PENN HILLS, Pa. — Three-star 2024 Pitt commit Julian Dugger led Penn Hills (1-0) to a 33-20 victory over Seneca Valley (0-1) in a week 0 non-conference game. Dugger finished the night with 140 passing yards, almost all of which came in the game’s first half.
“I think we started out strong,” said Dugger on the win. “We could’ve did better at the end of the first half and second half. We did good, but we can definitely do way better. Left a lot of points on the board.”
Right out of the gate, Dugger lived up to his billing as one of the WPIAL’s top arms after going 4/5 passing for 67 yards on the game’s opening drive. However, the drive stalled once it reached 1st-and-goal and a missed field goal led to no points.
A three-and-out by Seneca Valley gave Penn Hills the ball back and from that point forward, they didn’t look back. In a 29 second span to end and start the second quarter, Penn Hills scored three touchdowns.
A 14-yard touchdown pass from Dugger to Cameron Thomas, a D-1 WPIAL recruit expected to play defensive back in college, started the stretch. Penn Hills then recovered a fumble on the ensuing kick which led to a 39-yard Dugger TD pass to Martel Palmer.
“They were giving us man-to-man, our guys are faster, so I gave him a shot and he made a play,” said Dugger.
When Seneca Valley was finally able to get a play on offense, Tajuan Bandy had a pick-six to give Penn Hills a 20-0 lead.
Palmer also had a kick return for a touchdown after a Seneca Valley 10-0 run brought them within two scores. That kick return touchdown, which made the score 27-10 at half, was the last of the first half.
Dugger in the first half went 7/14 overall with 135 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He also had 16 yards rushing on six attempts with one sack.
Thomas and Palmer had a combined 125 yards receiving on just five catches for Penn Hills with both snagging a touchdown. Amir Key had 30 rushing yards on nine attempts.
“I think our kids were excited to go against somebody else,” said Penn Hills coach Charles Morris Jr. “We’ve been kind of rough on them in camp and being sound with execution… so I think they’re first chance to compete against somebody else, they were excited and came out swinging.”
The third quarter saw a 50-yard rushing touchdown by Seneca Valley’s Kai West to bring them within 10 again, but nothing else as Penn Hills leaned on Key to begin running out the clock. Seneca Valley would hit a late field goal with 2:25 left in the game to pull within a touchdown at 27-20, but Key would snag a late 30-yard TD run to make the final score 33-20.
Key finished the night with 108 yards rushing on 16 attempts, a 6.8 average, and the late touchdown. Penn Hills will travel to face Norwin while Seneca Valley will travel to Peters Township, both in non-section games.