Monday, March 10, 2014 4:42 AM
Published on: Thursday, September 27, 2012
By Aaron Kasinitz
POTOMAC - Seneca Valley had to deal with an array of factors Friday night that left their hands full in a matchup with the fellow, unbeaten Churchill Bulldogs.
Due to Monday’s holiday and Tuesday’s inclement weather the Screaming Eagles had just one full practice to prepare for Churchill’s unique triple option attack. Seneca Valley was traveling to play at a hostile environment in Shepard Stadium at Danver Field. And most importantly, the Screaming Eagles were facing a Bulldogs team that had their mind set on avenging their lone regular season loss of 2011.
But Friday night, Seneca Valley (4-0) was able to hurdle each of those obstacles. The Screaming Eagles forced timely turnovers and road a balanced offense en route to an impressive 28-22 victory over Churchill (3-1).
“We knew it was going to be a battle and that it would go down to the wire,” said Seneca Valley head coach Fred Kim. “The difference was we wore them out a little bit down at the end.”
That was evident in the Screaming Eagles final drive. With a seven-point lead and just over six minutes on the clock, quarterback Calvin Reighard lead the Eagles on a touchdown drive that ate up four and a half minutes of clock, putting the game out of reach for the Bulldogs.
Churchill fell into a hole after taking a one-point lead into the fourth quarter when Screaming Eagle linebacker Kito Pace intercepted a Jonathan Lee pass deep in Bulldog territory.
James Jones-Williams’ strong rushing help the Screaming Eagles turn the turnover into six points. The subsequent two-point conversion gave Seneca Valley a seven-point edge.
“The Turnover in the red zone I think kind of changed the complexity of the game,” said Churchill head coach Joe Allen. “I felt like after we scored after halftime we were in control of the game, but against a team like Seneca Valley you just can’t afford to make mistakes in the redzone.”
The reason those mistakes are so costly against Seneca Valley is because they have a talented group of skill players that make opponents pay for giving up good field position.
Friday night, Jones-Williams, Kevin Joppy, and Nick Fahs were all heavily features in Seneca Valley’s quick tempo offense that gave the Bulldogs fits all game long.
“For me [the biggest challenge is] making everybody happy,” Reighard said. “Everyone wants the ball, but it’s a fun offense to run. I can get it to anybody. Anybody who has the ball has a chance to make a play at anytime.”
Churchill’s frustrations with stopping the Eagles were amplified for sophomore linebacker Blake Dove. After a eye-opening freshman campaign at Seneca Valley, Dove transferred to Churchill in the spring.
Certainly, the young linebacker was hoping to get the best of his former teammates, but he knows firsthand what makes the Seneca Valley program so successful.
“The coaches and the work ethic,” Dove said. “They work hard they work nonstop.”
That work ethic was especially vital for the Screaming Eagle this week. They were able to work through adversity, and as a result are rewarded with a win against a quality opponent that greatly enhances their postseason resume.
“We’re going to earn 4A points, number one, off those guys. They’re going to win a lot more football games. They’ll make the playoffs I’m certain off that,” said Kim. “We’re going to gain those bonus points for us, which will be huge for us down the line for the future for us in the playoffs.”
Where, if they can resemble Friday night’s performance, the Screaming Eagles will be a force to be reckoned with.