ROLLING BROWN-OUT: Seneca Valley Rolls up 555 yards in Thursday night thriller
Written by: Josh Funk on Friday, September 5th, 2008
HARMONY, Pa. – After rushing for just 63 yards in a narrow 17-14 defeat to Norwin in Week 1, Seneca Valley head coach Ron Butschele might have wanted a little more balance, though postgame, he didn’t indicate that.
“I think we only ran the ball maybe 10 times last week,” Butschele said.
Seneca Valley is known for its West-Coast style aerial attack, but in Thursday’s inaugural 2008 FSN showcase game, the Raiders (1-1) showcased a pretty potent ground attack.
Blue-chip quarterback CJ Brown and rugged running back Tyler Mack combined to pace an SV ground attack which turned out 43 rushing plays for 245 yards, en route to a thrilling 38-33 victory over District 10 representative Erie McDowell (1-1), which plays an independent schedule.
“What we can take from this, and I told the kids this, was that they didn’t quit,” first-year McDowell coach Mark Soboleski said.
Early on, the game had the makings of an all-out assault on the Nextier Stadium scoreboard lights. McDowell took its first play from scrimmage 72 yards to the end zone, courtesy of an untouched Dejon Young, a junior speedster.
Seneca Valley roared right back. Brown’s one-yard sneak gave the Raiders a 7-6 lead, but McDowell capitalized once more, and on its third play from scrimmage, fullback Alex Schmude went 71 yards up the gut for a 12-7 Trojan lead following the missed two-point conversion.
Brown scored the next two touchdowns for Seneca Valley to build the Raider lead to 21-12, and with 3:37 to go before halftime, Mack scored on a three-yard run to buoy SV’s lead to a commanding 28-12.
McDowell got a chance to attempt a field goal at the end of the first half courtesy of a questionable pass interference penalty, but the kick sailed wide left as time expired.
The missed field goal was just one of many missed opportunities for the Trojans in the first half, which dropped two sure completions, missed an extra point and a two-point conversion, and sputtered after gaining 137 yards on their first three plays from scrimmage.
And, when the steady Brown (24-of-34, 310 yards, TD, INT) hooked up with Matt Plautz (10 rec., 181 yards, TD) from nine yards out to cap a 14-play, 80-yard, 5:38 drive to open the second half, the Raiders held a commanding 35-12 lead.
“I wasn’t feeling good at 35-12,” Butschele said. “I knew they (McDowell) had a charge left in them, and at some point they’d get a surge.”
Boy, did McDowell get a surge. Set up by a Zach Greenawalt kickoff return to the Raider 40, McDowell took just four plays to reach the end zone, which Schumde (9 rush, 116 yards, 2 TD) capped with a six-yard plunge up the gut.
SV responded with a 27-yard field goal to widen the margin to 38-19, but McDowell embarked on a five-play, 62-yard drive, highlighted by a Fenton (3-of-8, 155 yards, TD; 11 rush, 20 yards) 41-yard pass-and-catch to Mike Bizzaro (2 rec., 71 yards). Young (3 rush, 74 yards, 2 TD) finished the drive with a 5-yard scoring run.
McDowell appeared to get its biggest break when it blocked a Seneca Valley punt and set up shop at the Raider 29. But Schmude fumbled the ball away two plays later, and after Mack, Brown, and Evan Hetzel (2 rush, 2 yards; 9 rec., 88 yards), gouged 53 rushing yards, Brown attempted his only pass of the drive, which was intercepted by McDowell.
Two plays later, the Trojans were celebrating wildly as Alex Orzechowski hauled in a Fenton pass and took it 84 yards to the end zone, slicing the Raider lead to 38-33. McDowell missed the ensuing two-point conversion.
SV killed the remaining 6:12 to preserve the “W,” which, for a time, appeared anything but certain.
In addition to the 310 passing yards, Brown added 77 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 19 keepers. Dustin Anewalt added two catches for 27 yards for SV, which rolled up an astounding 555 yards of offense and 27 first downs.
Zach Stano chipped in for four rushes for 16 yards for McDowell, which was outrushed by Seneca Valley 245-229. McDowell finished with 384 yards of offense and 11 first downs.
Soboleski, though, had a positive feeling at the end of this barn-burner.
“We can play with these (WPIAL) guys,” he said.
NOTE: Through the first two weeks of the 2008 season, Seneca Valley quarterback CJ Brown has completed an astounding 45 passes in 72 attempts for 611 yards. Brown’s top target, Matt Plautz, has hauled in 18 passes for 322 yards, an average of 17.9 yards per reception.
Follow WesternPAFootball.com on Twitter @WPAFootball