2017 PIAA Class 3A Title Game Preview: Quaker Valley (7) 13-1
Written by: Billy Splain on Friday, December 8th, 2017
Class 3A Championship Sat. Dec. 9th 12:00 PM at Hersheypark Stadium
Head Coach: Jerry Veshio
How they got here:
Of all the teams playing for a State Title this week at Hershey, the Quakers are probably the most “under the radar” team that will suit up. They faced on of their biggest challenges before the season began. Former Head Coach John Tortea stepped down from his position as head coach just days before fall practice began. Luckily for Quaker Valley, they had an ace in the hole named Jerry Veshio, a former head coach for the Quakers back in 1986. Jerry hit the ground hard thanks to the retention of the current staff, and this underdog began to win games nobody thought they’d win. (with exception to the team and staff).
Their first task was a highly ranked WPIAL contender, Cardinal Wuerl. They dispatched them 55-21. Led by quarterback Ricky Guss (2,142 yds passing for 28 tds) and receiver Isaiah McNair (886 yds receiving) , the Quakers quickly became a scoring machine averaging 37.7 points per game. Guss has also added over 1,000 yards running the ball while running back Jordan Taylor has added nearly as much. Defensively they’re pretty stout also, giving up just 12.8 points per contest.
The Quakers were never challenged, scoring more than 39 points in their next 6 games, until a meeting with then #1 ranked Aliquippa. That game was a 22-7 loss, but one would think they learned something as once again they went unchallenged until another meeting with those same Quips in the WPIAL Final. On a monsoon like day, Issac Guss chased down an Aliquippa back in the endzone and his teammates finished off the tackle for a safety. Those 2 points were all they scored, and all they needed to move on to the PIAA state playoffs where they took care of a solid Sharon Tiger team to get to Hershey.
What would it mean for Quaker Valley to win the game:
Our community is exhilarated that a team that never won a district title could win the first state title in the 62 year history of the program. It would obviously be pretty big
What was your teams defining moment:
Some might think it was the game we won against Aliquippa, but I go back to the very first day of practice. The kids went through a tumultuous situation with the coach leaving. The defining moment was how they responded to me that first day. How they responded to my philosophy.
Keys to winning the game on offense:
We put a few wrinkles in every week. Our qb will have to read any defense they throw at us. We’re just going to continue to do what we’ve done all year. We’ll make adjustments as needed.
Keys to winning the game on defense:
They have a great running attack. They don’t have the flashy players, don’t have to D1 guys like Aliquippa did
Here’s a breakdown of Quaker Valley’s projected starters in the Class 2A PIAA State Championship game with coaches quotes:
13 QB Ricky Guss, 6′ 2″ 195 lbs
He’s our coach on the field. He sees things and makes suggestions. He can throw, and when he needs to he can run the ball.
8 RB Jordan “JT” Taylor, 5′ 8″ 195 lbs Sr
22 RB Andrew Seymour, 6′ 1″ 222 lbs Sr
Jordan’s like a 195 powerball, he puts his shoulder down and lays people out. We run a lot of zone read and we rely on him to read the defense. A tremendous asset
1 WR Isaiah McNair, 5′ 11″ 178 lbs Sr
2 WR Ethan Moore, 6′ 0″ 165 lbs J
7 WR Ryan Jackovic, 6′ 5″ 195 lbs Jr
Isaiah is one of the leaders, he is one of the leaders in the history of the school. Solid, very humble. We relay on him to not only catch the ball, we run the sweep with him. He never comes off the field. Ryan is a nice large size receiver. He’s just a beast and we’re not afraid to throw him the ball anywhere on the field
52 C Jacob Pesicka, 6′ 2″ 227 lbs Sr
57 OL George Francic, 6′ 0″ 205 lbs Jr
76 OL Josh Magee, 6′ 1″ 235 lbs Sr
59 OL Xander Burnette, 6′ 1″ 245 lbs Sr
55 OL Oliver Funk, 6′ 2″ 218 lbs Sr
We wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are today if it wasn’t for those 5-6 guys up front.
55 DE Oliver Funk, 6′ 2″ 218 lbs Sr
22 DE Andrew Seymour, 6′ 1″ 222 lbs Sr
74 DL Jacob Kolessar, 6′ 0″ 245 lbs S
52 DL Jacob Pesicka 6’2 230 Sr
Tenacious. We charted our defensive line, the defensive ends had the same numbers and the guards also had similar numbers. Both the right and left side play well.
13 LB Ricky Guss, 6′ 2″ 195 lbs Sr
8 LB Jordan “JT” Taylor, 5′ 8″ 195 lbs Sr
10 LB Isaac Guss, 5′ 11″ 185 lbs Jr
Our line free’s up these guys to make the plays, and they’re all play makers. They are offensive guys so they have a good feel of where the ball is going.
1 DB Isaiah McNair, 5′ 11″ 178 lbs Sr
7 DB Ryan Jackovic, 6′ 5″ 195 lbs Jr
2 WR Ethan Moore, 6′ 0″ 165 lbs Jr
36 DB Smith Johnson 6’0 180 Jr
They’re just a very athletic group. They’re fluent, they cover well. We don’t do anything exotic and they just do what they need to do
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