For the second time in a month, two graduates of Seneca Valley High School will play against each other in one of the NFL’s biggest rivalries.
Brandon Fusco, a 2005 graduate, and Don Barclay, a 2006 graduate, both are starting offensive linemen in the NFL. On Dec. 30, the Cranberry Township natives will play on opposite sides of the field when the Green Bay Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings.
Fusco and Barclay didn’t just go to the same high school together. They were best friends and grew up just five houses apart from each other in Cranberry.
After their high school graduation, Barclay went on to play for West Virginia University. Fusco played center at Slippery Rock University.
Fusco made his first career start during the first game of the 2012 season for the Minnesota Vikings. Barclay’s first career start came on Dec. 9, 2012, thanks to his performance just one week before that—the day the Packers played the Vikings.
At the end of the 23-14 Packers win, the friends met up on the same side of the field.
“After the game, we had the biggest hug,” Barclay said. “We had talked about this for so long, and it was actually happening.”
“We kept saying, ‘I can’t believe we’re here,” Fusco said. “We’re really here, playing against each other in the NFL.”
Also joining the players were two of their high school coaches from Seneca Valley—their head coach, Ron Butschle, and their assistant coach, Jim Lucot.
Butschle was head coach of the Seneca Valley Raiders in 2005 and 2006, when Fusco and Barclay were each in their senior year, respectively. Lucot, a social studies teacher, was an assistant coach.
Fusco and Barclay have stayed in touch with the two coaches over the years and still call or text every few days. Barclay and Fusco said the dedication of their two coaches made them into the players, and the men, that they are.
Both said their experience at Seneca Valley played a large role in their successes—and they had some advice for current students.
“Everyone says to work your hardest,” Barclay said. “That’s true. But you’ve got to set aside the distractions, like partying and hanging out, and just focus on getting to where you want to go.”
“I knew I was a good player and a good person,” Fusco said. “I believed it and I achieved it. You can do it, too.”
-- Article submitted by Seneca Valley School District.
Check out some of today's other top stories here .