Orchard Park’s multi-dimensional offense and sturdy defense led the Quakers to their second state title in four seasons with a 21-13 victory over Newburgh Free Academy at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sunday, Nov. 27.
“This game exemplified our balance,” said Crowley, who won the offensive back of the game honors. “We used everything we had. Balance all the way; just a great effort on all aspects of the team. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Crowley connected on 9 of 17 passes for 89 yards and run seven times for 49 yards.
“Our defense was the separation,” said Crowley. “They played unbelievable all day. They shut them down. That’s what won us the game – our defense.”
Fitzgerald, the team’s leading tackler throughout the season, was tops with 11 tackles in the championship game. Senior safety Kole Robinson factored in heavily with eight tackles and a fumble recovery. Okoya Anderson was terrific in stopping Newburgh’s run game by picking up six tackles (2.5 for a loss).
The win not only gave Orchard Park the state championship, it kept its undefeated season intact with 13 consecutive victories.
“We play together as a team,” said Fitzgerald, who earned the Sportsmanship Award. “We have a ton of heart and we had to win. We couldn’t come this far and lose. We had to win this game and we did.”
The state championship victory gave Orchard Park its second state title in four years, and puts this year’s undefeated squad on par with the 2008 Quakers that accomplished the same feat.
“We proved we could be just like those other guys,” Fitzgerald added. “We were freshmen looking up to them. We had to be everything they were. We are state champions.”
Senior Ben Johnson was named the game’s most valuable player with six catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Devon Leach, a senior, earned the Most Valuable Lineman Award and was later named the winner of the Trench Trophy awarded to Western New York’s top lineman.
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When the Orchard Park High School football team won the New York State Class AA championship this fall, the win gave the school its second state title in four seasons. The championship also brought a second state title to the homes of the Goltz, Hoppy and Robinson families.
Dave Goltz, Kyle Hoppy and Kyle Robinson were among the members of the 2008 state championship team that defeated Monroe-Woodbury, 21-17, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Their younger brothers, Austin and Peter Goltz, Luke Hoppy and Kole Robinson helped this year’s version of the Quakers capture a 21-13 win over Newburgh Free Academy to win the 2011 state title. Both teams had undefeated marks of 13 wins and no losses.
Kole Robinson, a starting safety on this year’s squad, said the comparisons to the 2008 were constant, but the support from his brother helped alleviate any pressure to matching his sibling’s accomplishment.
“Everyone was always comparing us to the 2008 team so there was some pressure to show how good we really were, but I don’t think it really affected anyone,” said Robinson. “I don’t think there was too much pressure. Kyle wanted us to win just as much as we did.”
In 2008, Jeanette Hoppy watched her son Kyle capture the state title. In 2011, she watched as her youngest son, Luke, attain the same feat. She said it was a blessing to be able to watch two of her sons, along with their childhood friends, capture a second state title.
“I felt blessed to be able to witness my sons finish high school with the ultimate memory of winning the state football championship,” said Hoppy.
Dave Goltz said the greatest part of sharing a state championship with his younger brothers, Peter and Austin, was that the two younger brothers got the experience the win together.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Dave. “I saw how much effort they’ve put in over the years starting with little loop and continuing through middle school and high school. Both Peter and Austin have so much determination and a strong will to win, so I knew they would do everything they could to help their team be successful. I’ve been looking forward to this past season since I played in high school. I never got the chance to play with one of my brothers, but I always wish I could have. For them to experience this accomplishment together, and for it be Peter’s senior year, was exactly how I had hoped it would be. I think it’s great that we can share that experience.”