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With skill players in place, Seneca Valley a contender in Quad North

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:24 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Seneca Valley running back Forrest Barnes. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Seneca Valley quarterback Jordan Brown. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

If there was one thing that held the Seneca Valley football team back last season, it was big-game experience.

The Raiders finally got that during a WPIAL Class AAAA playoff win over Penn Hills, then hung tough with eventual champion North Allegheny in the first half of the WPIAL quarterfinals.

The promise of the new season is that the Raiders are battle-tested, and with the return of quarterback Jordan Brown, coach Don Holl has his signal-caller back for his third year as a starter.

Brown also has the benefit of Forrest Barnes — his leading rusher and receiver — returning to the backfield.

“It all starts with the players,” Holl said.

“We have talented, experienced players, which is the recipe for success.”

With veterans Brown and Barnes in place, Holl's attention will shift to the offensive line, where he will have to replace his starting center, left guard and right tackle.

“We have two good rising juniors and a sophomore,” Holl said of the line prospects.

“We had a lot of guys look through the facemask on Friday night and have success. That is a positive, and those players have gotten better.”

Barnes has confidence in the new linemen coming up, saying how surprised he was by the high level of play he saw from the youngsters.

Although Holl is happy with the overall state of his team as the season approaches, he is well aware of the difficulty of the Quad North.

“Everyone thinks they will be in the playoffs, and we have a legit chance, but we play in a tough section and anyone can get a little too proud in a moment and beat their chest and say they will win it.” Holl said.

“We can compete and expect to be in the thick of it, but everyone needs a bounce here or there, and everyone needs to stay healthy.”

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