After struggling against North Allegheny last week, Seneca Valley’s Forrest Barnes and the rest of the Raiders will look to recapture their winning formula against Connellsville on Friday night at NexTier Stadium.
JACKSON TWP — The Seneca Valley and Connellsville football teams came away from last Friday’s action on the gridiron in contrasting moods. While the Raiders dealt with disappointment following a 45-3 loss at rival North Allegheny, Connellsville was celebrating a 14-10 triumph at home over Foothills Conference foe Hempfield. The Falcons’ defense stopped the Spartans inside the three-yard line in the final minute to preserve the team’s first win of the season. In their first two games this year, the Falcons lost to Kiski Area (22-14) and Gateway (46-16). The Raiders (2-1, 2-1) will look to get back on the right track when they host the Falcons in a non-conference battle Friday at NexTier Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. SV coach Don Holl is anxious to get his players back on the field after last week’s lopsided defeat. “We didn’t rise to the challenge of our opponent last week and that’s on me,” he said. “We’re looking forward to going out and playing well this week.” Holl and Connellsville coach David McDonald were on the same coaching staff at Gannon University years ago. When the latter took the reins of the Falcons prior to the 2011 season, the team was in dire need of a spark. From 2006-10, the program compiled an overall record of 3-42. Included in that time were back-to-back winless seasons in 2008-09. McDonald and the Falcons managed a 5-5 record in 2011 and the program’s first WPIAL playoff appearance in six years. Holl is impressed with Connellsville’s progress. “They have good athletes and they’re disciplined,” he said. “You can definitely see the improvement they have made since the first week.” Leading the way in Connellsville’s Wing-T offense is 6-foot-5, 180-pound junior quarterback Jade Maher. He threw for 500 yards last season and tallied 173 yards through the air last week. Two of his passes went for touchdowns to Darrell Ross (28 yards) and Jimmy DeMarco (45). SV cornerbacks Zach Bredl and Tyler Bommer will be counted on to keep the Falcon receivers in check. They could be aided by offensive stars Jordan Brown and Forrest Barnes, who both saw time on defense in last week’s contest. “Depending on the situation, they could get in on defense again,” said Holl. “They’re the kind of team players who will do anything to help the team.” Seneca Valley and Connellsville have met five previous times, with the Raiders holding a 4-1 lead in the series. The teams squared off each year from 1996-99. The last meeting came in 2003 when Seneca defeated the Falcons 14-0.