Seneca Valley coach moves to press box

High school football notebook

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

Seneca Valley coach Don Holl is looking at his team from a different view these days, and likes what he sees.

For the past two games, Holl has coached from the press box. He decided to make the move after Seneca Valley lost to North Allegheny in the third week of the season.

Seneca Valley is 2-0 with Holl in the box and the Raiders had a big 34-7 victory Thursday against Central Catholic. Central Catholic was the Post-Gazette's No. 4-ranked WPIAL Class AAAA team before the loss.

"I've never done this as a head coach," said Holl, who has been at Seneca Valley for four seasons and also coached at Cathedral Prep in Erie for four. He also was an offensive coordinator at Gannon University.

"When I was at Gannon, I coached from the press box and I always felt like I was way better when I was in the box," Holl said. "You can see more."

It is highly unusual for a head coach to not be on the sideline during games.

"I have felt like there have been different games as a head coach when I wasn't great at getting into a rhythm and making adjustments in the game," Holl said. "When you play some teams, they don't make adjustments. But when you play good teams, they make adjustments during games and you have to adjust.

"With being in the box, you're looking at the same angle as what you looked at in film all week. When you think about it, you're watching film all week and it's from up high in the box. The only time you watch a game from the sideline is game night. "

Holl wears a headset where he can change channels and communicate with any of his assistants. He calls Seneca Valley's offensive plays by relaying a signal to an assistant coach, who then relays the play to a player on the sideline. That player uses signals to send in the play to Seneca Valley's quarterback.

"I've talked about doing this before, but just have never done it," Holl said.

Holl laughed while talking about one of the positives of coaching from the press box.

"It gets you out of getting frustrated and saying something to the officials," Holl joked. "I'm not going to yell at an official from the press box, so you avoid that issue altogether."

Crazy Friday

Friday night was quite unusual in WPIAL and City League football -- both offensively and defensively.

It was one of the highest scoring Fridays in a long time. There were 62 games involving WPIAL and City League teams and the winning teams scored an average of 37.8 points. Thirty-three teams scored 40 points or more, including 10 that scored 50 or more. In four previous weeks, the high-water mark for teams scoring more than 40 was 29 Sept. 7.

The defensive scoring was unusual as 32 touchdowns were scored by defenses in WPIAL and City League games Friday. There were 20 interceptions returned for touchdowns, 10 fumble recoveries returned for scores and two blocked punts returned for touchdowns.

More strange happenings

It's not often an offensive lineman scores a touchdown in a game. But Shaler offensive lineman Nick Carey scored twice for Shaler in a 49-14 loss to Fox Chapel.

In the second quarter, Shaler quarterback Brad Good was heading for the end zone. Just as he was about to be tackled, he pitched a lateral to Carey at the 2 and Carey took it in for a touchdown.

Then in the third quarter, Shaler went to a power formation on the goal line and put No. 78 in the backfield. Carey, a 6-foot-2, 258-pound senior, took a handoff and scored on a 1-yard run.

400 again

Sto-Rox quarterback Lenny Williams had 400 yards of offense Friday for the second game this season.

Williams completed 7 of 11 passes for 216 yards and rushed for 224 yards as the Vikings defeated previously undefeated Northgate, 35-31.

Williams is averaging almost 300 yards of offense per game. He has completed 50 of 85 passes for 1,014 yards and also rushed for 475.

A five-game season

Gilmour Academy canceled its game Saturday against University Prep, which means University Prep will play only five regular-season games.

University Prep plays in the City League, which has only six teams. City League teams have to get non-league games on their own, and University Prep has not been able to schedule any games outside the City League.

Every other City League team has eight games scheduled.


For more on high school sports, go to Mike White: or 412-263-1975. Twitter @mwhiteburgh


Create a free PG account.
Already have an account?