Quaker Valley senior QB off to impressive start
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Until last week, Burke Moser had never experienced a 14-point lead in his Quaker Valley varsity career.
So when the Quakers took a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter of their Century Conference clash with Keystone Oaks, Moser and his teammates didn't really know how to respond.
“We were like, ‘Oh my God' — a little shocked, almost,” said Moser, the team's senior quarterback. “We've never had an easy game, either, so I think a lot of guys were like, ‘This is our easy week; let's just settle down, save our bodies for next week's game.' We just kind of lost focus.”
The Quakers' lost focus nearly backfired on the team, as Keystone Oaks rallied to tie the game on a 5-yard Dale Klobicher run in the fourth quarter.
That woke Quaker Valley up as Moser hit Jennaro Trovato for an 11-yard touchdown pass later in the quarter to give the Quakers (2-2, 2-2) a 21-14 win over the Golden Eagles.
“It was a little closer than it should have been, but overall, (it was) just a solid win,” Moser said.
And it came with another solid performance from Moser. The senior completed 8 of 16 passes for 154 yards and the winning touchdown, and he also rushed for a 1-yard score in the first quarter.
Through four games, Moser has passed for 570 yards and five touchdowns and added three more touchdowns on the ground. The numbers account for eight of the Quakers' nine touchdowns this season.
Moser said he feels more comfortable on the field this year compared to previous seasons.
“It's night and day — just going back to that experience (factor),” he said. “It's much different going out there not only having played these teams before, but also having played so many games. It's just like a second nature. You don't really get nervous. You can make your reads a lot easier, so I think that's definitely helped me this season so far.”
This season, Moser is the senior leader on a team that counts on a group of sophomores at the skill positions.
Aaron Cunningham led the team with 239 rushing yards heading into the game against Keystone Oaks, but Dane Jackson scored the team's first touchdown against the Golden Eagles. Other sophomores such as Tre'won Marshall — the team's starter at running back until a Week 2 ankle injury — and Chris Conlan, the team's leading receiver, also have contributed.
All that talent makes Moser optimistic about the future of the Quaker Valley football program — and a little wistful he won't be around past this season.
“I would always wish that I had one more year with these guys (because of) the potential we could have,” he said. “It's too bad I only get one year with them, but (I'm) trying to make it count.”
Quaker Valley has a big opportunity to make this year count Friday night, as the Quakers host Steel Valley at Chuck Knox Stadium.
The Quakers and Ironmen enter Friday night's game tied for fourth place in the Century Conference. The top four teams in the conference will earn bids to the WPIAL playoffs.
Moser labeled Friday's contest as a make-or-break game if the Quakers hope to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
“We have five games left, four in conference,” he said. “We're going to have to end up winning two or three to be in the playoff hunt. I think that emphasizes just how big a game this is.
“We're kind of past the halfway point. You can't be dropping games. You can't just go out and say, ‘We didn't have it tonight.' And so I think if we do win two or three games, we'll be in the hunt. We'll be there. But it's a lot easier to say we're going to win those games than actually going out and doing it.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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