Seneca Valley excels on offense, defense to defeat Mt. Lebanon

Friday, September 23, 2022 | 11:40 PM

It was the performance Seneca Valley coach Ron Bustchle has been waiting for.

A havoc-wreaking defense that forced six turnovers and an offense that took advantage of its opportunities combined for a dominant performance for the Raiders in a 24-6 win at Mt. Lebanon on Friday night in a clash between Class 6A teams.

It was a much needed win for the Raiders (3-2, 1-1) as they evened their conference record, tying Canon-McMillan, to which they lost, and Mt. Lebanon (2-3, 1-1).

With four of the five teams making the playoffs in Class 6A, th picture is a bit muddied.

“You hate to say Week 4 is a must win, but in order for us to make the playoffs, we needed this one,” Butschle said. “We don’t just want to make the playoffs, but we want to make some noise. Now we go day by day. We just have to stack good days of practice and stack wins.”

Seneca Valley forced three fumbles and picked off three passes. It also had five sacks and numerous other quarterback pressures.

Aiden Lyczek had three sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. including one for a touchdown after a botched Mt. Lebanon punt that hit a blocker and went backward into the end zone.

The Raiders also blocked a field goal and an extra point.

Through all of that, they still were clinging to a 10-6 lead in the fourth quarter before they got their biggest offensive play of the game after a strange sequence.

They were penalized 25 yards for two fouls on the same play: a holding call and a dead-ball personal foul. Instead of being at Blue Devils’ 35-yard line they started the next play beyond midfield, but Graham Hancox connected with Luke Lawson to get the penalty yardage back. On the next play, he went to Lawson again, fitting the ball over two defenders for a 35-yard touchdown.

“It was a great throw, but the catch was amazing,” Butschle said. “That’s Luke Lawson. He’s a big-time player, and big time players make plays in big games. He did that tonight.”

Mt. Lebanon drove into Seneca Valley territory on the next possession, but the drive ended when Lyczek got his hands on quarterback David Shields, knocking the ball in the air and into the waiting arms of Lucas Lambert.

Jayden Price had an interception later in the fourth, which set up a Hancox 12-yard touchdown run that closed the scoring.

“In the first four games we haven’t been able to take advantage of the opportunities that we created with turnovers,” Butschle said. “We did tonight, which was huge.”

Beckham Dee scored on a 2-yard run late in the first half for Mt. Lebanon’s lone score.

Mt. Lebanon received the ball to start the second half but fumbled to end the drive. Seneca Valley immediately turned the ball back over to Mt. Lebanon, but, again, the Blue Devils couldn’t capitalize.

Blue Devils coach Bob Palko said the Seneca Valley defensive line set the tone in the first half, and it carried over for the rest of the game.

“We couldn’t really get anything rolling offensively, and once we did we’d make a mistake, but hey they’re a good football team,” Palko said. “Defensively they have some big kids. Their size caused some mismatches for us. You tip your hat to them. Ron (Butschle) does a great job. Ron is good people.”

Mt. Lebanon leads the all-time series 11-6. It is the third time in 20 years that Seneca Valley has beaten Mt. Lebanon in the regular season.

Watch an archived broadcast of this game on Trib HSSN.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

Tags: ,

More Football

Veteran football coach Tom Loughran resigns after 8 seasons at Fox Chapel
Big-play Union tops Port Allegany, advances to PIAA Class A football final
In storied Aliquippa football history, could these Quips show they’re best with another PIAA title?
PIAA Class A semifinal preview: Union vs. Port Allegany
Time to play The Birdie’s favorite game show: Leopardy!