Quaker Valley looking to bounce back from loss to South Fayette
Quaker Valley hopes to become one of the top football teams in the WPIAL's Double-A classification.
Last Friday, the Quakers saw what that will entail.
South Fayette, the No. 2 team in the Trib Total Media Class AA rankings, continued its perfect season by blasting Quaker Valley, 52-0, behind 354 passing yards and four touchdowns by quarterback Brett Brumbaugh.
“They are as good as advertised,” Quaker Valley coach John Tortorea said. “Their quarterback is big, he's strong, (and) they're very well-coached. They've definitely got it going on. You've just got to play a perfect game; you can't make any mistakes.”
In defeat, Tortorea lamented a few missed opportunities — namely, three dropped interceptions that could have given the Quakers (2-4, 2-4) a needed momentum boost.
Even so, he said he was pleased with the way the defense battled and praised sophomore defensive back Jared Vescio for the work he did in his first career start.
“He played phenomenal as a sophomore, the first time getting out on the field playing against probably one of the top offenses in the WPIAL,” Tortorea said. “He just did a fantastic job. Unfortunately, he got injured and had to be taken out, and it looks like we won't have him for a couple weeks.” Offensively, the Quakers couldn't find a consistent running attack in the absence of leading rusher Dane Jackson, who missed the game with an illness. Quaker Valley finished with 59 yards rushing in the game.
That meant South Fayette could key on the Quakers' passing attack, leading to quarterback Burke Moser's worst statistical game of the season. The senior completed 5 of 13 passes for 56 yards, marking the first time all season he'd failed to top 100 yards.
“When the run game's not clicking, it's hard to utilize the pass game,” Moser said. “We just couldn't really get anything started. At halftime, the lead was just too much (38-0), and I think it really just showed that they had more than we did.”
Tortorea said he's hoping to build Quaker Valley into a consistent playoff contender, and games against top opponents like South Fayette show the team what it takes to get there.
He said the biggest improvement the Quakers need to make is in the weight room because most of the top teams are simply stronger.
“We have to have our offensive and defensive linemen to make a commitment to be in the weight room starting in November,” Tortorea said. “That's what it is — that's the whole nutshell.
“Our kids have a chance to go to the next level in football, so our kids need to make a decision: Do they want to win two or three games a year, or do they want to become like South Fayette and commit themselves in the weight room?”
Tortorea said South Fayette is more of a spread-it-out offensive team rather than a physical opponent. He said the Quakers' opponent this week, Seton-La Salle, will provide a glimpse of the latter.
The Rebels (5-1, 5-1) come into Friday night's game riding high after a 49-7 win over Burgettstown. They have their own talented Brumbaugh at quarterback — Brett's older brother, Luke — and a Division I tight end in Pitt recruit Scott Orndoff.
But Tortorea said the biggest reason for Seton-La Salle's success is the Rebels' power on offense and defense, led by senior fullback/linebacker Nick Sywyj.
“He is probably one of the best defensive players in our conference, if not (Class) AA,” Tortorea said. “Every time I turn on the film, I see No. 44 making some downhill football plays. We've got to figure out where 44 is on defense, and we've got to make sure we get a hat on him because if not, he'll ruin our offensive game.”
Moser said as a quarterback, he looks forward to games like Friday's. He knows the Quakers must win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but more than that, it's an important contest for the program.
“We can't have teams just (running) us over,” he said. “Win or lose, to put up a fight and (put) everything we've got out there and leave the field knowing we gave the best shot of winning the game and making the playoffs, that's huge not only for the season but for the program. We're still learning how to fight in games, we're still learning how to be tough.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.