on November 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Seneca fires on all cylinders, pounds Warriors for crucial win

SENECA — The Seneca High School football team has gone through this season waiting to break through to the light at the end of the tunnel, which finally came into clear view on Friday night at home against West-Oak.

The Bobcats played their most complete game of the season, scoring on offense, defense and special teams in routing West-Oak by a final score of 40-7 to close the regular season on a high note and lift Seneca into the postseason in head coach Ron Duncan’s first year at the helm.

The victory not only gives Seneca (3-7, 2-3 Western AAA) a chance to make some noise during the playoffs, with an matchup at Greer next week in the first round, but it also helps lay a foundation for the program that Duncan has stressed in the days leading up to the game.

“It’s big win for our program,” Duncan said. “One of our major goals was to make the playoffs, and it’s a big step for our future. We needed that experience this year and our kids responded well, and I’m extremely proud of them.”

Friday night marked a scoring explosion for Seneca, as the 40 points the Bobcats put on the board nearly doubled their previous best this season, 22 in a win at Blue Ridge.

In the opening quarter, the Bobcats scored 13 points, more than they totaled in four different games this season, in a matter of 1:33, starting with a 4-yard touchdown plunge from Chris Robinson to cap off a nine-play, 51-yard drive with a little more than four minutes to go.

On West-Oak’s ensuing drive, with the Warriors facing third-and-eight from their own 37-yard line, Seneca defensive lineman Donte Morris intercepted an errant Warriors pass, returning inside the 5-yard line before fumbling the ball away.

Senior defensive lineman Lucas White then fell on the ball in the end zone for his first career touchdown, giving the Bobcats a 13-0 lead they took into halftime.

The Warriors (5-5, 1-4 Western AAA) managed only 22 yards of total offense in the first half, but pulled within 13-7 on the second half kickoff after Ethan Partee raced 84 yards to paydirt.

But just 13 seconds later, Seneca junior Austin Hunter crossed the goal line for Seneca after returning the favor to the Warriors with his own 84-yard kickoff return that swung the momentum back to the Bobcats.

“That was huge, him being able to come back in there,” Duncan said. “He’s a tremendous athlete, and he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”

The Bobcats then pulled away late with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, with Antonio Blassingame, Quentin Hagood and James Hunter all scoring on short runs to cap off a memorable Senior Night.

“We were fighting for a spot in the playoffs for Coach Duncan,” White said. “We wanted to make it for him, and it being my last year here, I just wanted to give it up for him and I’m happy to be in the playoffs.”

Despite the lopsided score, West-Oak head coach Jay Brannon saw running back Brandon Hoover cross the 1,000-yard plateau for the season with 154 yards against the Bobcats, while his team also smashed the preconceptions many observers had about the Warriors joining the ranks of Western AAA this season.

“The biggest thing we had to do was change the culture, and I think we did that,” Brannon said. “We didn’t get to where I wanted to go, but the expectations are changed now.”

With Seneca now ready to take to the road in the first round of the playoffs next Friday, Duncan is looking for his team to outperform what turned out to be the Bobcats’ best performance of the season against West-Oak.

And after things had looked so bleak early in the year, it might be a little easier for the Bobcats to chug on full speed ahead now that they’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think around Week 4 we thought it was attached to a train, but we’re at the end of the tunnel now, and it’s really refreshing to get there,” Duncan said.

Seneca 40, West-Oak 7

W-O 0 0 7 0 — 7

SHS 13 0 6 21 — 40

SCORING SUMMARY

First quarter

SHS — Robinson 4 yard run (Rothell kick) 4:22

SHS — White fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed) 2:49

Third quarter

W-O — Partee 84 yard kickoff return (Keiger kick) 11:45

SHS — A. Hunter 84 yard kickoff return (pass failed) 11:32

Fourth quarter

SHS — J. Hunter 1 yard run (J. Hunter run) 11:00

SHS — A. Blassingame 1 yard run (kick failed) 7:05

SHS — Hagood 5 yard run (Rothell kick) 2:22

TEAM STATISTICS

W-O SHS

First Downs 9 16

Rushes-Yards 41-152 47-243

Passing Yards 13 46

Com-Att-Int 1-7-1 1-5-0

Punts-Avg. 4-29.8 3-32.3

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0

Penalties-Yards 4-30 9-63

INDIVUDAL STATISTICS

Rushing — West-Oak, Hoover 28-154, G. Holbrooks 3-7, Doyle 4-1, Blackwell 6-(-)10. Seneca, Robinson 26-152, J. Hunter 7-47, A. Hunter 3-24, A. Blassingame 4-7, Bibb 1-5, D. Earle 4-5, Hagood 1-5, M. Earle 1-(-)2.

Passing — West-Oak, Blackwell 1-7-1 13. Seneca, Hunter 1-5-0 46.

Receiving — West-Oak, James 1-13. Seneca, B. Hunter 1-46.