WEXFORD — Two down, one to go.
The “Revenge Tour,” coined as such by Seneca Valley football coach Ron Butschle, is well under way for the Raiders following their stunning 31-14 upset of previously unbeaten North Allegheny in a WPIAL Class 6A semifinal Friday night at Newman Stadium.
Seneca Valley (9-3) rallied to defeat Central Catholic, 15-14, last week. The Raiders will face Pine-Richland — a 46-16 winner over Mt. Lebanon in the other semifinal — at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 at Heinz Field in the 6A title game.
Central Catholic, North Allegheny and Pine-Richland handed SV its three regular season losses.
“To get a shot at all three of them in the postseason is crazy, it's unheard of,” SV quarterback Gabe Lawson said. “Coach Butschle calls it The Revenge Tour.
“We're showing we're a different football team right now.”
Seneca Valley managed only 108 net yards of offense in its 10-6 regular season loss at NA. The Raiders rolled up 394 Friday night, including 234 on the ground.
That ground game — plus receptions of 37 and 51 yards by Jake Stebbins — enabled the Raiders to complete touchdown drives covering 75, 94 and 91 yards while taking a 24-14 lead five seconds into the final quarter.
The 31 points marked the most North Allegheny (10-1) has allowed in a game all season.
“Our coaches worked hard on game-planning for this one,” Butschle said. “We tried some different things and they worked.”
The biggest “different thing” was senior running back Jake Mineweaser. He had one carry in the regular season loss to the Tigers. He had 29 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns Friday night.
Mineweaser's 11-yard scoring run — four plays after Ryan Kristobak's interception and 19-yard return to the NA 38 — sealed the deal at 31-14 with 9:47 to play.
“Jake was forced into the lineup because of an injury to Matt (Stanger) a few weeks back,” Butschle said. “He's been playing so well ... You just can't take a guy out when he's going that good.”
The Raiders held a 17-14 lead going into the final quarter, but Stebbins' 51-yard catch down the right sideline put SV in scoring position just before the end of the third period.
Lawson found Luke Smith in the left corner of the end zone for a 12-yard TD toss on the first play of the fourth period.
“This was a one-possession game most of the way and we felt good about it,” NA coach Art Walker Jr. said. “But they were able to run the ball tonight and that's a credit to their line. Those guys played great against us.”
“This was all offensive line tonight,” Mineweaser said. “They gave me the holes. They feel comfortable with me and I sure feel comfortable with them.”
The game did not start well for the Raiders. NA's Percise Colon returned the opening kickoff 63 yards and Tiger quarterback Ben Petschke scored on an 8-yard run less than a minute into the contest.
SV answered immediately, Mineweaser scoring on a 9-yard run to cap a 75-yard drive to knot the game. Seth Winters gave the Raiders the lead they never lost with a 34-yard field goal a minute later. The three points were set up when NA's fourth-down snap sailed over the punter's head and was covered at the Tigers' 18-yard line.
“The way we answered their first score ... That shows the character of the boys on this team,” Butschle said.
Lawson, benched briefly in last week's game, threw for 160 yards and a touchdown. He also scored on a 6-yard run.
“The difference in our offense now compared to our first game here? Confidence, plain and simple,” Lawson said.
Linebacker Evan Smith led the Raiders with 13 tackles. He had 10.5 through three quarters.
Brennan Hayes and Kristobak had interceptions for SV. The Raiders limited North Allegheny — which averages 37 points a game — to 24 total points in eight quarters this year.
“They put us in position where we had to throw. We had no choice,” Walker said. “Those interceptions set them up for scores.
“Sometimes, the other team just beats you.”
Smith was one on many aggressive Raiders on defense.
“Just go to the ball. We trust each other,” Smith said of the defense's success.
The Raiders entered the game allowing nine points per game.
“That defense has been doing it all year. That's 12 games now,” Butschle said. “We're riding them all the way to Heinz.”
“I can't even describe what that feels like right now,” Smith said. “We're going to Heinz. We just beat the top team in our conference.
“All of this feels so, so good.”
Seneca Valley 10 7 0 14 — 31
N. Allegheny 7 7 0 0 — 14
NA — Ben Petschke 8 run (Isaac West kick), 11:19
SV — Jake Mineweaser 9 run (Seth Winters kick), 7:45
SV — Winters 34 field goal, 3:59
SV — Gabe Lawson 6 run (Winters kick), 8:32
NA — Petschke 4 run (West kick), 2:09
SV — Luke Smith 12 pass from Lawson (Winters kick), 11:55
SV — Mineweaser 11 run (Winters kick), 9:47
Rushing: Seneca Valley, Jake Mineweaser 29-147, Gabe Lawson 12-42, Evan Smith 2-17, Matt Stanger 1-31. TEAM 3-(-3). North Allegheny, Ben Maenza 9-58, Percise Colon 7-45, Ben Petschke 9-30, Sam Gelosh 3-10, Nikko Rankin 1-3, TEAM 1-(-29), Pancho Cantu 1-0.
Passing: Seneca Valley, Gabe Lawson 8-13-160-1. North Allegheny, Ben Petschke 5-17-111-2.
Receiving: Seneca Valley, Josh McLean 1-18, Ryan Kristobak 2-15, Luke Smith 3-39, Jake Stebbins 2-88. North Allegheny, Luke Colella 2-52, Joey Porter 2-45, Percise Colon 1-14.