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Seneca Valley finally solves North Allegheny, 20-6

| Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, 11:18 p.m.

Seneca Valley put a stop to North Allegheny's 16-game winning streak and picked up its first win over the Tigers since 2002 on Friday with a 20-6 win at NexTier Stadium.

The victory ended North Allegheny's 12-game winning streak over Seneca Valley. It snapped the Tigers' 32-game win streak against WPIAL opponents, dating to a 21-16 loss to North Hills on Oct. 29, 2010.

Raiders coach Don Holl knew how important this victory was for his program, and he tried to downplay it after the game — but couldn't.

“It's a conference win,” Holl said. “It's a conference win, and any one of them is important. But I'm not an idiot. NA had not lost in a long time and they're the defending state champions, A win over them is a nice accomplishment, and I'm so excited for our team.”

The teams played a sloppy first half. Both teams turned the ball over on interceptions on their opening drives.

The Raiders (3-0, 3-0 Quad North) took a 13-0 lead at halftime thanks to Eric Mrkonja's 24-yard touchdown reception and Mason Dehart's 5-yard run.

Mrkonja finished with two catches for 40 yards and a score. Quarterback T.J. Holl rushed for a game-high 104 yards on 21 carries.

No. 8 Seneca Valley committed six penalties for 62 yards in the first half, while No. 3 North Allegheny (2-1, 1-1) turned the ball over four times.

The Tigers continued to get in their own way in the second half. They were called for an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out a long completion early in the third quarter, and then turned the ball over on downs on their third possession of the third quarter.

Seneca Valley couldn't get much going in the second half, either, but the Raiders defense continued to force North Allegheny into mistakes. Perhaps the biggest one came on Cody Boozel's interception of Tigers quarterback Jeff Clemens with just over five minutes to play, all but ending the Tigers' comeback bid.

The Raiders added a late score on T.J. Holl's 11-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Brad Hensler. NA's lone score came on Olwaseun Idowu's 34-yard Hail Mary touchdown catch.

North Allegheny outgained Seneca Valley, 266-224. The Raiders' defense forced six Tigers turnovers (two interceptions, four fumbles).

“Our defense has been really good,” Don Holl said. “I know we had a good game plan and I know we have outstanding players, and they played lights-out tonight.”

Jeff DeBaldo is a freelance writer.

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