Seneca Valley gets big Class 6A win in overtime against Baldwin

Saturday, October 17, 2020 | 8:00 PM

Nolan Dworek scored his second touchdown of the game on the first play from scrimmage for Seneca Valley in overtime to lead the host Raiders past Baldwin, 19-16, in a key Class 6A game Saturday afternoon.

The win improves Seneca Valley to 4-1 and leaves the Raiders alone in second place behind North Allegheny (4-0) in the class heading into the final week of the regular season.

The 10-yard scoring run by the junior Dworek came after Baldwin kicker Fletcher Hindman booted a 24-yard field goal on the Highlanders’ first possession of overtime.

Seneca Valley overcame four turnovers, four sacks of Raiders quarterback Brian Olan and a touchdown pass taken away because of a penalty to pick up its second straight win.

“We shot ourselves in the foot taking points of the board with penalties, and we gave them points turning the ball over at the 8-yard line,” Seneca Valley coach Ron Butschle said. “Those are things we need to clean up if we’re going to continue to be successful.

“At the end of the day, when you have more points than the other team, that’s the most important thing.”

Seneca Valley had more points than Baldwin from the opening kickoff when Raiders senior wide receiver/defensive back Connor Lyczek began his big day with a 90-yard return for a touchdown.

“I’ve been really trying to get one all year,” Lyczek said. “Then today I saw and opening, and I went for it and I just never looked back.”

The Raiders added to their lead later in the first quarter on a two-play, 65-yard drive.

Junior quarterback Brian Olan had two of this first three passes intercepted by Baldwin. However the one completion went for 20 yards to senior Mitchell Curran, with 15 yards added on for a horse-collar penalty on Baldwin.

On the next play, Dworek, filling in for injured running back Ethan West, busted off right side and ran 30 yards untouched for a touchdown. The point-after kick was blocked, and the Raiders led, 13-0.

But what looked like a rout became a tight game when Baldwin got a huge break early in the second quarter.

The handoff exchange between Olan and Dworek was fumbled, and Pitt recruit Dorien Ford recovered at the Seneca Valley 9-yard line.

Two plays later, quarterback Colton Brain hit Connor LaVelle in the corner of the end zone to put the Highlanders on the board. The lead was 13-6 after a low snap led to a low kick that was no good.

The score remained 13-6 through the rest of the second, third and most of the fourth quarters as both defenses came up large with big plays when they needed it most.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Baldwin was driving deep into Seneca Valley territory when Lyczek picked off a Brain pass in the end zone and returned it to the Raiders 25-yard line.

“I saw the quarterback rolling out to my side, I knew the wide receiver was behind me and breaking to the outside, so I just broke on it and it worked out for me.”

After the Highlanders got the ball back thanks to a three-and-out by their defense, they drove deep into Raiders territory thanks to some clutch passes by Brain when the quarterback ran one in from 1-yard out with a minute and a half left in regulation. Baldwin coach Tim Sweeney went for the tie, and Hindman’s kick tied the score 13-13.

Baldwin had one more chance after a third interception of Olan, but Hindman’s 42-yard field goal as time expired was well short.

Dworek ended up with 105 yards rushing on 18 carries for the Raiders, and Brain was the offensive standout for the Highlanders with 215 yards passing and a touchdown.

In this season where the entire 6A bracket is in the hands of the football committee, does style points matter?

“I would hope at 4-1, we would be one of the top four,” Butschle said. “If you look at our total body of work, even though (Saturday) was an ugly win, it was still a win. We are focused. I think we need to forget about this win quicker than others because we need to focus on a really good Mt. Lebanon team.”

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