Line play to be key factor for Seneca Valley
Last season, the Seneca Valley offense was one of the most feared in the Quad North, with quarterback Jordan Brown, tailback Forrest Barnes and wide receiver Jonathan Dorogy combining for more than 3,500 yards and 47 touchdowns.
This season, the Raiders will have some major reloading to do after all three graduated.
“We lost a lot, but that is the nature of what we do,” coach Don Holl said. “There will be some new starters, some returning starters, but each year it is a different team.”
The Raiders will find strength in the offensive and defensive lines, where key starters return.
Starting guard Steve Gaviglia said so much emphasis is put on what was lost that nobody realized what the team is gaining from new opportunities.
“Our line looks good (on offense and defense) and each play starts there,” Gaviglia said. “Our play will be critical up front, and we have some good linebackers coming up who are capable and some good backs and receivers coming up, too.”
Right tackle Dan Miller agrees the line play will be key, especially at the start of the season.
“Our line will be good,” Miller said. “Tyler Hudanick will be the other returning starter at left tackle. Our guards and center are all working hard, too.”
Miller said the defensive line may be in better shape than the offensive line because of the experience returning.
In addition to himself and Gaviglia, Hudanick also will be there to help with a new look.
“I think we will play more of a 3-4 (defense) this year,” Miller said. “We should all know what to do this year because our play will be really important.”
Another key will be inside linebacker Tucker Van Dyke, a player Holl calls tough and smart.
“They will have to be a factor,” Holl said. “Mike Jones is another player we will rely on. He has the respect of this team.
“We have a strong middle with some returning starters. One thing about this section is that you have to be able to play strong defense and stop the run against some tough teams.”
Holl said keeping the lines strong on both sides is important as nothing works if there is not some push in the trenches.
“I feel like that is priority No. 1,” said Holl, whose son T.J. is one of the team's quarterbacks. “We need to find the skill guys, but it is tough to succeed if you are not good up front.”