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Enrietto: Mullen’s efforts notable

A winless season suggests not much has happened on the surface for Knoch’s football team this year.

Underneath the surface, success may be bubbling, however — and it all starts with sophomore quarterback Codi Mullen.

The 5-foot-9 Mullen — also one of the Knights’ leading rushers — had thrown for 1,377 yards entering Friday’s season finale against Valley. He had a shot at breaking the school’s single-season passing record.

That’s rather remarkable for a lot of reasons.

No. 1, the kid is 5-9. This is the age of taller, stronger quarterbacks at the high school level. He doesn’t fit that model. He certainly matches the production of most prep signal-callers, if not exceed it.

No. 2, Mullen is part of a compete overhaul for Knoch offensively, The team has gone from a triple-option attack to a spread. Thar’s as different as night and day. The Knights rarely threw 10 passes in a game last year.

No. 3, Knoch’s players adapted to a new head coach and a new philosophy. That’s never easy, especially for seniors. Jake Murphy leads the Knights in receiving yards and is a senior. The next two leading receivers are a junior and sophomore, respectively. The leading running back is a sophomore. All of that bodes well for the future.

No. 4, the Knights played all of one home game this season and that was against a WPIAL power in Elizabeth Forward. Mullen and that offense were effective regardless.

You can lose on the field, yet grow as a program.

That growth may produce quite a harvest next season.

Can’t stop this

That certainly applies to the Mars girls soccer team. Not only have the Planets won three straight state championships, they still haven’t lost a game since Nov. 10, 2018, when Bald Eagle handed them a 1-0 setback in the PIAA quarterfinals.

Thursday’s win moved Mars’ unbeaten streak to 80 games since that time. Entering that Thursday playoff contest, the Planets had scored 97 goals in 15 games this season — and allowed only three.

Players graduate from that and move on. Younger players move in and fill up those spots.

That’s a juggernaut with a capital J.

Speaking of soccer ...

They’re not Mars, but the Raiders of Seneca Valley aren’t far behind. This year, SV’s boys and girls teams combined to post a 24-1-3 record in section play. The girls’ lone defeat, at the hands of North Allegheny, cost SV the section title at the hands of the Tigers.

That’s what soccer competition is like around here.

John Enrietto is sports editor of the Butler Eagle

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