North Xtra: It takes more than a pair for Seneca Valley to win
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Quarterback Jordan Brown and running back Forrest Barnes have received most of the headlines for the Seneca Valley football team this year, and rightfully so.
But the Raiders (10-1), the second-highest scoring team in the WPIAL Class AAAA, did not get to the district semifinals for the first time since 1997 with just a two-man team.
Wide receiver Jon Dorogy has a combined 1,044 yards from scrimmage, tight end R.J. McCauley has a team-best eight touchdown receptions and the offensive line has allowed the team's top offensive threats to have time to show off their skills.
"I think the difference between this year's team and last year's is just how many weapons we have," Dorogy said.
That was apparent in the Raiders' WPIAL quarterfinal matchup with Mt. Lebanon Friday, a 32-13 Raiders victory. Brown has thrown for 1,756 yards this season and run for another 510, while Barnes has 1,636 rushing yards and gained another 236 receiving. So the Blue Devils decided to key on those two players.
That allowed Dorogy, a compact 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior, the open space he needed to break away from the Blue Devils on 44- and 84-yard touchdown receptions in the first half.
Although Barnes finished third in the WPIAL Class AAA track and field championships in May in the 100-meter dash, Dorogy is actually a bit faster at shorter distances. Dorogy doesn't run outdoor track in the spring because he is the starting center fielder for the Raiders' baseball team, but he recorded the school's best 60-meter time in indoor track last winter. He also placed fifth in the event at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association state championship meet in February, finishing ahead of Barnes.
"In the 100, I think Forrest may be faster, but in the 60, I think Jon is a hair faster," Seneca Valley coach Don Holl said. "They're both really explosive."
That speed puts a lot of pressure on the opposing team's defense, which was evident Friday night.
"Having been on the other side of it before, when you have guys who can take it to the house at any point if you miss a tackle or are a step slow, it's scary for a defense," Holl said.
Then there's McCauley, who acts as Brown's "security blanket." McCauley, a 6-2, 190-pound senior who also plays linebacker, has 25 catches for 375 yards this season.
"He's a really good target," Holl said. "He has a high football IQ and knows how routes work together and where to find holes in the defense. And I can't remember him dropping more than one pass this season."
On defense, McCauley picked off a pass and had two sacks Friday night against Mt. Lebanon, while Dorogy also picked off a pass. The Raiders defense held Mt. Lebanon to just 13 points Friday, 17 below its average.
The Raiders will need all their weapons in all three facets of the game to be sharp if they want to win their semifinal matchup with top-ranked North Allegheny.
The Tigers handed Seneca Valley its only loss of the season, a 45-3 drubbing in September. North Allegheny, a two-time defending WPIAL Class AAAA champion, hasn't lost to a WPIAL school since Oct. 29, 2010.
But the Raiders believe they have a chance against the mighty Tigers (11-0).
"I have played them five times in high school and haven't beaten them once," Dorogy said. "But we can beat them. We have to play the perfect game."
• Game: North Allegheny vs. Seneca Valley.
• When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.
• Where: North Hills' Martorelli Stadium in West View.
• Skinny: The Tigers won an earlier meeting this season, 45-3.
First Published November 15, 2012 12:00 am