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With help from Cornell co-op, Quaker Valley optimistic about playoff push

| Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, 8:08 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Quaker Valley's Dane Jackson. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Quaker Valley receiver Blake Lipke. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

The evening of Sept. 2, 2011, was exhilarating for the Quaker Valley football team. And a foreshadowing of sorts.

Quaker Valley defeated Cornell, 27-26, in a pulsating opening to the season and to the head-coaching career of the Quakers' John Tortorea.

Unknown at the time was that Cornell, the team that nearly beat the Quakers, would join them three months later.

Under a cooperative sponsorship, about 15 players from Cornell will play for Quaker Valley beginning this season. The agreement was forged in December, and the influx of talent from a Class A playoff team could enhance the performance of a Quakers squad that already had seven starters returning on both offense and defense. A number of those first-teamers, Tortorea said, were freshmen forced to play last year because of injuries.

“We couldn't be happier about where we've come since the beginning of last season,” said Tortorea, whose Quakers finished 3-7 but improved markedly over the previous two years, when they were a collective 1-17.

“We missed the playoffs by one game. With the addition of players from Cornell, we feel our team is significantly improved.”

Good enough to reach the postseason for the first time since 1999? Quarterback Burke Moser is optimistic.

“We have a single goal — playoffs,” said Moser, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior. “We're prepared, and we think we can make a run.”

Moser and the Raiders' offense will benefit from the addition of two swift sophomores — receiver/defensive back Dane Jackson, of Cornell, and running back Trevon Marshall, a transfer from Ambridge. Blake Lipke also should make an impact.

“We now have a lot of kids who can turn a 5-yard run into a 60-yarder,” said Tortorea, who plans to groom Jackson as the “quarterback of the future.”

The Quakers coach also expects quality play from Rocco Brown, who has switched from guard to tight end/defensive end as a senior.

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