Mt. Lebanon tops Seneca Valley with blocked extra point in overtime

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Friday, October 23, 2020 | 10:56 PM


With its playoff hopes in jeopardy, Mt. Lebanon would’ve gone for two in overtime Friday night, sticking with coach Bob Palko’s win-or-go-home reputation.

Instead, the decision was made for them.

Blue Devils junior Joey Peters blocked an extra point in overtime, letting teammate Casey Sorsdal kick the game-winner a few plays later as Mt. Lebanon defeated Seneca Valley, 28-27, to solidify its spot in the WPIAL playoffs.

If Mt. Lebanon (4-2) had lost, the WPIAL football committee might have excluded the Blue Devils from the four-team bracket in Class 6A. Now, the Blue Devils will likely host a first-round game next weekend.

“All week, we practiced as if this was a playoff game,” said Mt. Lebanon junior Alex Tecza, who rushed for 158 yards and two long touchdowns.

Tied 21-21, Mt. Lebanon won the coin toss before overtime but elected to play defense first. Seneca Valley scored quickly on a 10-yard touchdown run by Connor Lyczek on first down. Raiders kicker Adam Davies had made his first three extra points Friday, but his fourth was low and Peters blocked it.

“I was close all game,” Peters said. “I thought I could do it in overtime. That was a good time to do it.”

Trailing 27-21, Mt. Lebanon answered with a tying 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joey Daniels to receiver Eli Heidenreich on second down.

Now tied, Sorsdal added the extra-point kick, and Mt. Lebanon celebrated wildly.

“These past couple of wins have really solidified us and built us up as a team,” Tecza said. “Why not us? Why can’t we win the championship?”

Even with the loss, Seneca Valley (4-2) remains locked into the playoff, likely as the third or fourth seed, but the Raiders had hoped to host a first-round game. The WPIAL will reveal the playoff brackets at 7 p.m. Saturday on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

“We’re lucky we get another week to play,” Seneca Valley coach Ron Butschle said. “We will bounce back. I told those kids, we’ll come Monday and be ready to go.”

Mt. Lebanon’s unlikely hero was Peters, a 6-foot-5 lineman who played only on special teams. But he personifies the message Palko has stressed in his second season coaching the Blue Devils.

“Find your role on the team,” said Palko, noting that not everybody on the roster gets to be a starter. “Everyone wants to be this or be that. That doesn’t happen.”

Friday’s score was close throughout with ties at 7-7, 14-14 and 21-21.

Seneca Valley dominated time of possession in the first half, holding the ball for more than 18 minutes, and led 21-14 entering the fourth quarter. The Raiders built their lead with touchdowns by Nolan Dworek (9-yard run), Lucas Lambert (18-yard catch) and Lyczek (22-yard run), who scored again in overtime.

But in the fourth, Mt. Lebanon intercepted Raiders quarterback Brian Olan twice, and the Blue Devils forced overtime with a 21-yard touchdown run by senior Maurice Plummer.

Tecza scored Mt. Lebanon’s first two touchdowns on runs of 61 and 57 yards. A roughing-the-kicker penalty on a punt led to Tecza’s second score.

“We played hard, they played hard and that was a great game,” Butschle said. “Mistakes happen, but the things that beat us again were penalties, turnovers and mistakes that we can control.”

Listen to an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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