Quaker Valley seniors hope to go out with a bang
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Quaker Valley senior Rocco Brown remembers being on the wrong side of a few lopsided scores, which made last weekend's blowout win over Burgettstown all the more satisfying.
“It was awesome because we've been on the other end of that pretty often in the past few years,” the three-year starting lineman said of the Quakers' 42-8 Homecoming win over the Blue Devils. “So it was pretty nice to get a big win.”
The Quakers (3-5, 3-5) dominated winless Burgettstown, scoring the first 42 points of the game before surrendering a fourth-quarter touchdown and two-point conversion.
“We needed a win to make ourselves feel better, and they definitely went out and did that,” coach John Tortorea said.
Once again, sophomores led the way for Quaker Valley. Dane Jackson rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries, and he opened the scoring with a 5-yard reception.
Classmate Aaron Cunningham scored on two 1-yard runs, and Chris Conlan caught a 25-yard touchdown pass.
But the Quakers' most experienced skill player did his part as well, as senior quarterback Burke Moser threw for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Though Quaker Valley starts few seniors, Tortorea said their leadership has been invaluable this season.
“I couldn't ask for two better young men than Burke Moser and Rocco Brown,” he said. “I attribute that to how they've been raised. Their families do a great job with them, and I'm just completely blessed to have both of them. They've given us everything we've asked.”
Brown, Moser and the other seniors will likely take the field for the final time Friday night when the team hosts Ellwood City in a nonconference game at Chuck Knox Stadium. Senior Night festivities will honor the Quakers' most seasoned players.
Moser described it as a “weird” feeling.
“This is going to be hard, Saturday morning, waking up knowing that I'll never put on a Quaker Valley uniform again,” he said. “That's tough. Even though I've lost a lot more than I've won, still, the experience — I wouldn't trade anything for it. It just changed me in a lot of ways, a lot of good.”
Quaker Valley holds a 7-29 record since 2009, the senior class' freshman year. But the wins total increased from zero in 2009 to one in 2010 and three in each of the past two seasons.
Brown and Moser said the team's improvement can be measured in more than just wins and losses.
“In years past, there's never really been a fight,” Moser said. “There's just always kind of been those one or two weeks out of the year where you play a team that's significantly worse than you, you go out (and) outplay them that one week and call it a season after 2-7 or whatever. But I think this year, there's definitely a lot more desire, a lot more passion.”
Both seniors say the program has a bright future as well, with all the sophomores ready to lead beginning next season.
Because the Quakers already rely heavily on the sophomore class, the seniors have taken the younger players under their wing. Brown and Moser got their start as sophomores, so they understand the situation their teammates are facing.
“I think whenever I was younger, the captains and the seniors didn't really do a good job of incorporating the younger kids and showing them how to build the team,” Brown said. “I'm really trying to focus on that.”
Unless Quaker Valley schedules a 10th game for next week — which Tortorea said was unlikely at this point — Friday will be the last game of the season for the Quakers.
Ellwood City (1-7) enters the game in last place in Class AA's Midwestern Conference, but the Wolverines have lost three games by a touchdown or less this season.
Moser needs just 14 more yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark on the season, but he's looking more to end his career on a high note with a win.
“I think we just kind of want to end with a bang,” he said. “Whether that's going out and scoring 50 points, whether that's having a great defensive game, however we can get it done I think we just want to end with something special.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.