New Coach, New Quarterback, New Start
Head coach John Tortorea and quarterback Burke Moser lead QV to opening win.
Moser threw four touchdown passes and Tortorea led the team to a comeback victory his first night on the sidelines as Quaker Valley defeated rival Cornell, 27-26, Friday night in a non-conference game at Frank Letteri Stadium.
In the game that has become known over the years as the battle for the Sewickley Bridge, Moser threw a six-yard touchdown pass to fullback Aaron Cunningham with 5:41 remaining in the game to tie it at 26-26.
Quaker Valley kicker Nelson Westwood broke the tie and provided the winning margin by placing his pressure-packed attempt through the uprights.
Tortorea referred to Westwood as Quaker Valley’s “secret weapon” during training camp, and the fourth-year kicker hit three of his four extra-point attempts. Those key points made the difference in the outcome. Westwood also plays for the Quakers' soccer team.
Quaker Valley already has matched its victory total from a year ago after finishing 1-8 overall, including a 1-6 mark in the WPIAL Class AA Century Conference. Cornell made the playoffs last season after dropping down to Class A from AA.
Westwood’s final kick capped a comeback made possible by a pair of costly Cornell turnovers late in the first half.
It looked like Cornell would dominate the game after taking a 12-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Raiders held the upper hand early, holding the Quakers on downs and then driving the ball 97 yards for their first touchdown as quarterback Shawn Owens scored on a one-yard keeper.
Derrick Jackson’s three-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter stretched the Raiders’ lead to 12-0.
Quaker Valley capitalized on two Cornell lost fumbles, however, and Moser threw three touchdown passes before halftime to give the Quakers a surprising 20-12 lead.
Moser began the rally by hitting one of his favorite targets, slot receiver Jordan Vescio, on back-to-back touchdown passes of 24 and 11 yards. Moser gave the Quakers their first lead of the night with a nine-yard scoring strike to 6-foot-2 wideout Joe Peduto just before the half.
Moser, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior, took full advantage of the pass protection provided by his seasoned offensive line.
All five offensive linemen returned for Quaker Valley this season – Sergei Adelman, Robbie Love, Jacob Smith, Rocco Brown and Brandon Glenn. Cornell, which won last season’s meeting with Quaker Valley, 18-7, staged its own comeback in the second half.
The Raiders took a 26-20 lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Owens and a seven-yard scoring run by Tim Riley.
Quaker Valley returns to non-conference action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Freeport, usually a tough place to play on the road.The Quakers open Century Conference action Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Keystone Oaks.