PITTSBURGH — Saturday’s 34-7 defeat to Pine-Richland in the WPIAL Class 6A title game was a bitter pill for Seneca Valley’s football team to swallow, but Raiders’ head coach Ron Butschle had no trouble putting his squad’s 2018 season into perspective.
Not after recalling last season’s 3-6 effort that fell short of the postseason.
“This loss hurts, but one game does not tarnish an entire season,” he said. “We built a lifetime full of lessons in morale and values.”
The Raiders finish this season with a 9-4 record, but to players like senior linebacker Saige Ley, the turnaround was evident long before a season-opening 30-6 win against McDowell.
“You could tell this year was going to be different, even in the off-season,” he said. “This group wanted it more.”
Losses in the regular season to Central Catholic, North Allegheny and Pine-Richland relegated the Raiders to fifth place in the Quad County Conference standings.
“I think a lot of people expected us to crawl into the playoffs and then be done,” Butschle said.
After one quarter of a quarterfinal playoff game against Central Catholic, that appeared to be the case. SV trailed the Vikings 14-0 before turning in an inspiring performance, especially on defense.
Central gained just 15 yards of offense over the final three quarters and the Raiders scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half to pull out a 15-14 win.
“That’s where our run (to Heinz Field) started,” said Ley. “That was the beginning of our ‘Revenge Tour’.
Next up on that list was North Allegheny, which had survived a 10-6 brawl with the Raiders in late September. In the rematch, however, SV’s offense came to life and the team’s shutdown defense squashed the Tigers in a 31-14 decision.
The tour was short-circuited by Pine-Richland.