat.
The first meeting came after Warren had to postponed its opener against the Bulldogs.
So, it might be a bit later than expected, but if this rivalry has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.