Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Raiders Primed to Pull an Upset against No. 1 Both Teams' Offenses Will Take Center Stage in County 'Border War'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Raiders Primed to Pull an Upset against No. 1 Both Teams' Offenses Will Take Center Stage in County 'Border War'

Article excerpt

The first two weeks of the WPIAL Class AAAA football season have warmed up Seneca Valley High School's team.

The Raiders jumped right into Northern Eight Conference play, responding with successive victories against arch-rival Butler Area, 24-9, and neighboring Pine-Richland, 50-26.

Seneca Valley's lone out-of-conference game takes place next week when Connellsville pays a visit to Southern Butler County.

This week, however, is different. The Raiders will board a bus for a southerly drive down US Route 19 to play defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion and PIAA semifinalist North Allegheny. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Tigers' Newman Stadium. North Allegheny is the No. 1-ranked team in the Post-Gazette's WPIAL Class AAAA rankings.

"We have a lot of respect for Butler and Pine-Richland," Seneca Valley coach Don Holl said of the Raiders' first two opponents. "But now we're playing the two-time WPIAL champions and the team that's currently ranked No. 1, North Allegheny. They have a great reputation for a reason. By anyone's rendering, they are the team to beat."

As far as Holl is concerned, everything about the Tigers team starts with outstanding quarterback Mack Leftwich.

A 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior, Leftwich has the poise to stay in the pocket but can also scramble out of trouble.

"He won't beat you with his legs," Holl said. "But he does have some plays designed for him to run, and he can also throw out of the option."

Leftwich's calling card, however, is his ability to find receivers and throw touchdown passes.

In a 48-7 Northern Eight Conference victory at Fox Chapel last Friday night, he completed 9 of 14 passes for 298 yards and threw touchdown passes of 10 and 56 yards to Skylar Cox, 74 yards to Zach Lyon and 22 yards to Gregg Garrity. Leftwich warmed up for his passing game by opening the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter as the Tigers took a 21-0 lead.

"With him as a threat to run, it gives them another weapon," Holl said.

Seneca Valley, currently ranked No. 5 in the Post-Gazette's WPIAL Class AAAA rankings, has a potent quarterback, too, in Jordan Brown, whose abilities shone in the Raiders' first two games. …

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