CANONSBURG – Canon-McMillan came into Friday with the top rusher in Class 6A — Ryan Angott, who had 453 rushing yards through three games. Seneca Valley knew it had to stop the run if it was going to come out on top against the Big Macs.
The Raiders managed to hold Angott to only 50 yards, and Canon-Mac to fewer than 150 yards as a team as the Seneca Valley defense forced six turnovers to come out on top, 31-17, in a Quad County Conference game.
“Our defense came up huge with turnovers…I think they played with an edge tonight,” said Seneca Valley head coach Ron Butschle. “We knew we had to stop the run, and that’s what we did and they came up with some big turnovers in crucial moments and we were able to capitalize on a couple of them.”
Canon-Mac (2-2, 2-2) head coach Mike Evans has relied on his star running back throughout the season but admitted Seneca Valley (3-1, 3-1) had a great game plan to counter the rushing attack.
“It’s my fault, we have to throw the ball better. We can’t let people load up on us, and we have to throw the ball better,” said Evans. “I have to trust my QB, and we have a good bunch of receivers that are deserving of the football, and I have to do a better job of getting it to them.”
Each team started their respective first drive with a field goal, as Seneca Valley’s Adam Davies drilled a 37-yarder on the opening drive of the game, followed by Canon-Mac’s Anthony Finney, who hit a 25-yarder to tie the game at 3-3 with 4:03 left in the first quarter.
Then, in the second quarter, Seneca Valley started to take advantage of fumbles by the Big Macs’ offense. Raiders quarterback Brian Olan took capitalized on the first turnover by Canon-Mac by hitting Luke Lawson for a 16-yard touchdown just two plays later.
A couple drives later, the Raiders forced another fumble and recovered in Canon-Mac territory. Running back Nolan Dworek promptly found the endzone just two plays later from seven yards out to extend the lead to 17-3 with 3:20 remaining in the first half.
After forcing a three-and-out, Seneca Valley added one more score before the end of the half as Olan found Dworek on a screen pass and Dworek tip-toed down the sideline and evaded multiple defenders for a 69-yard score with just 28 seconds left. The Raiders took the 24-3 lead into halftime.
Canon-Mac showed signs of life throughout the second half but was unable to ultimately overcome the deficit. The Big Macs opened the second half with an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive as quarterback Lamont Lyons found Mario Eafrati from eight yards out to cut the deficit to 24-10.
Seneca Valley’s defense stepped again on Canon-Mac’s next drive, as they forced Lyons to throw as he was getting sacked in the endzone, and the pass was picked off by James Sprentz right on the goal line for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 31-10 advantage with 3:31 left in the third.
Canon-Mac added one more score following an interception in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of short field position as Isaiah Chandler scampered in from four-yards out to bring the score to 31-17 with 8:14 left in the game, but the Big Macs were unable to take advantage of two more drives inside Raider territory to bring the game to its final.
Olan finished his night completing 13-of-23 passes for 268 yards, two scores, and two interceptions for Seneca Valley. Lyons went 13-of-19 passing for 140 yards and a touchdown for Canon-Mac.
“I’m happy with a win — that was a big conference win for us,” said Butschle. “We know we have to win out if we want to be a three-seed in the playoffs. Every week the rest of the year is a playoff game for us.”