Seneca Valley races past Fox Chapel, 36-7
Junior T.J. Holl had a hand in all five Seneca Valley touchdowns to help lead the No. 5 Raiders to a 36-7 Quad North victory over Fox Chapel on Friday night at NexTier Stadium.
Holl threw a touchdown pass, scored on an interception return and rushed for three scores to lead the Raiders (8-1, 6-1). He also had a late interception that thwarted a Fox Chapel drive.
“I really got a present there on that interception,” Holl said.
“Tyler (Hudanick) was taking him down, so props to Tyler for that one. It just fell into my lap, and all I had to beat was linemen to the end zone. At the half, we knew we were pretty sloppy at times, so we tried to clean that up for the second half, and I think we did. We have to for the playoffs.”
Seneca Valley finished the regular season a game behind Central Catholic in the Quad North. Fox Chapel finished the season 2-7, 2-5 in the conference.
Fox Chapel moved the ball but couldn't overcome turnovers and penalties. Billy Urso completed 17 of 43 passes for 179 yards and one score. But interceptions were his downfall.
Holl completed 9 of 16 passes for 142 yards, the touchdown and one interception.
Keith Frankert had six receptions for 110 yards and a score to lead Fox Chapel. Brandon Mitchell added five catches for 57 yards. Nigel Garnett led the Foxes with 109 yards rushing on 14 attempts. Eric Mrkonja had four catches for 100 yards and a score. Holl added 123 yards rushing on 14 carries for Seneca Valley.
On the fourth play of the game, Seneca Valley opened the scoring when Holl scrambled and found Mrkonja, who had gotten behind coverage, for a 70-yard touchdown pass.
But that didn't open the floodgates.
Fox Chapel tried to keep it tight and had the ball more than the Raigers in the first half, but penalties and turnovers hurt them. Seneca Valley went into the half with a 22-point lead. Two first-half interceptions, one returned for a score, helped Seneca Valley build its lead.
The first came just before the end of the first quarter when Holl picked an errant pass from Urso out of the air as Hudanick was taking down Urso. Holl returned the interception 17 yards for the touchdown.
The next interception came late in the second quarter. Michael Denny intercepted Urso at the Fox Chapel 27 and returned it to the 7-yard line. After a Fox Chapel penalty moved the ball to the 3-yard line, Holl scored on the next play for the 22-0 lead.
Seneca Valley scored twice in the third quarter, both Holl runs, before Fox Chapel scored on a 10-yard pass from Urso to Frankert with 4:04 left in the game.
Thomas Zuck is a freelance writer.