Before we get to a quick look at Seneca Valley's 26-13 win over Northwest tonight, let's get something cleared up: if you don't think this is a big-time rivalry, well you don't know squat about MoCo football.Take it from a guy who prowled the sideline before and during the game: man this is a fierce, heated game with more than just pride on the line. In the end, The King's Trophy will remain at Seneca Valley High School, and the Screamin' Eagles now hold a 10-4 record in the series.
Oh, and did I mention in addition to hard hitting it was pretty entertaining, too?
The night belonged to Seneca, but the game belonged to junior wide receiver Kevin Joppy, who managed to run for 2 scores and intercept a critical pass while also running back a punt to help break the game wide open in the third quarter.
But I'll get to that in a second: let me take a quick break to recognize the unsung hero of the game, and maybe the most important guy on the team, particularly if Seneca Valley wants to take this season one step further than last year: junior quarterback Calvin Reighard. Never heard of him? Well he did have to play in the shadow of the quarterback on the other side of the field last night, one Matty Callahan, who had a find night, too.
But Reighard was just outstanding, in control and utterly unshakeable all night. Reighard went 13-16 for 100 yards and a late touchdown pass to Kellon Staton that put the game out of reach, but it was his poise that had to get the Seneca Valley coaching staffs' hearts aflutter. Just a great job. Watch out for this guy; if he plays this well all season the team can go a long way.
Oh, and James Jones-Williams chipped in with a steady 66 yards on 13 runs to keep the clock and chains moving. It's a nice one-two combination.
But back to Joppy: explosive, quick, fast and elusive on the night, Joppy broke off touchdown runs of 32 and 47 yards that came right at the end of the first and on the Screamin' Eagles first possession of the second half, and both were things of beauty as he hit the hole and exploded down the field.
Joppy's second touchdown put the Screamin' Eagles up 12-0 early in the third quarter, and after Northwest came up empty on its next possession Joppy bolted 48 yards on the ensuing punt to set up Reighard's deft touchdown pass the Staton.
Northwest managed to capitalize on a fumble by Seneca Valley at its own 47 as Callahan, who was brilliant early but started to wear down a bit and lose some accuracy, drove his team down the field looking for a spark. They found it in a 12-yard burst up the middle by Joshua Gills to cut the Seneca Valley lead to 19-6 on the last play of the third quarter.
However Seneca Valley took the fourth quarter kickoff and worked its own magic, with quick hitting passes from Reighard mixed with runs by James-Jones to march down the field, taking just over 5 minutes off the clock. Northwest called a time out looking to regroup, but Reighard put the finishing touches on the drive and game with a 2-yard sneak putting the game out of reach.
Great job by Coach Fred Kim and his staff. On the other side, Coach Mike Neubeiser gets his second taste of a loss for the King's Trophy, but don't worry about them: Callahan is all that and more, and in Tyler Ambush they have a solid running back for the long haul.
But for another night, and indeed one more year, one of the best rivalry's in the state got another great game, and the trophy everybody along Great Seneca Highway wants is in the Seneca Valley coaches office.