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OP football opens title defense motivated by past failure

One cannot help but appreciate the honesty of Orchard Park senior running back Josh Dahl.

He didn't mince words when describing how he and his Quakers teammates felt heading into last year's opening day of football practice.

They were ticked that they had failed in 2014 to win the Section VI title at The Ralph, OP's home away from home. That disappointment fueled the team's fire throughout 2015.

That disappointment continues to fuel Dahl and the rest of the returning seniors even though the Quakers opened practice for 2016 as defending Class AA champions.

"It was a wakeup call," said Dahl who rushed for nearly 800 yards last season in helping the team to a 9-2 record. "Winning at the stadium became habit, an addiction. When it got taken away, it just set us off. We're looking not to let that happen again."

OP graduated several strong receivers, including Kensington Lions All-Star Chris Liberatore. But Dahl is back, as is third team All-Western New York quarterback Dillon Janca, who threw for nearly 2,600 yards last year and has thrown for more than 4,500 in his career.

"It's great to be able to defend the title but it just means everyone is coming after us," Janca said. "It just makes us want to work much harder to get that title again."

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