ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.- So close, yet so far from back to back state titles. That’s how Orchard Park ended 2012 with a 34-6 loss to New Rochelle. The Quakers ended last season with an 11-2 overall record. But this season as they look to get back to the state championship, they’ll have to do it with a new man under center.
Last year’s starter Ben Holmes graduated and will play football at Southeast Prep Postgraduate Football Academy in Houston, Texas this season. So that means it’s time for someone to fill his shoes. But Orchard Park Assistant Head Coach Eric Jantzi explains there isn’t a clear cut starter right yet. “There’s three of them in the mix right now we have a freshman Dillon Janca who’s working hard and we have Kevin Goltz who’s right up there and Dave Hollands is back out this year for football so he’s in the mix. So it’s a three way battle and we’ll see how it plays itself out,” Jantzi told Two on Your Side’s Stu Boyar at the Lions Ad-Pro All Star Game.
Even with the quarterback position still to be determined, Jantzi seems confident in his team this season. “We’re expecting big things, we have a lot of kids back especially on our offensive line, we have five of the six of them back. And we have some good leadership, we’re definitely the strongest team I’ve been around and probably one of the fastest. So we’ve had a great off season work and we’re looking forward to week one,” Jantzi said.
With the work Eric Jantzi has seen in the off season, he says it’s hard to tell which aspect of their game is stronger. “Well that always plays itself out we don’t know for sure but we’re expecting big things on both sides of the ball. In terms of kids coming back returning, we have a lot more on offense but we’re working really hard to be good at defense too,” Jantzi explained.
In addition to the five offensive linemen, Gene Tundo’s squad has three other players coming back for a total of eight offensive returners. On the defensive side, the Quakers return just four for 2013.
As far as this season’s schedule, Eric Jantzi isn’t putting too much weight on one game or another. Instead, he’s marking every game as important. “Well we’re just looking at week one and playing West Seneca West and going from there. We’re just trying to work and we’re probably in the best shape we’ve been. We had a great off season this is the first time we’ve gone through the whole year in terms of lifting and we have seven or eight kids who are squatting 400 pounds for multiple reps between seven and 15. We’re happy with that and if we can be injury free we’ll just see how the cards fall,” Jantzi pointed out.
Orchard Park begins its climb back to the state championship this season. It all gets underway Friday September 6th, on the road at West Seneca West.