QUINCY — Behind spectacular special teams play and creating turnovers, Quincy Notre Dame defeated Quincy High 40-20 at Flinn Stadium on Friday night to open the high school football season.
It was the first win QND had over Quincy since 1984.
“QND is a big rival for us,” said Quincy head coach Rick Little. “Since it’s kicked back off, our guys haven’t loss to them, so it’s a big deal. At the same time, tip the hat to them. QND has a good team and showed it tonight.”
The Raiders set the tone early when senior Ben Kasperie scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff.
“It was everything for us,” said QND head coach Jack Cornell. “I think it set the tone for us. It woke our guys up and made them realize we are in this thing. Our guys fought hard and I’m just so proud of their effort tonight.”
QND kept the momentum going, with senior Zack Friedersdorf intercepting a pass to set up a field goal to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead.
The Blue Devils had a three-and-out in their next possession. QND junior Jakeb Wallingford then blocked a Quincy punt that was recovered by junior Jackson Stratton, who returned it for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 17-0 lead.
“Not putting it on one part of the team, but certainly the special teams (put us in an early hole),” Little said. “When they return the opening kickoff for a touchdown, that’s not the way we want to start. We also struggled moving the ball early and had some problems with the punt team as well.”
Early in the second quarter, QND quarterback Calvin Lavery threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Friedersdorf on a fourth-and-goal to put the Raiders up 24-0.
Midway through the second quarter, Quincy finally got on the board when senior running back Jesus Johnson scored on a six-yard touchdown run.
The Blue Devils got the ball to open the second half, but were unable to get much going as Friedersdorf intercepted his second pass of the game.
Cornell said his team used a lot of different players defensively because of cramping issues due to the heat.
“The guys play lighst out day in and day out,” Cornell said. “These guys work hard. They want to play tenacious football. Being aggressive and playing down hill, and that’s what I think they did tonight.”
Friedersdorf’s pick set up a three-yard touchdown run by Nolan Obert to give QND a 33-7 lead.
Quincy quarterback Brian Douglas scored a touchdown on an 11-yard run late in the third quarter to narrow QND’s lead to 33-14.
“We moved the ball and put the ball in the end zone when we needed to,” Cornell said. “I thought we left some points out there and honestly could of scored some more.”
Late in the fourth quarter, Obert ran in for his second touchdown of the game for QND.
The Blue Devils scored one final touchdown with under a minute remaining, but it was too little, too late.
“It’s a little of a challenging experience,” Little said. “It’s a really young team. I’ve never had such a young team. Hopefully we will make some strides. Some of the mistakes were youthful mistakes tonight, but at the same time I’m proud of their effort and how they battled at the end.”
Quincy Notre Dame will host Alleman in its next game at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3.
Cornell said it took everyone on the roster to contribute to one of the biggest wins in QND history and is looking forward to next week.
“We got to rehydrate and keep battling this heat,” Cornell said. “Hopefully the weather folks will give us some good news. We took a great step forward in finding our identity and we need to keep taking steps towards that. We need to take care of our bodies and we’ll be in good shape.”
Quincy will play at Alton in its next game at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3
Little said he will evaluate what happened in the opening game to learn from it going into next week’s game against Alton.
“We’ll make sure everyone’s healthy and kind of check on that,” Little said. “We then will evaluate the film and see what went right and wrong. Continue to work off of that.”