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Seneca Valley uses late score to edge Central Catholic

November 27, 2018

Seneca Valley advanced to the Class 6A semifinals with a 15-14 victory over Central Catholic on Friday night.

It was a payback of sorts for Seneca Valley, which lost to Central Catholic, 20-14, in Week 1.

Central Catholic started quickly, building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

After a three-and-out by Seneca Valley on its first possession, the Vikings wasted little time as they scored on their second play from scrimmage. Gavin Thomson, after nearly being taken down in the backfield, weaved his way down the sideline for a 32-yard TD run.

Gus Sunseri’s run made it 14-0 with two minutes left in the opening quarter.

“We didn’t put our heads down when we were down by 14-0,” Seneca Valley coach Ron Butschle said. “We just started doing what we had to do.”

Seneca Valley cut the lead to 14-3 at the half on a 33-yard field goal by Seth Winters.

“We knew we had to settle down and do what we do best in the second half,” Butschle said. “We regrouped and turned it around. We ran the ball well in the second half.”

Seneca Valley ran the ball successfully in the second half. Jake Mineweaser ended up with 50 yards on nine carries -- all in the second half.

“We wanted to use a rotation in the backfield, but the way that Jake was running, we kept riding that horse,” Butschle said. “He was hot. He played a tremendous game.”

The Raiders pulled to within 14-9 in the third quarter when Jake Stebbins hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Gabe Lawson. The 2-point conversion failed.

Central Catholic had the ball as the fourth quarter started when the Raiders’ Conor Hayes made the key defensive play of the game. He intercepted a Gus Sunseri pass at the Vikings 35 and returned it to the 15-yard line.

Two plays later, Mineweaser ran it in from the 12 with 10:32 left to make it 15-14. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful.

Central Catholic’s last gasp came on a Hail Mary with 12 seconds left that was broken up at the 10-yard line.

“My heart was thumping on that one,” Butschle said. “They have a good kicker, and I was glad we didn’t give him a chance. We’re going to enjoy this win and then start getting ready for North Allegheny.”

Seneca Valley will play No. 1 North Allegheny (10-0) in the semifinals next Friday at a time and site to be determined.

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