Quaker Valley keeps the faith during trying football season
Friday, November 8, 2019 | 7:58 PM
The record doesn’t tell the whole story. It rarely does.
That’s what Quaker Valley football coach Ron Balog told his seniors after their last game against South Park.
“The effort our seniors gave (that night) was emblematic of what they did all year,” Balog said.
“That will never ever be forgotten as long as I’m coaching at Quaker Valley. Forget about the record. They faced a lot of adversity and came through it with flying colors. Don’t judge a book by a cover that says 2-7, because that’s not their story.”
Balog said Quaker Valley’s season, which started out 0-5, was one of sacrifice.
Senior quarterback Michael Aspiotes took over the position in July after not playing it for years. Freshman Abe Djedid debuted in the first game at center against Central Valley. And players like senior Travis Adams changed positions weekly because of mounting injuries.
“I haven’t been a part of it, but I’ve seen teams that go down 0-4 or 0-5, and the seniors start cashing it in,” Balog said. “When seniors do that, the whole team does and your goose is cooked. Our seniors held the ship, stayed with the process and never let the younger guys waver.”
Two years removed from a WPIAL and PIAA title run, the Quakers were depleted in numbers.
The 2017 roster had 36 players, but unforeseen departures and injuries took a toll so much that Quaker Valley once had only 18 healthy players against Elizabeth Forward in Week 4, which is when Balog put the situation into perspective with the team.
“We had some guys that might get healthy, but we weren’t going to get everyone back because some guys were out for the season,” Balog said. “A lot of people were playing out of position, so the mentality really became, ‘So what, now what?’”
The Quakers won two of their next three games against Waynesburg Central and Beaver Area, and they played Hopewell and South Park close through halftime in their last two games.
“We knew if we just stayed together, we could be successful,” senior Travis Adams said. “I just always told (our underclassmen) to keep their heads up and play your hearts out, because any play could be your last. I loved every single minute of Quaker Valley football just because of the bond of this team.”
As challenging as the season was at times, the seniors were proud of their team.
“We fought hard all season and never gave up hope,” senior Matthew Von Kaenal said. “At Quaker Valley, we don’t go into games feeling like we’ll lose. We always believe we can come out with a victory. When I was a freshman, the seniors passed that down to us, and we passed it down to our underclassmen. They’ll keep passing it down, because that’s Quaker Valley football.”
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