Quaker Valley QB Guss too much for Derry defense
Quaker Valley senior quarterback Ricky Guss had a game to remember.
He was more than a handful for the Derry defense, which struggled to corral him.
Guss rushed 106 yards, scored four touchdowns and threw for two more to lead No. 2 Quaker Valley (10-1) to a 51-29 victory against No. 7 Derry (9-2) in a WPIAL Class 3A first-round game Friday at Chuck Knox Stadium.
Guss' two touchdown runs early in the third quarter put the game out of reach, stretching a 23-15 halftime lead to 39-15.
Guss, who completed 11 of 23 passes for 194 yards, had help. Jordan Taylor rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Isaiah McNair had five catches for 101 yards and a score.
"They were a better football team," Derry coach Tim Sweeney said. "They are a class act."
Quaker Valley moves into the semifinals against Seton LaSalle, which defeated Freeport.
"Ricky is a special player, a coach on the field," Quaker Valley coach Jerry Veshio said. "He communicates well with the coaches on the sidelines. His insight is invaluable, and he's a heck of an athlete."
Derry didn't quit in the second half. Justin Huss scored on a 46-yard run, carrying numerous Quaker Valley defenders the final 15 yards into the end zone.
Ryan Polinsky, who completed 9 of 24 passes for 131 yards, hit Onreey Stewart with a 20-yard score in the final minute.
"People better get used to seeing Derry in the playoffs," Sweeney said. "There is only one team in Class 3A that has more than 20 wins, and that school is Aliquippa. We have 20, and that speaks volumes with this program. We're not going anywhere."
Things started out great for Derry as Colton Nemcheck fell on a squib kick at the Quaker Valley 15. Three plays later, Nemcheck scored on an 8-yard run for a 7-0 lead 1 minute, 11 seconds into the game.
"We needed something good to happen early, and it did," Sweeney said. "But that team has a lot of seniors, and they didn't panic."
Quaker Valley responded with a 14-play, 65-yard drive with Guss scoring on a 1-yard keeper to tie the score, 7-7.
"We knew they did that. We just mishandled it," Veshio said. "We did rebound real quickly."
A poor Derry punt set up Quaker Valley's second score, a 30-yard pass on fourth-and-7. McNair out jumped a Derry defensive back in the back of the end zone for a Guss pass for a 15-7 lead.
Derry answered that touchdown and tied the score at 15 when Stewart scored on a 1-yard run. The 11-play, 61-yard drive was aided by three penalties.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ethan Moore rumbled 58 yards to the Derry 25. On third down, Guss scored on a 22-yard quarterback draw and a 23-15 lead.
Derry missed two scoring opportunities after Quaker Valley took the lead. The Trojans drove to the Quakers' 21 and 15 but were turned away.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Schofield_Trib.