MEADVILLE, Pa. – The Meadville Bulldogs find themselves in a familiar position to where they were a year ago.
Win a District 10 title in Class 4A, beat Juniata to get to the PIAA quarterfinals.
Coming off a 27-14 win over the Indians, the Bulldogs will now meet a team from the opposite end of the state in Allentown Central Catholic.
The Vikings avenged a loss to Jersey Shore in the PIAA playoffs a year ago (the same Jersey Shore team that went on to beat Meadville) with a 38-31 overtime win last week.
Meadville (12-1) will be back in familiar territory at Bald Eagle High School, the same spot where they beat Juanita. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday.
Since a 14-13 overtime loss to Bethlehem Catholic to close the regular season, the Vikings 8-5 have won three straight to get to this point, including a 42-7 win over Bangor followed up by a 14-3 revenge game win against BC.
Meadville got off to a slow start against Juniata, rallying from a 14-6 halftime deficit for a 27-14 win, capped by a Khalon Simmons 65-yard touchdown run.
Meadville has outscored its opponents 639-130 this season, including a 40-12 win over USO in their PIAA opener.
Offensively it’s been all about the offensive line and backs Khalon Simmons and Brady Walker. Simmons, who eclipsed 200 yards in the win over Juniata, now has 2,276 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground, an average of 12.0 yards per carry. He has also thrown for 491 yards and five touchdowns, with Nic Williams (11 receptions, 344 yards, 3 TDs) his top target.
Walker, meanwhile, has rushed for 1,610 yards on 8.6 yards per carry, scoring 21 touchdowns.
Walker is also the leading tackler with 90 (15 for loss) and 11 sacks. Justice Esser (14 tackles for loss) and Brighton Anderson (10 TFL). Anderson also has seven interceptions and Nic Williams four for a defense that has 21 total interceptions on the season.
In the win over Jersey Shore, Caiden Shaffer rushed for 94 yards and three touchdowns for Allentown Central, including the game-winning 8-yarder in overtime.
Also in that game for the Vikings, quarterback Tamlin Ferguson threw for 251 yards, 116 of which went to Griffin Patridge. Jareel Calhoun, who had 37 yards receiving in the win, has 75 receptions this season.
Defensively, the Vikings have yielded 227 points through 13 games. Ethan Hosak is their top tackler with 112 stops on the season.
The Vikings have yielded 14 points or fewer in eight games this season.
The winner of this game will meet the winner of the Aliquippa-Central Valley WPIAL championship in the PIAA quarterfinals next week.
Meadville has never advanced to the PIAA semifinals in football.