Boys Varsity Football
Beaver County Times
LEETSDALE — Quaker Valley has canceled tonight's football game against Keystone Oaks following potential exposure to COVID-19.
The Quaker Valley School District posted the announcement on its website around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon. The Quakers had been scheduled to travel to Dormont to play Keystone Oaks at 7 p.m. Friday night.
"The District, in consultation with the Allegheny County Health Department, is in the process of conducting deeper contact tracing," the statement read. "This decision was made for the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, and game personnel."
Quaker Valley previously dealt with a COVID-19 exposure concern prior to the season.
The cancelation is just the latest chapter in a trying season for the Quaker Valley football team. The Quakers are 0-5 and have been shut out in four of their five games.
The QV-Keystone Oaks game is the second cancelation involving area teams this week. COVID-19 forced New Castle to cancel last week's game against Beaver as well as this week's game against Blackhawk. New Castle and Blackhawk are scheduled to make up their game on Oct. 30 after the regular season ends.
By: Greg Macafee
Friday, October 16, 2020 | 4:48 PM
Quaker Valley has canceled its football game Friday night with Keystone Oaks.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Quaker Valley School District is not playing tonight’s football game at Keystone Oaks School District due to recent exposure to covid-19,” the school district said in a statement on its website.
In consultation with the Allegheny County Health Department, Quaker Valley is in the process of conducting deeper contact tracing. The statement said the decision was made for the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and game personnel.
Quaker Valley (0-5, 0-3) was set to travel to Keystone Oaks (3-2, 2-1) Friday night for a Northwestern Six conference game.
The decision to cancel the Quaker Valley football game came on the heels of the North Catholic boys soccer team quarantining for 14 days due to a possible coronavirus exposure in a recent match. North Catholic handed Quaker Valley its first loss of the season on Wednesday, 3-2.
By: Greg Macafee
Sunday, September 27, 2020 | 11:01 AM
One thing every football coach looks for in his quarterback is an ability to move from one play to the next.
Most coaches want their signal-callers to be able to forget mistakes and handle the next play with a clear head. Though he hadn’t played varsity quarterback before this season, Quaker Valley junior Patrick Cutchember showed coach Ron Balog that quality.
“Coming off of a good sophomore year, one thing you find out about him really quick is that he just doesn’t get shaken up,” Balog said. “It’s kind of like water off a duck’s back. It kind of just rolls right off of him, and he’s ready to go the next play. But, of course, he has all the physical tools to basically do anything he wants.”
Cutchember said he’s always taken pride in keeping an even keel, and he’s tried to elevate that quality this season in order to succeed in his new position.
“Throughout my football career, all my coaches have always told me to have a short-term memory because it really helps you play better,” Cutchember said. “If you’re worried about what you did on the last play or the last two plays, you’re not completely focused on playing your best on the next play you have coming up.”
Although the Quakers still are getting their feet underneath them for the 2020 season after two losses, Cutchember has been one of the bright spots. On Sept. 18, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound quarterback carried the ball 30 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns while and completed six of his 16 pass attempts for 103 yards.
Cutchember’s performance came a week after Quaker Valley suffered a big loss to defending WPIAL Class 2A champion Avonworth. But it also came on the heels of an offensive philosophy change as the Quakers switched from an option-style offense to a single-wing attack, which they ran last year.
“I liked it last year, and I like it again this year,” Cutchember said. “It’s something that kids on the team remember from last year so they can help kids on the team who struggling, who might not be able to learn it as quick.”
Cutchember has assimilated to his new role rather quickly. With another year of development to go, Balog believes that Cutchember could be a special player.
“His potential level is limitless just because of the fact that he likes to work and get better,” Balog said. “He has all the physical tools, and as long as he keeps the same mindset of wanting to learn, wanting to work and wanting to get better, the sky is the limit.”
While he’s had some success through the beginning of the year, the athletic junior quarterback still is looking to improve.
“I just want to be able to get more comfortable with the position and be able to complete more passes,” Cutchember said. “I just want to get better at being a better quarterback, and maybe down the road we can open up the offense a little more and the passing game can be a real threat for us.”
By: Jerin Steele
Friday, September 11, 2020 | 11:45 PM
Coming off a historic season that culminated in a WPIAL Class 2A championship, Avonworth had a lot of great players to replace, including a 2,500-yard passer and a 2,300-yard rusher, as it moved up to Class 3A this fall.
In their first chance to showcase their talents under the bright Friday night lights, the likes of junior running back Ian Syam and sophomore quarterback Nate Harper looked up to the task.
Syam rushed for 125 yards and three scores and Harper threw for more than 100 yards and a touchdown to help the Antelopes dispatch visiting Quaker Valley, 35-0, in a Northwestern 6 Conference game.
Syam and Harper highlighted a mostly new-look Antelopes team that controlled the game from start to finish.
After a 32-yard run by Patrick Cutchember on the first play from scrimmage that put the Quakers on the Antelopes’ 48-yard line, Avonworth (1-0, 1-0) only allowed Quaker Valley (0-1, 0-1) to cross midfield once the rest of the game.
“We have four kids with significant playing time back, so we’re happy with what they did,” Antelopes coach Duke Johncour said. “They’re young and they’re learning.”
Syam, who played behind standout running back Jax Miller last season, scored on a 3-yard run on Avonworth’s opening possession.
After a muffed punt by Quaker Valley set up the Antelopes at the Quakers’ 2, Syam cashed in again to make it 13-0.
On the first play of the second half, Syam sliced through the defense with several strong cuts, scoring from 60 yards out, pushing the lead to 27-0.
“(Syam) ran hard and ran well. In the first half, we told him we wanted him to pick it up a little bit and then he came out in the second half and had that big run, which was good. That set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Harper, who backed up 2,300-yard passer Park Penrod last year, was solid in his first varsity start. He connected with fellow sophomore Peyton Faulkner on a 35-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Faulkner had four receptions for 51 yards.
Quaker Valley also sports a young roster with only three seniors. The Quakers were hampered by 10 penalties for 90 yards, including a false start after Cutchember’s opening 32-yard run that set off a sequence where they lost 20 yards over the next three plays.
“(Avonworth) is big and strong. They’re coming off a big season, they have strong numbers on that sideline, and they’re always well-coached,” Quaker Valley coach Ron Balog said. “That made it tough on our young guys. We had a couple of injuries that made our young team even younger, but we absolutely loved the way they kept fighting. They wouldn’t give up. Despite the score, I thought they fought their tails off and that’s all you can ask for. You have to be patient with a young group.”
The Quakers had an opportunity to score late in the second quarter after an interception by Nate Dicks set them up deep in Avonworth territory, but they turned the ball over on downs in the final minute.
Cutchember forced and recovered a fumble early in the second.
Dicks’ interception and Cutchember’s fumble recovery are moments Balog wants to use as building blocks for his team going forward.
“The key here is that we want to stay positive with these guys,” Balog said. “You have to stay positive with a young group and tell them to put this behind them and learn from their mistakes.”
By: Don Rebel
Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 9:32 PM
Class 3A Northwestern-6 Conference
Quaker Valley (2-7) vs. Avonworth (15-1)
7 p.m. Friday, Avonworth Stadium
On the air: Video on TribHSSN.TribLive.com
Coaches: Ron Balog, Quaker Valley; Duke Johncour, Avonworth
Players to watch: Patrick Cutchember, Quaker Valley (Jr., 6-0, 200, QB); Drew Harper, Avonworth (Sr., 6-0, 195, WR/LB/S)
1. A year removed from a magical 2017 WPIAL and PIAA championship run, Quaker Valley struggled last season, finishing 2-7 overall. However, the offense improved in a 2-2 finish. The Quakers scored 98 points in the final four games after scoring only 28 points in the first five games, which included three shutouts.
2. The Quakers are one of the youngest teams in the district with only three seniors on their roster. The team’s leading passer and rusher returns in junior Patrick Cutchember. He combined for 721 yards from scrimmage as a sophomore in 2019.
3. Avonworth won the school’s first football crown by winning a WPIAL Class 2A championship last season. However, the Antelopes won’t get a chance to win back-to-back 2A titles as the program moved up to Class 3A. The ‘Lopes have been placed in the same Northwestern 6 conference as 2019 WPIAL Class 3A champion Central Valley.
4. Antelopes head coach Duke Johncour plans to double his opponent’s misery this season by unleashing the Harper brothers. Drew Harper is a four-year starter at wide receiver and linebacker. He registered 55 tackles and 8½ sacks last year while averaging 13.2 yards per catch. Sophomore brother Nate Harper will take over at quarterback for the graduated Park Penrod, who threw for 2,188 yards and 31 touchdowns a year ago.
Extra point: Both teams enjoyed similar title runs. In 2019, Avonworth was undefeated when it beat Washington with a strong defensive effort in the WPIAL finals, 28-6. The ‘Lopes then reached the state title game after a win over District 10 champion Wilmington before losing to state power Southern Columbia to finish 15-1. In 2017, Quaker Valley also had only one loss, but that came in Week 7 against Aliquippa. The Quakers defense came up large at Heinz Field as they blanked the Quips in the title game, 2-0, before beating District 10 champ Sharon to advance to Hershey where they defeated Middletown to win state gold.
By: Bill Hartlep
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | 12:01 AM
There are just three seniors on the Quaker Valley football roster this fall.
Typically, that would be cause for concern.
But the Quakers’ underclassmen are more experienced than most their age and have been game tested against some of the best teams WPIAL Class 3A has to offer.
“The junior group is really talented,” coach Ron Balog said. “A lot of the sophomores got to play as freshmen. We are young, but there are some talented football players there. If we can keep these young guys doing the basics through camp and the beginning of the season, I think they’ll progress well and I think they’ll perform well.”
Many of the underclassmen saw significant playing time a year ago when Quaker Valley started 0-5 and finished 2-7. Injuries were a major reason for the struggles, and the team was down to less than 20 healthy players at midseason.
A bright spot, however, was that younger players got key varsity reps against the likes of perennial powers Central Valley, Beaver Falls and Aliquippa in the Tri-County West Conference.
Some of those foes remain as PIAA and WPIAL realignment slotted Quaker Valley into the Class 3A Northwestern Six Conference this season with defending WPIAL champion Central Valley, Hopewell and Keystone Oaks, as well as newcomers Ambridge and Avonworth, the WPIAL Class 2A champion.
The Quakers also will play Aliquippa in a nonconference contest.
“The conference doesn’t get any easier (by adding Avonworth),” Balog said. “Central Valley is probably the odds-on favorite in Triple-A. Ambridge is coming down from 4A, so we’ll see what they do.”
Junior Patrick Cutchember will get the keys to the Quakers’ offense. He led the team in rushing (493 yards) and receiving (228 yards) last season and scored four times. He will start the season taking snaps under center.
“He’s one of our two or three best football players,” Balog said of the third-year starter. “He’s going to play a lot of quarterback for us, some running back. Defensively, he’ll be one of our inside linebackers.
“He’s a really talented kid. Very shifty, very skilled runner, great hips, that makes him elusive. He’s just a guy who’s tough to bring down.”
Juniors Jamir Steffey and Nate Dicks also will carry the load on offense, along with sophomore Gavin Eshenbaugh. All carried the ball last year, and Balog credited each with getting stronger and better in the offseason.
Balog also expressed excitement about junior Mason Diemert, who played wide receiver as a sophomore last season after being away from football since middle school. He also picked off eight passes as a free safety.
“He’s gonna play a little quarterback, as well,” Balog said. “He’s 6-5 and we’re going to use him in a lot of different spots. He’s very talented.”
As for those seniors, all three of them will be anchors on the offensive line — Dustin Grimm (5-9, 220) and Nate Nelson (6-2, 240) return to the starting lineup.
“We expect big things out of those two guys up front,” Balog said.
And, QV also welcomes back senior lineman Ryan Kroner, who didn’t play last season but will be a key cog up front.
“We expect some really good stuff out of him up front,” Balog said.
On defense, Nelson will anchor the defensive line, with Dicks, Eshenbaugh, Cutchember and sophomore Jakub Pickett at linebacker and Diemert and Steffey solidifying the defensive secondary.
Coach: Ron Balog
2019 record: 2-7, 1-6 in Class 3A Tri-County West
All-time record: 239-348-14
Date, Opponent, Time
9.11, at Avonworth*, 7
9.18, Brentwood, 7
9.25, at Aliquippa, 7
10.1, Central Valley*, 7
10.9, at Hopewell*, 7
10.16, at Keystone Oaks*, 7
10.23, Ambridge*, 7
*Class 3A Northwestern Six Conference game
Passing: Michael Aspiotes*
43-98, 520 yards, 5 TDs
Receiving: Patrick Cutchember
15-228 yards, 4 TDs
86-493 yards, 4 TDs
• Quaker Valley was outscored 251-28 in its first five games last season but just 109-98 in its final four games, including wins over Waynesburg and Beaver.
• The Quakers claimed their only WPIAL title in 2017, defeating Aliquippa, 2-0, at Heinz Field. They also went on to win the PIAA Class 3A championship.
• Balog is in his third season as head coach at Quaker Valley. He spent the previous two season as an assistant coach at Central Catholic.
• Quaker Valley returns 10 players with starting experience on both sides of the ball.
Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TribHSInsider.
Times Sports Correspondent
The 2017 WPIAL and PIAA champions, Quaker Valley still has players familiar with the feeling of being the team everybody circles on their calendars.
This year, though, the shoe is on the other foot – the Quakers will play two defending WPIAL champions and PIAA runners-up in the first four weeks in Avonworth and Central Valley. In between, the Quakers draw Aliquippa, too.
"The schedule is challenging – we open with one WPIAL champion and three weeks later play another,” said head coach Ron Balog, in his third year. “We have some new people in new spots, too, but our numbers are better. We have 32 players this year and last year we only dressed 18 for the Elizabeth Forward game and finished with 17.
“We’ve got a talented junior class coming up and we’re feeling good about the challenge.”
They will be joined by fellow returning starters Jamir Steffy in the backfield, 6-foot-5 junior Mason Diemert as a receiver, Nate Dicks along the line, and Ryan Kroner, back after missing last year. Also back after being away from the game is lineman Tomaso Floro, giving Balog experience to work with this year.
“The line is decent size - maybe not as big as some of our competition - but they’re all good athletes, too,” Balog said. “We’ll line up in a shotgun formation but we’ll be more of an option team than a spread offense.
“We worked on getting people experience in new spots in our scrimmage against New Castle and we got some things accomplished.”
In the secondary, Steffy returns along with Diemert, who had eight interceptions last season. Diemert, who only returned to football last year for the first time since middle school, will also handle the kicking duties.
“We knew that our numbers would be a problem last year but we’re OK at 32 – people forget that we only had 34 when we won the state. The schedule will still be a challenge even after we get though the first four games but we still feel good about the team.”
QUAKER VALLEY QUAKERS
Coach: Ron Balog (third year)
2019 season: 2-7 overall, 1-6 in WPIAL Class 3A Tri-County West Conference
Key Returners: QB/LB Patrick Cutchember (Jr.), OL/LB Nate Dicks (Jr.), WR/S/PK Mason Diemert (Jr.), OL/DL Dustin Grimm (Sr.), OL/DL Nate Nelson (Sr.), RB/CB Jamir Steffy (Jr.)
2020 Schedule: 9/11 at Avonworth, 9/18 Brentwood, 9/25 at Aliquippa, 10/2 Central Valley, 10/9 at Hopewell, 10/16 at Keystone Oaks, 10/23 Ambridge