It's going to take a lot more than a tremendous run defense to beat Orchard Park this season.
The Quakers' passing game came to life on Saturday as Kyle Hoppy threw for 251 yards in a 34-0 victory over Lancaster. An sun-soaked homecoming crowd estimated at 1,700 watched as the undefeated Quakers rode the left arm of Hoppy to the Class AA South title. In a pregame ribbon-cutting ceremony, OP's new turf field was officially dedicated.
Hoppy connected with five different receivers on his way to completing 16 of 22 passes. He threw touchdowns to Daniel Nesci and Luke Nowakowski and accounted for a third on a 70-yard run. His backfield mate, Jeff Tundo, added 82 yards on 22 attempts and two touchdowns.
"I got lucky today because they came after Jeff, and I took it the other way and kind of surprised them a little bit with our passing," said Hoppy, who entered the game averaging 83.8 yards per game. "You can't let Jeff go off by himself, you have to account for him. When they do that, a lot of things open up, and we just capitalized on it."
Nesci had five catches for 72 yards and Kyle Robinson caught four passes for 85 yards.
While the offense had a big day, the same can be said for the defense. OP has outscored its first six opponents, 193-18, while pitching four shutouts.
Linebacker Brendan Nuessle had 12 tackles, giving him a team-high 58. Cameron Hicks and Gary Davies added 10 each. David Goltz and Kyle Perla had interceptions. Lancaster got inside OP's 25-yard line twice, but couldn't score.
"It's awesome. It's [shutouts] what we work for on defense," said Nuessle. "We don't get to score points. We don't get the glory, but when they don't score it feels just as good."
Lancaster trailed by just 13-0 through three quarters, but OP broke the game open with a 21-point fourth quarter. Quarterback Frank Gregori threw for 153 yards while Brandon Potyok and Matt Speyer had 12 tackles each, but Lancaster was still overmatched.
"They just rise to the occasion," said Lancaster coach Len Jankiewicz. "Sometimes it's not what we're doing, it's how good the team is that we're playing. Orchard Park will continue to do well as long as he [Hoppy] continues to make great decisions, and he certainly made a lot of them today."