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By Johnny Falduto of Friday Night Final - only on The ROAR

Seneca (2-0, 6-1) remained perfect in region play with a dominant 58-14 win over Pendleton (1-1, 5-2) at Cunningham Stadium on Friday night.

Seneca opened the scoring in this one early, with Kamari Hudson taking the game’s second play from scrimmage 79 yards down the sideline to give the Bobcats a 7-0 advantage. On their next offensive possession, quarterback Jaxon Burnette found Zavean Poole for a 50-yard score of his own, extending the lead to 14-0 midway through the opening quarter.

“I think getting off to a fast start is what we’ve been missing previously in some games,” said the senior quarterback Burnette, who finished the game 13-19 for 300 yards and two touchdowns. “Having a fast start helped us get ahead, and once we get ahead, we believe we can keep a lead from anyone.”

The Bobcats’ offense would continue to pile onto their lead after running back Cade Eavenson converted on a fourth down to extend the drive, giving Burnette the chance to find a wide open Matthew Crane for his 8th touchdown catch of the year, making it 21-0 Bobcats early in the second quarter. Crane, a senior, finished the game with 147 yards on just seven catches.

After being held without a first down up to this point, Pendleton quarterback Luke Gray went 4-4 for 66 yards in just over a minute on the Bulldogs’ next offensive possession, finishing the drive with a 9-yard strike to junior LJ Maddox to cut the Seneca lead to 21-7.

Following a Nate Thorsland 31-yard field goal to make it 24-7, Seneca sophomore Rafael Little recovered a Pendleton fumble to set up the first of Cade Eavenson’s three scores of the night, making it 31-7. Pendleton would again answer with a score of their own on a Jaquan Dawson run up the middle, but a 90-yard kickoff return by Kamari Hudson right before the half would give all of the momentum right back to Seneca going into the break.

Cade Eavenson opened up the second half’s scoring with a short run out of the Wildcat formation, making it 44-16 in favor of the Bobcats midway through the third. “I love the Wildcat,” said the senior, who finished with 125 yards on 25 carries, “it gives me the chance to  just run straight down hill behind all my big guys and it’s awesome.”

Eavenson’s big night came after a stellar performance last week in which he totaled 190 yards and two rushing touchdowns. “It’s really helpful to have such a great line up front creating a great push for me,” he said. “And personally, what’s clicking for me is all the work I did in the offseason with my agility and balance… it’s really paying off.” He would add his final score of the night with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter, extending the Seneca lead to 51-14.

Seneca’s offense would cap off the night with a short 2-yard touchdown run following a long 90-yard drive to bring the final score to 58-14.

Quarterback Jaxon Burnette was quick to credit his teammates for getting the job done on both sides of the ball: “My O-line played great today, especially considering one of starters got hurt and our backups had to come in and step up. The receivers were flawless, it felt like every throw was wide open and it doesn’t get much better than that. And our defense played great again tonight, they have been playing great the past two games, and it’s really motivating to see them like that.”

“Our mindset going into this game was this is a second round of the playoffs for us,” said Eavenson. “We felt like we needed to prove a lot of stuff not only to the region, but to ourselves as well. We had a great week of practice and that really showed tonight for sure.”

Seneca’s next chance to prove themselves to the region comes next week at home against Daniel (2-0, 7-0), who has won 31 straight games, including two state championships, dating back to 2020.

“We are not backing down,” said Zavean Poole, who finished the game with 148 yards on four receptions, “it was a good confidence booster, but we just can’t have small mistakes and we have to stay locked in the whole game.”

“This win was huge for us, momentum wise,” said Burnette, “we needed a game like this to get prepared for next week. We’ve been waiting all year for our chance and we’re looking to make the most out of it.”

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Tune in to our Tri-County Tech High School Football Game of the Week Friday nights at 7pm followed by Friday Night Final.