Seneca Valley Upends NA In WPIAL Semifinals

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The Seneca Valley Raiders advanced to the WPIAL championship game for the second time in the last three years with a 31-14 win over the North Allegheny Tigers on Friday night in the Class 6A semifinals at Newman Stadium. Senior running back Jacob Mineweaser rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Raiders.

After a lengthy opening kickoff return by Percise Colon, and a personal foul penalty by the Raiders, North Allegheny began the game with terrific field position at the SV 22-yard line. Two plays later, North Allegheny junior quarterback Ben Petschke scored on an 8-yard run to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, Seneca Valley answered with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that was punctuated on a 9-yard touchdown run by Mineweaser to even the score at 7-7 with 7:45 remaining in the first quarter.

North Allegheny’s next drive ended with a bad snap on a punt attempt that resulted in prime field position for Seneca Valley at the NA 19-yard line. The Raiders converted the miscue into points with a 34-yard field goal by Seth Winters for a 10-7 advantage with 3:59 left in the opening stanza.

Seneca Valley extended the lead to 17-7 with 8:32 to play in the second quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Gabe Lawson.

The Tigers struck back late in the second quarter courtesy of a 4-yard touchdown run by Petschke to trim the Raiders lead to 17-14 with 2:09 remaining before halftime. For his efforts in scoring both of NA’s touchdowns, Petschke was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.  Petschke rushed for 30 yards and passed for 112 yards.

The NA defense prevented any more scoring in the first half thanks to a terrific diving interception by senior safety Nikko Rankin just five seconds prior to intermission.

Late in the third quarter, Seneca Valley hit a big play that swayed the momentum toward the fifth-seeded Raiders. Faced with a 3rd and 20 from their own 24-yard line, Lawson tossed a 51-yard pass to senior tight end Jacob Stebbins, coupled with a personal foul penalty, to reach the NA 12-yard line. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lawson hit senior wideout Luke Smith for a 12-yard scoring strike to give SV a 24-14 advantage five seconds into the fourth quarter. Lawson finished the night with an 8 for 13 performance, passing for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception,

On NA’s next drive, Seneca Valley’s Ryan Kristobek intercepted a pass and returned it to the Tigers 38-yard line. Four plays later, Mineweaser trotted into the end zone on an 11-yard run to extend the Seneca Valley lead to 31-14. The Raiders defense added another interception by Josh McLean late in the quarter to close out a 17-point win in the WPIAL Class 6A semifinals.

The North Allegheny defense was led by Cade Hoke with 11 tackles, followed by Liam Alker-Connelly with eight stops. Senior lineman Tyler Mangone added a sack.

Seneca Valley improves to 9-3 on the season and advances to the WPIAL championship game to face the Pine-Richland Rams. North Allegheny concludes the year with a 10-1 record. Congratulations to the Tigers and the NA coaching staff for a memorable 2018 season.

Football Summary vs. Seneca Valley, 11-9-18

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