Two weeks ago, after giving up a shutout to Northwood in the second half, the Seneca Valley coaches were so livid with their defense that they wanted to prove a point. So the first-team defense, which takes pride in their nickname “Gang Green,” was forced to wear yellow junior-varsity practice jerseys for a week until the players proved to the coaching staff that they deserved their colors back.
The Screaming Eagles defense showed its true colors Friday night, stopping third-ranked Quince Orchard on four consecutive goal-line plays in the final two minutes to preserve a 12-9 nonleague win in Germantown. It was a signature moment for 16th-ranked Seneca Valley (5-0) from top to bottom, and for a defense that had a chip on its shoulder all evening. And not because the unit wanted to prove that it belonged on the same field as the vaunted Quince Orchard defense. There was much more at stake Friday night.
“There should be no yellow jerseys on varsity. It’s very embarrassing. We took that as we were soft,” said James Jones-Williams, who tackled Quince Orchard quarterback Matt Choi on fourth and goal at the 3-yard line. “We got it done.”
After Kevin Joppy hauled in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Calvin Reighard to give Seneca Valley a 12-7 lead with 4 minutes 22 seconds remaining, Quince Orchard (4-1) answered promptly. D’Andre Johnson found a seam and returned the ensuing kickoff to the Seneca Valley 36, and on the next play, Tyrell Williams tore off a 32-yard run down to the 4-yard line.
But Williams was stacked up on first and goal, and the second play went to Johnson for no gain. Williams ran into a wall of Seneca Valley defenders on third and goal, and on fourth down, Choi rolled out left and tried to cut back and score. He was met on a vicious hit by Jones-Williams, and the exultant defense ran back to their sideline.
“We were all hyped up,” Seneca Valley linebacker Austen Herbert said. “It was like, we gotta get this stop.”
The dramatic finish — which included Seneca Valley taking a safety with two seconds left and then covering the ensuing kick — atoned for a stale first half that had 12 punts. Jones-Williams (86 yards of total offense) scored the game’s first touchdown in the third quarter on a 36-yard screen pass from Reighard.
Williams rushed for 116 yards in his first action since the season opener for Quince Orchard, but he was frustrated for most of the evening against Seneca Valley’s swarming linebackers. After the first drive of the third quarter, he lost his shoe in a scrum, and hobbled back to the sideline and slammed the cleat on the ground. On his final play of the game, after being stopped on third and goal with less than two minutes left, he lost his helmet and ran back to the sideline. He didn’t slam it. He just watched as Choi was stopped on fourth down, stunned.
“They just outplayed us on the line,” Williams said. “They seemed like they wanted it more.”
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