Quaker Valley redesigns offense, keeps playoff goals intact
Sunday, August 18, 2019 | 9:39 PM
Quaker Valley was already going to have a thinner-than-usual roster this season, and then its starting quarterback moved to another state in July.
Senior Cameron Wolf said the Quakers will still aim for another deep postseason run.
“Every team is going to be different year-to-year, and we understand that,” Wolf said. “To be honest, every single year our expectation is the same. We want to go to the state championship game. Our priorities haven’t changed. We believe in each other.”
How the Quakers make another push for postseason titles — the team won the WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A championship in 2017 — will be different than in the past.
The offense has transformed from a spread passing attack to a ground and pound run game led by a dual-threat quarterback in senior Mike Aspiotes.
Dylan Moore was earmarked to be the Quakers’ next quarterback, but a mid-summer family relocation changed those plans.
“Dylan was the guy, but unfortunately for us his family has a great opportunity in Ohio,” Quaker Valley coach Ron Balog said. “We knew it could happen, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. He would have been a two-way starter for us.”
Aspiotes was a slot receiver and outside linebacker last season, but has been preparing for the possibility of taking over at quarterback since the beginning of summer sessions.
“We were getting ready for every scenario, but I lost more than just one of the best players on the team,” Aspiotes said. “I lost one of my best friends at Quaker Valley. At the same time, it’s one of things where you know you have to step up and move forward.”
Aspiotes will be joined by Wolf at fullback and sophomore running back Patrick Cutchember in the backfield. Cutchember has proven to be a versatile player, moving from center to ball carrier and defensive end to outside linebacker in the last year.
Senior tight ends Matthew Von Kaenel and Travis Adams will provide pass catching options in the Quakers’ play-action game.
“Even when Dylan was going to be the quarterback, we had started that shift in offensive strategy since January,” Balog said. “We wanted a strong run game and Dylan out in space. We feel the same with Mike, who is also athletic and just has a little bit more size.”
The defense will feature many of the same players with Wolf, Aspiotes and Von Kaenel returning as starting linebackers. Junior defensive lineman Nate Nelson is expected to build upon “an outstanding sophomore season.”
The “wild card” of Quaker Valley will be an injurd Donovan Cutchember and how soon the team can get him back on the field. The senior is 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds and would be a welcome addition to an already strong defensive front.
If the team can stay healthy, Balog believes the Quakers will be competitive every week.
“We have enough experience to know what it takes to play in (the Tri-County West) conference,” Balog said. “Our first three games are Beaver Falls, Aliquippa and Central Valley, so we need to survive that gauntlet. If we do and we build confidence, we can definitely have a successful season. We know that competing with those teams and beyond is nothing to take lightly.”
Coach: Ron Balog
2018 record: 5-5, 5-2
All-time record: 237-341-14
Date, Opponent, Time
8.30, at Central Valley*, 7
9.6, Aliquippa*, 7
9.13, Beaver Falls*, 7
9.20, at Elizabeth Forward, 7
9.27, Keystone Oaks*, 7
10.4, Waynesburg*, 7
10.11, at Beaver, 7:30
10.18, Hopewell*, 7
10.25, at South Park*, 7
*Class 3A Tri-County West Conference game
Passing: Ethan Moore*
1,504 yards, 13 TDs
585 yards, 11 TDs
Receiving: Ryan Jackovic*
543 yards, 7 TDs
Tags: Quaker Valley