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Photo by Jeff Bobin

Ethen Knox was limited to 97 yards on 19 carries by the Meadville defense.

Unbeaten Meadville wears down Oilers, 35-0

The cheering on the Oil City side ended quickly after it began.

Ethan Knox went around the left side for 40 yards to the Meadville 20 on the Oilers’ first play of the game.

But a couple of penalties sent them back and before the crowd knew it, the Oilers’ one and only threat of the goal was over. So was the cheering, at least on offense.

Actually, for about a half to three quarters, Oil City played pretty well on defense – as evidenced by the 14-0 halftime score. Unlike other teams, the Oilers didn’t allow any long gainers to Meadville’s explosive backs, Khalon Simmons and Brady Walker. But that all changed as the game wore on into the second half.

The 6-0 Bulldogs – who won the region last season with a predominantly junior team – answered the Oilers’ abortive drive with a march that did result in a touchdown, despite shooting themselves in the foot a few times.

That would be a 4-yard run by Simmons, his first of four touchdowns on the night.

It would stay 7-0 until 1:22 remained in the half when Simmons scored again on a 10-yard run.

The turning point was probably Simmons’ third TD – a fumble in the backfield that Mr. Magician turned into a 44-yard touchdown. Even though some are giving him credit with a 44-yard run, it was a fumble. (Radio Joe Lodanosky described the play to the Clarion University sports information director who declared “fumble.”)

That came at the 6:34 mark in the third quarter.

Simmons added a 2-yard TD in the fourth and finished with 173 yards on 25 carries. Walker, the senior who transferred from Conneaut last season, added 120 yards on 17 tries. Their offense, some of which came out of the wildcat, was enough to offset eight whistles for 80 yards.

Meanwhile, the Oilers could get nothing going offensively, and Knox, coming off four straight 400-yard games rushing, finished with 97 yards on 19 carries – only the second time in his 14-game career that he’s been under 100.

For one thing, Knox’s big, beefy line suddenly is not quite so big and beefy with the loss of junior James O’Dell. That meant a more svelte Brayden McFetridge was playing guard. 

For another thing, the Oilers did try to mix things up somewhat on offense. Knox was working the wildcat. So was Carl Chelton, who probably got some unexpected (to Meadville) carries.

Only three passes were attempted during the game, and both by Knox. 

At any rate, the Oilers, who dropped to 4-2, will swing back into action Friday, making the long trip to Hollidaysburg in the central part of the state. Oil City and the Golden Tigers met two or three times in the 5A playoffs in recent years. They are coached by Homer DeLattre, who used to run the show at Corry. Hollidaysburg trounced Bellefonte this week for its first win of the season. 

Also, remember that Meadville is 4A –only one of two 4A teams in District 10, the other being Corry.

Oil City and all the other teams in Region 4 are 3A.