Coach: Ray Collins (1st season)
2013 overall record: 3-7
2013 region record: 2-4 (fifth)
2013 playoff results: Did not qualify for the District 10 Class AAA playoffs.
Top players lost: Josh Trimble, Alec Lloyd, Jake Jakeman, Andrew Bosco, Pat Adams, Caleb Schweter, Ryan Harkness, Louis Crawford
Top returning players: Caleb Bish, Nathan Martin, Jimmy Silvis, Tanner Frye, Jaromir Edwards, Hayden Potts, Bryce North
Assistant coaches: Mike Goss, John Amato, Don Erdley, Paul Roiz, Jerry Davis, David Sundburg, Jason Stearns
Outlook: Meadville has a lot of work to do in order to rebuild its offense. The Bulldogs have a new head coach in Ray Collins and only four returning starters on offense. Tanner Frey took over as quarterback last fall and is back after throwing for 205 yards and one touchdown as a sophomore. He also ran for one touchdown and is joined in the backfield by senior Nathan Martin, who ran for 733 yards and seven touchdowns on 127 carries. Fullback Caleb Bish returns after rushing for 366 yards and six touchdowns, but the Bulldogs will need to fill in the rest of the skill positions. Meadville had five players catch passes last fall and Martin is the only player back in the group. Jimmy Silvis returns as an offensive lineman, but he is the only one. The Bulldogs will need to find almost an entirely new line, including a tight end. Meadville also needs new wide receivers and could use depth in the backfield to help Martin and Bish. Seniors Jaromir Edwards and Hayden Potters are candidates to start at wide receiver and Bryce North could start on the line. Meadville also has several younger players that could step up and start, including Nick Klippel, Danny Bell, Tyler Parady, Logan Newhard, Tanner Collins, Luke Sherrod on the line as well as Joe Coffee, Darius Edwards, Journey Brown and Antonio Ferraro in the backfield. Kurt Mumau will likely step in as the backup quarterback.
The Meadville defense is in the same situation as the offense and needs to rebuild immediately. The Bulldogs graduated their top five tacklers and seven of the top eight. The entire defensive line graduated and Meadville also has holes at linebacker and defensive back. Silvis could start on the defensive line, while Bish is a standout linebacker and Martin returns to the secondary. Martin had 39 tackles and three interceptions, while Bish finished with 29 tackles as a sophomore. Frye, Pottes and Jaromir Edwards could contribute at defensive back, while North will contend for playing time on the defensive line. Meadville will need to fill in gaps with younger players in camp. Klippel, Bell, Parady, Collins and Sherrod will be in the mix on the defensive line, and Newhard and Ferraro will battle for time at linebacker. Corree, Mumau, Brown and Darius Edwards have speed and could build depth in the secondary. The Bulldogs run a 4-4 defense and establishing physical play by the linebackers will be important this season. Meadville has several highflying offenses to deal with in Region 5 and won’t have much time to shore up the defense.
Meadville dealt with some adversity last fall as standout running back Ryan Harkness missed time with an injury. With new players on offense, the Bulldogs finished with three wins in 2013. Ray Collins was an assistant coach Meadville over the past four seasons and was the head coach at Conneaut Lake from 2002-07. Collins has plenty of experience and knows what he has with the current Bulldogs. Meadville is set at most of the skill positions with a returning quarterback and several rushers, but the offensive and defensive lines are big question marks. The Bulldogs are also inexperienced on defense and will need to develop chemistry right away this season. Meadville has to travel in the first week of the season with a tough game at Fairview before staying home with a four-game run of DuBois, Bradford, Central Tech and Strong Vincent. The first half of the season sets up a rivalry showdown at Conneaut before important region games against Warren and Oil City. Meadville doesn’t have a lot of time to gain the experience needed to turn things around right away. The Bulldogs need the younger and new players to step up and fill needs right away in order to win more than three games this fall.
29 at Fairview 7
5 DuBois* 7
12 Bradford* 7
20 at Central Tech 7
26 Strong Vincent 7
3 at Conneaut* 7
10 Warren 7
17 Oil City* 7
24 East 7
31 at Franklin* 7
*Region 5 game
Up next: Mercer