Friday’s night contest between Central Valley and Quaker Valley was billed as a matchup of two of the top teams in Class 3A. It ended up a lopsided affair and sent a message to the rest of the Beaver Valley Conference and the WPIAL.
Quaker Valley jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead and throttled the Warriors, 39-0. Ricky Guss continued his stellar play, accounting for four total touchdowns, helping the No. 4 Quakers improve to 5-0.
“We executed,” head coach Jerry Veshio said. “We talked about this at the very beginning of the season, when I first came on board five minutes before it started, but we’re going to be simple. We don’t have a lot of offense in or a lot of defense in—we execute.”
Central Valley entered the matchup ranked No. 2 in Class 3A and winners of three straight after a season-opening loss to Class 4A power South Fayette. But playing without starting quarterback Nico Battisti, who sustained a season-ending knee injury last week against North Catholic, the Warriors were limited offensively.
The Quaker offense set the tone from the opening kickoff, needing just three plays to score. Ethan Moore’s 52-yard run on second down set up Isaiah McNair’s 26-yard end around touchdown.
Sophomore Jawon Hall started at quarterback for Central Valley, and the Warriors opened their first possession with two straight runs, a sign of things to come. Central Valley attempted just seven passes all night.
The Quaker defense stopped the Warriors twice on fourth-and-short in the first seven minutes of the game, and the second turnover on downs set up Quaker Valley inside the Central Valley 30-yard line. Guss needed just four plays, all runs, to score from 22-yards out, stretching the lead to 13-0.
Central Valley went without a first down in the opening 12 minutes, but a Quaker Valley fumble early in the second quarter put the Warriors in position to cut into the lead. Their drive eventually stalled, and the Quakers’ Ryan Jackovic blocked Brendan Jugan’s 34-yard field goal attempt.
Central Valley’s defense responded with a three-and-out, but the Warriors were whistled for unnecessary roughness on the punt. Quaker Valley capitalized, scoring seven plays later on Guss’ second touchdown run of the night. The senior quarterback went airborne over a defender, flipping into the endzone with just over three minutes left in the half.
Quaker Valley squandered a short field late in the half but was firmly in control, 19-0. The defense stymied the Central Valley attack, limiting the Warriors to just seven total yards of offense.
The Quakers padded their lead with a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter. Guss corralled a bad snap and sprinted in from 27 yards out, and he later hooked up with Joey Peduzzi over the top for a 23-yard passing score. Ethan Moore capped the scoring with a 58-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Central Valley was held to just 152 total yards of offense, most of which came on its final drive with reserves in, and the Warriors compounded matters by committing nine penalties. It was Quaker Valley’s first shutout of the season and signaled the defense is starting to catch up with the high-octane offense, especially the line.
“Last year they got us at home, and really ran whatever they wanted at us,” senior defensive lineman Oliver Funk said. “The chemistry of the starting four on the defensive line gives us the confidence to make the plays, and the preparation in practice, we really try to go 100 percent everyday in practice, to make ourselves the line we want to be.”
“There was talk all week our defense was not as good as Central Valley’s, and I think tonight we showed our defense was pretty doggone good,” Veshio said.
Hall left the game in the third quarter due to injury, and senior running back Danny Santia left a short time later adding to Central Valley’s woes. Freshman Ameer Dudley played quarterback over the final quarter and a half.
Guss ran for more than 100 yards and threw for another 100, and Moore rushed eight times for 128 yards.
Central Valley (3-2) will look to regroup next week at Beaver, and the Quakers will look to remain undefeated against Hopewell.