JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Most in attendance though it was over when Pine-Richland senior quarterback Colton Boyd raced through the Seneca Valley defense with just under two minutes to take a late three-point lead over the Raiders.
But With two minutes to go, the SV offense came onto the field.
Seneca Valley junior quarterback Graham Hancox found a familiar target in junior wide receiver Luke Lawson to start the drive with just over a minute left. A methodical drive of well-timed chunk receptions set SV up at the P-R 19 yard line with 25 seconds to go.
An incompletion on first and second down led to a 3rd-and-10 with 15 seconds left, and Hancox threw his most important pass of the game, a lofted 24 yard pass over the P-R defense to senior wide receiver Brandon Ross for a huge go-ahead touchdown with just nine seconds left.
The touchdown clinched a huge 24-20 victory for the Raiders, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the last seconds of the game.
A huge three touchdown night of big throws from Hancox, connecting with junior wide receiver Jacob Rape and Lawson and Ross on touchdown tosses made the difference for the Raiders.
Despite P-R’s season-opening loss to Harrisburg High School last week, the Rams entered their contest with Seneca Valley High as a favorite to pick up their first win of the season.
A defensive battle with fumbles, interceptions, key fourth down stops and all the works carried late into a highly competitive, back-and-forth game until literally the final seconds of the game.
A back-and-forth first quarter at Seneca Valley’s NexTier Stadium in which defense reigned supreme ended scoreless. A stifling Seneca Valley pass rush left whoever carried the ball in the P-R backfield scrambling behind a caving offensive line.
A steady dose of wildcat play calling from P-R finally broke the game in the second quarter, with P-R senior quarterback Colton Boyd diving into the end zone from a couple yards out on 4th-and goal. A valiant stand at the goal line coming up just short after three stifling plays.
An encouraging answering drive from SV, in which senior wide receiver Brandon Ross made a beautiful high-point catch over a P-R defensive back, a fumbled handoff in which the quarterback and running back weren’t on the same page. However, the Raiders responded with a 39 yard touchdown pass off the hand of SV junior quarterback Graham Hancox.
A beautiful reception from SV junior wide receiver Jacob Rape gave the Raiders life, and the stifling Raiders’ defense held strong after P-R set up on the SV three yard line with a 1st-and-goal chance to end the half all knotted up.
Fresh off a key defensive stand to end the half, Hancox once again flashed his arm, connecting with junior wide receiver Luke Lawson for a 56 yard touchdown. Lawson came back for a pass, turned up the field after shaking a P-R defender and raced for the score before fans even returned to their seats after halftime.
P-R was quick to answer, a methodical drive of screen passes resulting in big chunk plays ending with a 34 yard rushing touchdown from Eastburn in which he bounced a run to the outside and raced through an empty SV secondary.
A botched punt from P-R to start the fourth quarter gave SV very, very good field position, starting their drive at the Rams’ 25 yard line. A slant intended for Lawson on third down looked like a clincher, but it fell incomplete. A 25 yard field goal from senior kicker Camden Bush made it a 17-13 game with 7:22 left.
A gutsy performance from SV wiped away strong efforts from Boyd and P-R senior running back Brooks Eastburn.
SV will be in action next Friday away against Penn Hills while P-R will host Central Catholic at home. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m.