JACKSON TWP — Seneca Valley and Butler have met on the gridiron many times, but never in August.
The two Northern Eight Conference teams will open the 2012 season against each other Friday at SV’s NexTier Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Neither team is used to opening a season against a conference foe. The Butler Eagle Quad A Traveling Trophy, normally awarded to the game’s victor in late October, will be making its earliest appearance since its inception in 1993.
“It’s been a way of life to start the season with a non-conference game,” said Raiders coach Don Holl, “but everybody knows this is the way it is now. In the end, it’s not when you play, but how you play.”
Holl is eager to see how his offense performs in a game that counts after seeing it play well in a tri-scrimmage against New Castle and McDowell and another tune-up against Hopewell.
“It came down to execution,” he said. “Our guys showed an understanding of what we’re trying to do. We had a good preseason and I saw a lot of positives. We’re healthy and I feel good about where we are.”
The Raiders hope to start fast out of the gate with playmakers such as quarterback Jordan Brown, running back Forrest Barnes and slot receiver Jon Dorogy.
But Seneca Valley must win the battle up front before its skill-position players can take control of the game.
That group will include center Clayton Hoover, left guard Dean Ketterer, left tackle Nick Dahlstrom, right tackle Tyler Hudanick and tight end Ryan McCauley. Right guard will be a combination of Dan Miller and Riley Dillon.
Butler is coming off a 2-7 record last year and has not won a conference game since beating Seneca Valley 14-0 in 2006. Seneca has won the last five meetings by a combined score of 168-82, including a 47-21 decision last season.
On paper, the Golden Tornado can’t match SV’s firepower, but Holl knows games are not decided on paper.
“(Butler coach) Clyde (Conti) is a really good guy and an outstanding football coach,” he said. “You can see it on tape, they are improving. We’ll have our hands full Friday night.”
Note: The Northern Eight Conference also includes SV’s traditional foes Shaler, Pine-Richland, North Allegheny and North Hills. Newcomers in 2012 are Central Catholic and Fox Chapel.