WARREN, Pa. – Three touchdowns in the final 35 seconds of the first half broke the game wide open as Meadville rolled to a 76-7 win at Warren to claim the Region 4 title outright.
Leading 28-0 with 43 seconds left in the half, Meadville (8-1 overall, 5-0 Region 4) took over at its own 37. Gavin Longstreth connected with Khalon Simmons for a 63-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 34-0.
Rewatch the game:
As Cayden Wright waited to field the ball off the bounce on the ensuing kickoff, the ball just died at the 25 and Brighton Anderson was able to pounce on it for the Bulldogs. A pass interference penalty against Warren (5-4, 3-2) put the ball at the 13, and Simmons took it in on the next play for a 41-0 advantage.
Warren took over on its own 34 and lined up to take a knee to head into the half. Quarterback Eric Dippold didn’t get a clean exchange on the snap and Meadville’s Ruric Douglas picked up the ball then took off and didn’t stop until he reached the end zone.
That third score gave Meadville a 48-0 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs scored at least two touchdowns in each quarter and wasted little time getting started. After forcing a 3-and-out on the opening possession, Simmons fielded the punt at the 45, made one cut to the sideline, and outran the coverage to the end zone.
A couple of quick passes had the Dragons on the move, but Anderson jumped the route on 2nd-and-6 and picked off Dippold to give the ball back to the Bulldogs at the Warren 20.
Brady Walker took the ball down to the 1, and Simmons did the rest from there to put Meadville ahead, 14-0.
A 32-yard pass from Dippold to Tommy Nyquist gave the Dragons a 1st-and-goal from the 10. The Bulldogs’ defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs.
Simmons capped the ensuing possession with a 27-yard touchdown run to give Meadville a 21-0 lead.
Amarri Lewis scored on a 15-yard run midway through the second quarter to extend the lead to 28-0, which is where it would stay until the final 35 seconds of the half.
Meadville didn’t take its foot off the gas in the second half. A 53-yard pass from Simmons to Anderson set Meadville up at the Warren 5. Walker punched it in on the next play to make it 55-0.
Simmons nearly had his second punt return touchdown of the game but was stopped at the 1-yard-line on a 54-yard return. He took it in two plays later for his sixth touchdown of the game.
Jordan Lawrence opened the fourth quarter with a 45-yard touchdown run, and Jacoby Thompson scored on a 17-yard pick-six on Warren’s next play from scrimmage for the final Bulldogs points of the evening.
Ethan Senz scored on a 21-yard run with just over eight minutes to play to get Warren on the board.
Simmons finished with 212 total yards (79 rushing, 63 receiving, and 70 passing) and six touchdowns. Walker had 10 carries for 97 yards and a score. Lewis had three carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Longstreth’s lone completion was the 63-yard TD pass.
For Warren, Nyquist had 12 carries for 29 yards and eight receptions for 91 yards. Senz had six carries for 61 yards and a score. Dippold was 14-26 for 140 yards and four interceptions.