North/East Xtra: Seneca Valley, Central Catholic meet in Northern Eight battle
The Seneca Valley duo of running back Forrest Barnes, left, and quarterback Jordan Brown present a major problem for Central Catholic's vaunted defense.
Central Catholic running back Luigi Lista-Brinza has been slowed by an ankle injury and is listed as questionable to play tonight.
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In last Friday's game against Connellsville, Seneca Valley senior running back Forrest Barnes had six touchdowns by halftime and finished with 305 yards and seven scores in his team's 64-14 win.
Barnes will likely have a tougher time finding the end zone tonight.
The Raiders (3-1, 2-1) will face off tonight against Northern Eight Conference foe Central Catholic (4-0, 3-0), which shut out its first three opponents and has allowed just three points this season.
"Any time you watch a Central Catholic team, you know they are going to be fundamentally sound," Seneca Valley coach Don Holl said. "They play hard; they tackle well; they get off their blocks. They're outstanding."
But so far this season the Vikings haven't faced an offense such as Seneca Valley's, which also features quarterback Jordan Brown. Brown led the WPIAL in passing during the regular season last year and has thrown for 499 yards and five touchdowns in four games this season. He has also run for 252 yards.
But Barnes is the home-run threat Central Catholic will have to give plenty of attention.
"All you can do is slow him down," Vikings coach Terry Totten said. "He's a big-time athlete. He could go [for a score] any time he touches the ball. We have to stay in our gaps."
Connellsville was unable to do that, as Barnes found himself in the open field all night long. Three of his seven touchdown runs Friday were at least 50 yards, including a 96-yard score in the first quarter.
"It was one of those strange nights," Holl said. "I think he only had nine carries in the first half and had six touchdowns. Every time he touched the ball, he seemed to be in open space and any time he is in the open, it's a scary thing for a defense."
Meanwhile, the Vikings will be hoping to get back their own No. 1 running back this week. Luigi Lista-Brinza ran for 264 yards in the first two weeks of the season, but then sustained an injured ankle in Central's Week 3 game against Canon-McMillan.
The injury was deemed a high ankle sprain and kept this junior running back out of the game against Fox Chapel last week. Totten said Lista-Brinza is questionable for the Seneca Valley game.
In Lista-Brinza's absence last week, Riley Redman ran for 154 yards on 17 carries. Redman and Lista-Brinza are two of four running backs who currently have at least 100 rushing yards on the season for the Vikings.