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Quaker Valley looks to bounce back from loss to South Allegheny

| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Chris Conlan (left), a sophomore, and Rocco Brown, a senior, tackle a South Allegheny player during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley quarterback Burke Moser, a senior, throws the ball to a teammate during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Tre'won Marshall, a sophomore, is tackled by a South Allegheny player during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
South Allegheny defensive back Cody Rhodes wraps up Quaker Valley's Chris Conlan during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | For the Daily News
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Shawn Puskar, a sophomore, watches play from the sidelines during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. The Quakers lost, 27-7, in their first home game of the season.
Sewickley Herald
Coaches talk to Quaker Valley players during a timeout. The Quakers lost to South Allegheny, 27-7, in their first home game of the season at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Chris Conlan, a sophomore, looks to the sideline after a play during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
An injured Tre'won Marshall is tended to by a Quaker Valley athletic trainer during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Dane Jackson runs with the ball during a punt return in a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley players attempt to tackle a South Allegheny player during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Members of the Quaker Valley football team huddle during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
A South Allegheny player attempts to tackle Quaker Valley's Dane Jackson, a sophomore, during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Tre'won Marshall, a sophomore, is tackled by a South Allegheny player during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
A South Allegheny player tries to take down Quaker Valley quarterback Burke Moser, a senior, during a game at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley quarterback Burke Moser, a senior, jogs off of the field after making a play during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
Quaker Valley's Chris Conlan, a sophomore, fumbles the ball during a game against South Allegheny at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
Sewickley Herald
South Allegheny's Justin Yarborough scoops up a fumble during a recent game against Quaker Valley at Chuck Knox Stadium in Leetsdale Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Kristina Serafini | For the Daily News

Two days after a loss to South Allegheny in his team's home opener, Quaker Valley football coach John Tortorea couldn't quite shake the defeat.

“We dominated in time of possession, plays run, yards from scrimmage,” Tortorea said. “We just couldn't finish some plays we needed to have.”

Turnovers played the key role in the Quakers' 27-7 loss to Century Conference foe South Allegheny on Friday night. Senior quarterback Burke Moser threw two interceptions — one in the end zone and another that was returned for a fourth-quarter touchdown — and the Quakers fumbled three times in the loss.

But the mistakes went deeper than that, Tortorea said, as dropped passes also cost Quaker Valley (1-1, 1-1) dearly.

Moser finished 8 of 19 for 108 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, but Tortorea said he could have thrown for more than 200 yards if it weren't for dropped passes.

“The receivers dropped at least seven balls that were significant passes, meaning passes over 30 or more yards, wide-open touchdowns,” Tortorea said.

Running back Aaron Cunningham also played a productive game for the Quakers, carrying the ball 15 times for 101 yards.

But in the end, Quaker Valley couldn't overcome its mistakes — or another early deficit.

In the team's first game, Moser helped rally the Quakers from 17 points down in the fourth quarter, accounting for all three Quakers touchdowns in a 20-17 victory. But the 27-0 hole the Quakers got themselves into Friday proved too large.

“To be honest, in eight quarters, we now have had the lead for four seconds,” Tortorea said. “And that was when we went ahead with four seconds left to beat South Park. Other than that, we haven't played with the lead in four quarters.”

Part of that, Tortorea said, is because of his team's overall youth. While Moser is a team leader as a senior, Tortorea counts mostly on a group of sophomores to make plays.

“Most of our skill players — everyone except Burke — is a sophomore,” he said. “And on defense, there's five sophomores playing there, too. So they're all trying to figure it out. They all played as freshmen, so they have some experience — it's just getting to the point right now where they're not believing at the beginning. They need to believe as soon as they get out of the gates.”

The Quakers will get another chance to do that this week when they host McGuffey (0-2, 0-2).

The Highlanders lost their opening two games, to South Fayette and Seton-La Salle, by a combined score of 84-6. But Tortorea said that count is misleading.

“All I know is they've played two of the best football teams in (Class) AA,” he said. “That's a big challenge, starting the year off with probably the best two teams in our conference.”

Tortorea said the Quakers need to “bring our big-boy pants” to deal with McGuffey's size and power-running game on offense.

Last week's contest marked the first home game since the cooperative sponsorship between Quaker Valley and Cornell took place. Tortorea said he was disappointed the Quakers didn't put on a better showing in front of a packed house at Chuck Knox Stadium, but they'll get another chance this week.

“Our fans are pretty supportive,” Tortorea said. “They saw that our kids were working hard. Hopefully, they'll be back on Friday.”

Doug Gulasy is a freelance writer.

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