Quaker Valley offense shines in Week 1 victory over South Park
By Nathan Smith
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 12:06 p.m.
Coach John Tortorea used the word pride to describe the Quaker Valley football team's 47-27 win over South Park last week — not just for his team's performance but the support the Quakers received.
“I am really proud of the community,” Tortorea said. “The support they showed was great. The stands were packed and everyone was positive. It was a fun night for everyone involved.”
It was a little more fun for the Quakers than the Eagles thanks to a fluent offense. Quaker Valley jumped out to a 26-14 lead by halftime and never looked back.
Dane Jackson's debut as quarterback was cut short due to cramping, but in two-and-a-half quarters, he recorded 172 yards on the ground — including touchdown runs of 98 and 13 yards — and connected on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conlan.
With Jackson watching from the sideline, freshman Amos Luptak came in at quarterback and recorded a 4-yard touchdown run.
“(Luptak) had to come in because (Jackson) was cramping up so bad,” Tortorea said. “He was fantastic. He went in and ran the offense well.”
Other scores included an Aaron Cunningham 19-yard run, a Trewon Marshall 5-yard run and Gennaro Trovato 3-yard run.
The success of the offense can be partly credited to the success of the line. The unit suffered a major blow when senior captain guard Garrett Zeigler tore his ACL two days into the season. Junior James Burnette came in and filled the void despite being the smallest lineman at 170 pounds.
“He did a great job,” Tortorea said. “You don't have many 170-pound guards in Class AA.”
The one area lacking was the defense. The switch to a 3-5-3 scheme allowed the team to hold South Park to 78 yards on the ground. The passing game wasn't as strong, though it did force two interceptions.
“We thought our secondary would be the strongest part of the defense because of the athletes we have,” Tortorea said. “We had trouble defending certain packages in the scrimmages, and South Park came in and took advantage of that. We gave up only 78 total rushing yards but over 250 through the air. We need to clean that up.”
The Quakers won't have much time to celebrate the win as they travel to South Allegheny Friday for another Century Conference showdown.
The Gladiators defeated the Quakers, 27-7, in 2012.
South Allegheny will be looking for its first win after it suffered a 40-3 loss to Seton-La Salle Saturday. The Gladiators led, 3-0, after a Audra Lewis kicked a 31-yard field goal but couldn't stop the Rebels' Tom Rizza, who had 63 rushing yards and three touchdowns, to go along with five receptions and an 11-yard touchdown.
While Tortorea knows his squad will be challenged in Week 2, he won't be changing how the team prepares.
“(South Allegheny) always has athletes,” Tortorea said. “But our focus is to worry about us and not worry about the other team. Every week, we want to think about how we get better. Our approach to a game is the same against whatever team we play.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Glassport Memorial Stadium.
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.
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