Trib HSSN Football Team of the Week for Oct. 11, 2021

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Monday, October 11, 2021 | 11:33 PM


How do you deal with adversity?

Every football coach is curious about his team’s answer to that question. While they might not want to find out, a positive response can set the table for a successful season.

In Week 5, Seneca Valley was routed by Central Catholic in a battle for a share of first place in 6A, 35-0.

On Friday, Seneca Valley returned home for another key game against Canon-McMillan. The initial response to the previous week’s nightmare was not good as the Raiders fell behind, 14-6 at halftime.

“I keep going back to the fact that not only do we need to beat our opponent, but we keep beating ourselves with penalties and mistakes,” Seneca Valley coach Ron Butschle reminded his team. “Halftime is not time to panic or yell and scream. It is a time to look back and make adjustments, so that’s what we do every halftime. The kids know we are never out of a game.”

The kids in Raiders uniforms responded, scoring the only points of the second half in the fourth quarter to tie the score, then picked up the huge victory in double overtime, 24-17.

“This was a big win for us in terms of playoff picture,” Butschle said. “From this point forward, each week is like a playoff game. Our defense has really been huge all year. We need to continue to eliminate penalties and mistakes. If we can do that over the next three weeks, I like how we sit.”

Trailing 14-6 in the fourth quarter, Raiders senior running back Nolan Dworek ripped off a 30-yard touchdown run. A Graham Hancox 2-point conversion pass to junior Luke Lawson tied the game.

“I was really happy for Nolan this week,” Butschle said. “He has had some struggles, and Friday night he played like we know he can. Obviously the 2-point play changed the game.”

Dworek rushed for 120 yards and scored two touchdowns for Seneca Valley while Hancox threw for 247 yards and a score.

“Graham is really maturing,” Butschle said of his junior quarterback. “Again, our coaching staff does a great job in preparation, and Graham’s football IQ has risen exponentially since the beginning of the year.”

After the teams exchanged field goals in the first overtime, Dworek scored on a 5-yard run to give the Raiders a 24-17 lead.

Canon-McMillan had one last chance, but an interception by junior T.J. Border in the end zone ended the thriller.

“Our defense works on those situations every week,” Butschle said. “Our staff and our players believe in what we do and in each other. (Canon-McMillan has) a really good run game, and we knew that was going to be the key to stop down there. The interception happened because I think they had to throw it.

“We were really excited for all of us, especially TJ. He is a quiet leader and plays hard every day in practice. We love when that is rewarded.”

After gaining some confidence back with a big win, Seneca Valley must make sure to avoid a letdown as they head south in Week 7 to face a Baldwin team that has won two straight.

“We always think about being 1-0 every week,” Butschle said. “We don’t care who it is or what their record is. We will be ready for Baldwin just like we will be ready for everyone else. It is a playoff mentality for us right now.”

2021 HSSN Team of the Week

Week 5 – Upper St. Clair Panthers

Week 4 – Mohawk Warriors

Week 3 – Union Scotties

Week 2 – McKeesport Tigers

Week 1 – Shaler Titans

Week Zero – Northgate Flames

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