OP enters playoffs with a chip on their shoulders


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Orchard Park Quakers are heading into the playoffs with an undefeated 5-0 record, but due to a tiebreaker with Lancaster, OP comes in as the second seed. For a team that strives on being the underdog, the Quakers are planning to use that chip on their shoulder to fuel them throughout the postseason.

“Honestly, I think it’s kind of fitting that we have the second seed because we haven’t really been the very top program in Western New York in the last couple of years, we’ve been right up there along the top, so it kind of feels like right where we should be in order to get back to the top,” Orchard Park senior lineman Matthew Baksa said.

“We’re a two seed by eight points. I feel like it gives us the underdog, it gives us something to work towards. Two undefeated teams, and it comes down to eight points? It’s crazy, how do you tell a difference? It’s one different play. But it definitely makes us feel like the underdog, like we’re ready to bite back,” Orchard Park senior lineman Eric Deitz said.

“Lancaster has won four Section VI titles in a row, so everyone in AA is the underdog. Whether we finish as the two seed, three seed or the one seed, when a team has won four Sectionals in a row, they’re the top of the division,” Orchard Park head coach Craig Dana said. “Anytime you don’t play your full league schedule, whether it’s one team or two teams, this year it’s only five games, there’s going to be situations where two teams didn’t play each other and you’ve got to get into tiebreakers, so the tiebreaker isn’t something that we were really worried about.

“We just wanted to play every game, win every game by 20 points, and whatever seed, as long as we were in the top four and had a shot at the playoffs, we were happy.”

Orchard Park has done exactly what they set out to do. The Quakers outscored opponents by over 21 points four out of five times this season, including a 21-0 shutout over Clarence in the second week of the season. OP hosts the Red Devils in the AA semifinals tonight, and they’re hoping to repeat their performance from four weeks ago.

“I think you can expect to see a lot of physicality, you can expect to see us run the ball really well, and I think you can expect to see our sophomore quarterback step up a little bit and make some big throws as we head into these playoff games,” Baksa said.

“We feel good. We’re confident in each other and that’s what I think that’s what matters. We stick to our basics, we can only stop ourselves at this point,” Dietz said.

Orchard Park and Clarence square off tonight at 7pm. Winner advances to the AA title game where they will play Lancaster for the Section VI championship.

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