Deer Lakes has little trouble with Quaker Valley
Deer Lakes coach Todd Hazlett admitted he didn't know what to expect from Quaker Valley, a Century Conference team that barely missed the WPIAL Class AA playoffs, when he agreed to play in Wednesday night's Week 10 nonconference game.
"They shocked Steel Valley two weeks ago. Talking to their coaches, they were mathematically in the playoffs come (last) Friday night," Hazlett said last night. "I'll be honest. I was real nervous about them. They play in a tough conference."
Hazlett had little reason to be nervous, as the Lancers rolled past Quaker Valley, 28-6, in their season finale at Lancers Stadium in West Deer.
Deer Lakes (2-8), which made the playoffs for the first time in school history last season, looked somewhat nervous early. On the Lancers' first two drives, they went three-and-out and later turned the ball over downs.
Quaker Valley (3-7) scored on its ensuing drive, taking a 6-0 lead following a blocked extra point.
Deer Lakes struggled offensively before senior Jordan Fragapane took a punt from the Lancers' 35-yard line to the Quaker Valley 35. Senior running back T.J. Trocki then evened the score, 6-6, with a 7-yard score with 2:17 left in the first half.
A Quaker Valley three-and-out and a shanked punt put Deer Lakes 25 yards from another score with about a minute left.
Sophomore quarterback Josh Plocki then punched the ball in from 2 yards out with four seconds remaining. Plocki hit Fragapane in the back of the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 14-6 halftime lead.
Plocki finished 7 of 12 passing for 80 yards and two scores. Four of Plocki's passes went to Fragapane for 55 yards and one score.
"The boys just really played relaxed and played great football," Hazlett said. "I don't know if that's because they're not worried about watching film with me tomorrow."
The offense wasn't the only unit that played well for Deer Lakes. Its defense limited Quaker Valley to 167 yards, allowed seven first downs and forced seven drives to end on a turnover or three-and-out.
Deer Lakes scored again when Fragapane caught an 8-yard pass from Plocki with 9:52 left.
Senior Cody Fleming intercepted quarterback Burke Moser near midfield, returning it to the Quaker Valley 10-yard line. Fleming finished the drive with a 9-yard catch from Plocki on fourth-and-goal.
Fleming carried the ball 15 times for 51 yards, and junior Cody Keenan added 45 yards on nine carries.
"It was definitely a different demeanor tonight," Hazlett said. "That comes back to them having fun."