“Getting a win tonight was monumental,” said Seneca Valley Head Coach Fred Kim after his team beat the Blake Bengals in the last football game played on “The Green Carpet on Death Valley.”
The Screamin’ Eagles won 42-14, as senior running back Adrian Platt started the scoring with a 60-yard touchdown run, in which he seemed to fake out each individual Blake defender on his way to the endzone. Platt run for 251 yards and would score four more touchdowns to bring his total for the season to 38.
The Bengals came into Death Valley with a 4-3 record, and they ran into a team and school running high on emotion, and on a mission to win at all costs.
Many alumni returned to Seneca for the final game at Screamin’ Eagles Stadium, the hallowed ground which over 41 seasons saw the home team win 197 times, for a winning percentage of 82.4. The field that hosted 41 playoff games, of which Seneca won 23, on the way to winning 12 State Championships — the most of any team in Maryland.
“I was feeling the heat a little bit,” said Kim. “Blake is a good football team. Blake was not going to lay down for us because it was a special night. There was a lot of buzz, and a lot of alumni came back to watch this game. Guys came back from every decade. Almost every State Championship team was represented among the alumni. It was very important for us to get this win.”
The Screamin’ Eagles were wearing throwback uniforms to the 1987 State Championship team. Head Coach Fred Kim said he wanted his team to wear those uniforms to close out football at Death Valley. He wanted the team to wear the gold jersey with green numbers, in the old porthole-mesh style, with white pants, and white socks because that was the uniform he wore in 1987 when he won the state title.
“The kids were excited about the jerseys,” said Kim after the game. “I told the guys exactly what we were going to wear. Normally, I let the kids pick the color combinations we wear, and I don’t get involved in that stuff, but for this game it was different.” Kim even wore his white State Champions jacket from 1987 on the sideline.
“Pregame was tough for everybody involved,” said Coach Ali Hashemzadeh, Seneca’s Defensive Backs Coach. He played on the 1992 Seneca Valley State Championship team. “There is so much history. There were so many text messages throughout the day and alumni getting a hold of us. It is scary to think that this field is not going to be here anymore.”
“Pre-game was emotional,” said Kim. “It was hard to be in that weight room for the last time before taking this field to play football. All of the coaches who are alumni were having a hard time keeping their emotions in check.” He said that he couldn’t keep it together as he addressed the team in the gym. Kim read a passage from a FaceBook post written by former player Brian Fleury, who was the quarterback on the 1997 State Championship team.
Earlier on Friday, Fleury who went on to play at the University of Maryland and is working is currently working in the NFL, wrote on FaceBook, “Tonight… As the band and poms prepare to lead the way onto the field, the young men will converge on their coach and they will kneel. With the spirit of the hundreds whose blood, sweat, and tears soak the field before them, they will ask for blessings and vow to give their best. Tonight… football will be played on the field at Seneca Valley High School, for the final time.”
When Coach Kim was asked earlier this week, if the current players understood the significance of this game to the alumni and Maryland high school football history, he said he was unsure if they fully grasped the meaning of the game.
On Friday night, thanks to the returning alumni and coaches, Kim said the current Screamin’ Eagles can now see how they are connected. “They see that there is a direct link to them from them to every player that has come before them. They can see how they play for that legacy of the thousands of Screaming Eagles who had toiled on that field before them.”
“We’ve been trying to emphasize to the kids, ‘Hey guys, you don’t get it. 2016 is the last team ever to play on this field.’ I think they get it now that they’ve seen all the alumni come back, and Coach Changuris and they see the connection now.”
“It is great to be a senior playing on this field,” said senior quarterback Zack Robinson. “There is so much tradition associated with this field, so many people that have come before us and they have shown so much love and support for us. We wanted to give them back to them by beating Blake the way we did.”
At the end of the game, legendary Seneca Valley Head Coach Terry Changuris returned to the field, where his teams prepared to win seven state titles, one last time to address the Screamin’ Eagles football team. One last time on that hallowed ground.
Changuris took a knee, and the current players and returning alumni all joined him as he said the blessing which hundreds Seneca Valley football of players have spoken prior to every game for decades.
They asked for a blessing, and they vowed to do their best.
And it was over. It was the last official football related activity to take place on the Seneca Valley field.
The alumni, players, and coaches remained on the field to share stories of the old days, or talk about this teams’ chances to bring home that elusive 13th state title, with 8-0 Damascus looming large in the future as next week’s opponent. Each one walked off the field. Each one took one last look around at the bleachers, and the score board, and Bermuda and Rye Grass field, and their memories.
Eventually, the field was empty. Rain fell in very interment drops, not a storm or downpour, but drops, like tears falling on the “Green Carpet at Death Valley” because the Eagles would no longer soar on that field. When football is played at Seneca Valley again in two years, it will be at a different spot, and not on that patch of earth which has seen such history.
Football was be played on THE field at Seneca Valley High School for the last time.
Top: Adrian Platt (7) runs for an 80-yard touchdown, his third of the game to stake Seneca Valley with a 28-7 lead in the third quarter.
Next: Senior quarterback Zack Robinson (12) drops back to throw a deep pass.
Next: Senior running back Adrian Platt (7) runs for his fourth touchdown, a nine-yard run to make it 35-7.
Video: Adrian Platt (7) runs 80 yards for the Touchdown.
Next: Current Screamin’ Eagles and alumni gathered for a photo as the last football game, a 42-12 Seneca Valley victory was played on the field at Seneca Valley High School.
Next: Coach Fred Kim greets former Seneca Valley Coach Terry Changuris as the coaches addressed the Screamin’ Eagles for the last time on the Death Valley field.
Next: A Seneca alumnus leads the team and fellow alumni in a chant after the 42-12 victory over Blake in the final game at Seneca Valley for two years.
Next: Coach Terry Changuris leads current and former players as they take a knee and ask for a blessing and vow to do their best.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.
All of the photos in this post, as well as hundreds of others from this game, are available for purchase right now at the Germantown Pulse Sports Photo Shop.