PINE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Seneca Valley knocked off Pine-Richland, 13-3, in a WPIAL Class-6A matchup on Friday night. The Raiders displayed a dominating defensive performance, give up just a field goal and allowing no red zone trips. Seneca Valley improved to 2-2, while Pine-Richland dropped to 1-3.
Seneca Valley quarterback Graham Hancox faced a 3rd-and-23 on the Raiders opening drive, but Hancox completed a back-shoulder pass to Luke Lawson for 22 yards to set up 4th-and-1, which Max Scanlan converted on a run up the middle. To cap the drive, Hancox completed a fade pass to Lawson for a 6-yard touchdown to put Seneca Valley up 7-0.
Talan Hill-Ressler returned the ensuing kickoff to Seneca Valley’s 48-yard line. The Rams didn’t take advantage of the great field position, however, and went three-and-out for the second consecutive possession.
Pine-Richland answered with a three-and-out of its own. Ajay Rogers returned the punt for a touchdown, but it was negated due to a block in the back penalty.
Kanan Huffman completed to Andrew Mellis on a slant for first down yardage on fourth-and-5, but the Rams couldn’t build off it and turned the ball over due to an errant snap. Seneca Valley took over from its own 23-yard line.
Midway through the second quarter, Hancox completed to Brayden Wise over the middle for a 41-yard catch-and-run. A few plays later, Hancox overthrew his intended receiver and got picked off by Tanner Cunningham, who returned it to the Rams 48-yard line. On first-and-10, Huffman completed to Nikolas Andrews for a 17-yard gain. Andrews hauled in the pass from the ground after a deflection. The Rams were unable to muster anything else on the drive and punted.
Huffman suffered an injury on the previous drive and was replaced by sophomore Vaughn Spencer. On second-and-10 from Pine-Richland’s 44-yard line, Vaughn scrambled for a first down and absorbed a big hit from TJ Border, who was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet infraction. Grant Argiro nailed a 42-yard field goal to cut Seneca Valley’s lead to 7-3, which was the score at the half.
To open the second half, Hancox connected to Jackson Wetzel for a 54-yard touchdown to give Seneca Valley a 13-3 advantage. The extra point was no good. Wetzel got great separation on the play, and Hancox put the ball right where it needed to be.
Spencer led the Rams down the field on a promising drive but it stalled, and they were left with no points, as Argiro’s 39-yard field goal attempt was no good. Following a three-and-out, Cunningham returned the punt 21 yards and set the Rams up at Seneca Valley’s 29-yard line. Pine-Richland, once again, couldn’t capitalize off the great field position and went three-and-out. Argiro’s kick from 43 yards out was no good.
Hancox almost found Wetzel for another long touchdown, but the pass was off target and Wetzel couldn’t come up with the grab in a diving effort. If the pass was accurate, Wetzel had enough separation to go the distance. The Rams’ defense got off the field and forced another punt.
With time winding down and the Rams trailing by 10, Spencer completed a short pass to Palmieri in the flat and it resulted in a 33-yard catch-and-run. On fourth-and-4 from Seneca Valley’s 44-yard line, Spencer found Palmieri again for first down yardage to keep the drive alive. On fourth-and-15, Spencer went deep to Andrews, but he was unable to haul in the pass and Pine-Richland turned the ball over on downs with just under seven minutes remaining in the game.
The Rams got another quick defensive stop and gave the ball back to their offense. The drive didn’t last long, however, as Spencer got picked off by safety Wayne Pirt, who read the play perfectly. Spencer was picked off again, this time by Lawson, and that sealed the win for Seneca Valley.