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Where There’s A Will There’s A Way: Field Goal Sends Raiders to Playoffs

Written by: on Saturday, October 24th, 2009

GIBSONIA, Pa. – 12:00, Separated Pine-Richland from an 11 straight trip to the WPIAL Postseason, as the scoreboard at Pine-Richland High School had became a countdown to the end of Seneca Valley’s 2009 season.

That clock would eventually run out, however it was what happened in those twelve minutes of play, could be considered one of the best comebacks in recent memory.

It was a playoff like atmosphere Friday night in Gibsonia, and for good reason. With both teams 2009 campaign in jeopardy and both still in control of their own destiny, a victory would punch their ticket to the “Highway to Heinz”, but a loss would have the season end after next week’s final regular season game.

For the first three quarters, it looked anything but good for the black and blue of Seneca Valley after digging them at 17 point deficit going into the half.

In that first half it didn’t take long for Pine-Richland to get things started, as Justin Williams took the second snap from scrimmage and went 90-yards for the game’s first score.

The Rams would add to that lead, thanks to great play by their defense who forced the Raiders to punt 7 times in the first half. Williams rushed for 138 yards on 23 carries on the night, and was key in all of the Rams scores.

The third quarter seemed to hold the same story as the entire first half did. Pine-Richland controlled the ball and contained the Seneca Valley offense, which wasn’t able to put anything together to that point.

With the first snap of the fourth quarter something lit a fire under Seneca Valley, call it desperation, pride, or determination, whichever it was the Raiders wanted their first playoff berth in.

Trailing 17-0, the Raiders began to mount what seemed like at the time to be an impossible comeback. That first snap would lead to the Raiders first score when quarterback Donny Holl, which cut the lead to 17-7.

Seneca Valley was able to hold the Rams and get the ball back, and were lead down field by Holl this time not with his arm but his feet. The drive ended with at 43-yard field goal by Will Hugo to make it 17-10.

The Raiders would go for the onside kick and after the perfect bounce, SV was back in business.

After driving down the field and punching in another score, the Raiders attempt at the two point conversion and the lead failed, still putting behind by one 17-16.

Pine-Richland wasn’t able to run out the clock and was forced to punt, but the Rams defense held strong which made for a tough call for first year head coach Don Holl, about sending his kicker to attempt a school record 52-yard field goal.

Will Hugo drilled it with room to spare, with just 30 second left on the clocking giving the Raiders the win and a ticket to the WPIAL Playoffs.

That huge fourth-quarter comeback enabled visiting Seneca Valley (4-4, 2-2) into sole possession of fourth place in the Northern Six Conference after the thrilling, 19-17 win.

2009 will be the first time in 10 years that Pine-Richland (3-5, 1-3) isn’t in the postseason. The Rams will end there season, next week at Shaler (7-1).

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