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Sports

Seneca Valley stuns McKeesport

| Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011

After McKeesport Area scored 159 points in its first three games, it looked like nothing could stop the Tigers' offense.

Seneca Valley, with a lot of help from the Tigers themselves, finally was able to do so and, in turn, handed them their first loss of the season Friday night.

McKeesport (3-1) came into the game with the highest-scoring offense (153 points), the top-rated offense (516.7 yards per game) and the best passing defense (19.3 yards per game) in the WPIAL, but Seneca Valley neutralized the Tigers on both sides of the ball and rolled to a 47-20 victory at NexTier Stadium.

"It was Murphy's Law that whatever could go wrong did go wrong, and you have to give them an enormous amount of credit for making us pay for our mistakes," McKeesport coach Jim Ward said. "What's hard to swallow is that, in the three prior games, it's been uncharacteristic of this football team because we haven't been penalized, haven't turned the ball over. We've executed on almost every drive and this just wasn't us, and I'll take the blame for that."

McKeesport didn't help itself as it gave up a pair of turnovers and committed nine penalties in the first half, which helped the Raiders take a 27-0 lead at the intermission. The Tigers finally generated some offense in the second half as running back Donte Patterson carried 17 times for 121 yards and a touchdown and also returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score, but by then it was too late.

"That's what good football teams do," Ward said. "They make you pay for mistakes and that's what they did. They executed really well."

Seneca Valley (3-1) quarterback Jordan Brown came into the game as the No. 1 passer in the WPIAL, but the junior instead turned and handed off to running back Forrest Barnes, who gashed the McKeesport defense 25 times for 230 yards and four touchdowns. Barnes became only the fifth Raiders player ever to run for at least 200 yards in a game, and his 230 yards is the second-highest in school history, behind only Bill Davis' 301 in 2002.

"He's a heck of a player and it's no secret we try to get him touches because he makes things happen," Seneca Valley coach Don Holl said. "He's lightning-fast, a tough runner. He takes care of the ball and all the things you want in a back and, obviously, he had a heck of a night."

Brown wasn't held down either as he completed 9 of 17 for 171 yards and a touchdown in addition to running for 67 yards and another score.

"I thought we really had a good game plan and I think our kids were ready to play," Holl said. "We talked about the fact that McKeesport is a championship program and perennial playoff program and this was a game to find out what we were made of coming off a loss."

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