OP still No.1 for a reason
Thursday September 22, 2011 | By:Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter
Part of the thrill of sports is the debate over who are the best
teams and players.
This season, for me, there is no debate in high school football.
That title goes to Orchard Park.
Holding the top spot in the Metro Source poll for three consecutive weeks, four
if you count our pre-season poll, the Quakers have shown early on they are a legit
power capable of contending for a state title.
While OP hasn't played as ambitious a schedule as St. Joe's, Canisius and St. Francis,
make no mistake they are good.
In their three wins the Quakers have shown that they are talented and deep.
In Week One I saw OP take apart a very good Ken-West team by final score of 45-19.
The defending Class AA North champs, Ken-West has one of the best 1-2 punches out of the backfield
in QB Marcus Lobdell and RB Martin Bailey, as well as very tough linemen in Tyler Novo, Nico Burgos and Brandon
But West was clearly over matched. Granted, losing 6-foot-7, 260 pound Lathrop early in the game
certainly made the go more difficult for Ken-West. But as good as Lathrop is, this game was all OP.
When looking at the roster Okoya Anderson and Ben Johnson are the first two names that jump
off the page.
Anderson is a quick, pounding, pushing running back that seems nearly impossible to take down.
Johnson is a two-way threat as a receiver and corner back.
But what really stands out for me is OP's depth, especially on the line. They have enough size, skill
and numbers to play a two platoon system.
That was the key in the Quakers win over Ken-West. They have the kind of depth other teams do not.
That was made evident as the hot, steamy weather conditions began to take its toll
on Ken-West. At least half a dozen Blue Devils had to play both sides of the ball for virtually every down.
When Ken-West did sub it was a far less experienced kid thrown into the battle.
OP could switch it up and stay fresh. As the game wore on, Ken-West wore down.
One of the things I've always liked and respected about Ken-West coach Rich Harris is that he is straight-shooter.
Win or lose, he gives you his honest opinion. His take on the loss to OP was pretty simple.
"A strong, physical team dominated Kenmore West today," Harris said after that game.
Like everyone else I would love to see OP match up against Joe's, Canisius or Frannies. But until
that happens we can only go by what we see. So far, from what I've seen, OP is the best.