WEXFORD — Seneca Valley's offense appeared to have set the tone by marching to a touchdown on the first drive of the game.
Instead, the unit proved to be a one-hit wonder Friday night against North Allegheny.
Following quarterback Gabe Lawson's two-yard scoring run, which capped a 13-play, 69-yard drive, the Raiders fell into a funk. They hit the offensive doldrums in the second half, when they lost a combined seven yards on seven drives as NA's 10-6 halftime lead held up at Newman Stadium.
“We sputtered on offense tonight. I'm the offensive play-caller, so that's on my shoulders,” said SV coach Ron Butschle.
Lawson was sacked five times by the Tigers. The dual-threat signal caller was held to 70 yards passing and minus-12 on the ground.
“We found ourselves in a lot of 2nd-and-long, 3rd-and-long situations,” said Butschle. “It's tough to come up with a play when you're in that position.”
The struggles on offense put the Raider defense in some tough spots, but it responded by forcing four turnovers, including three in the second half.
Saige Ley recovered a fumble late in the third quarter. Ryan Kristobak did so early in the fourth and Conor Hayes intercepted a pass with eight minutes left in the game.
“I feel bad for the defense,” said Butschle. “Their backs were against the wall the entire second half and they responded.”
The Raiders had started second-half drives at their own 20, 3, 12 and 22-yard line. But Hayes' theft set SV up at the Tiger 27.
Desperately looking for a big play, the Raiders turned to a halfback pass. But Matt Stanger's throw was intercepted at NA's 2 by Joey Porter Jr. The Raiders would never again get close to NA's side of the 50. Their final possession began at their own 6 thanks to a great punt from Isaac West with under three minutes left.
“I'm disappointed in the offense's performance tonight,” said NA coach Art Walker Jr., “but our defense and special teams bailed us out. It was a team win.
“We had some opportunities, but give credit to Seneca's defense,” said NA coach Art Walker Jr. “They made some plays, but so did we on defense.”
The Raiders (4-2, 3-2) had a chance to add on early, but a 37-yard field goal attempt from Seth Winters was blocked late in the first quarter. The kicker earlier had missed the extra-point attempt following Lawson's touchdown.
The Raiders' defense stymied the Tigers in the first quarter. A three-and-out was followed by Josh McLean's interception of a Ben Petschke pass late in the period.
But the Tigers (6-0, 5-0) found momentum on their third drive. A 16-yard run and 13-yard reception by Ben Maenza helped set up West's 20-yard field goal that cut SV's lead to 6-3.
Junior wide receiver Luke Colella then hauled in a 41-yard pass from Petschke on NA's next drive. The play put the ball at SV's 3 and backup quarterback Joey Colella scored two plays later.
Maenza, who led NA with over 600 yards rushing entering the game, was held to just 39 yards on 15 carries.
The Raiders host Hempfield Friday.
Seneca Valley 6 0 0 0 — 6
North Allegheny 0 10 0 0 — 10
SV — Gabe Lawson 2 run (kick failed), 5:28
NA — Isaac West 20 field goal, 6:52
NA — Joey Colella 1 run (West kick), 1:47
Rushing:Seneca Valley, Matt Stanger 16-43, Gabe Lawson 13-(-12), Evan Smith 1-2, Jake Mineweaser 1-5. North Allegheny, Joey Colella 5-8, Luke Colella 5-49, Ben Maenza 15-39, Joey Porter Jr. 2-5, Sam Gelosh 2-3, Ben Petschke 2-0, Percise Colon 1-1.
Passing:Seneca Valley, Gabe Lawson 10-17-70-1, Matt Stanger 0-1-0-1. North Allegheny, Ben Petschke 5-10-65-1, Joey Colella 1-1-5-0.
Receiving:Seneca Valley, Matt Stanger 3-10, Luke Smith 4-29, Josh McLean 2-29, Jonathon Seipp 1-4. North Allegheny, Amosis Porter 1-4, Ben Maenza 2-11, Luke Colella 3-55.