The rivalry between Meyersdale and Blacklick Valley stretches back six decades, to when the Red Raiders first began playing against Nanty Glo in 1958.

Most of the games through the years have been closely contested, and there is plenty at stake for both teams in Friday’s WestPAC meeting in Meyersdale.

“It’s probably a little known fact that this is one of our longest rivalries,” Meyersdale coach Chris Schrock said. “And, it’s almost always been a good game. It’s a game we really look forward to because we know it’s going to be smashmouth football, and it gives us an idea of what we’re made of.”

Added Blacklick coach Bill Zamboni: “When I graduated in 1966, we had Meyersdale on our schedule.”

With just two games remaining in the regular season, both squads are aiming for postseason berths.

The Vikings (4-3), who notched their second straight victory last week - a 48-26 triumph over Shade - edged closer to a District 6 playoff berth. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders (3-4) shut out Rockwood 28-0 to keep their District 5-A playoff dreams alive.

“We’re taking the approach that it’s a do-or-die situation for us,” Schrock said, noting that his team’s regular-season finale is at Windber on Oct. 24. “The boys and I have talked and we’d like to force the issue right now and get it out of the way and earn that playoff spot this week. We keep telling the kids we don’t want to get down to the last week. We’re hoping to use last week’s win over Rockwood as a springboard to keep us on track. This is a very important game.”

“They are a very good team,” Zamboni said. “They need a win to make the district playoffs, and we need a win to get a good seeding in our district playoffs.”

Against Shade, Blacklick Valley’s Ted Worthington rushed for 169 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns while Taylor Holby added 131 yards on 17 carries, ran for a score and caught three more touchdown passes from Victor Manda.

“Our strength is our two backs,” Zamboni said. “And Meyersdale has that No. 3 (Matt Donaldson), so there will be three excellent backs out there on Friday. Manda is coming on and has shown a lot of poise for a sophomore.”

Holby leads the team with 520 rushing yards while Worthington has 421. Manda is 24 of 48 passing.

Holby has 12 receptions for 186 yards and Worthington has six for 167.

“Blacklick Valley is a good team, and obviously they have a big-power offense which centers around their running backs Worthington and Holby,” Schrock said. “We have to be able to slow down their running game, but we also have to be able to neutralize them as receivers. Coach Zamboni has some other good players, but those two are his go-to guys.”

Meyersdale, 2-2 at home this season, got touchdown runs from Tanner Smith and Ben Lohr while Spencer Cross returned a fumble for another score and Matt Donaldson caught a scoring pass from Matt Bittner against the Rockets.

In their past 10 meetings, the Red Raiders hold a 7-3 edge, but the Vikings were 22-14 winners over Meyersdale in 2007. Both teams lost in the first round of their respective playoffs last season.

“I think that both teams are pretty equal, and that really it’s going to come down to the team that is the luckiest, which is the one that gets the better breaks,” Zamboni said.

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