By Gary Baker of Gatehouse News Services
A rainy and cold Friday night was a bit warmer for Oriole fans due to a 34-20 homecoming victory over Athens.
“We played a lot better this week,” said Quincy coach Dave Bach. “We are going to enjoy this win and work to continually get better.”
Quincy was the first to score, as Michael Brewer reached paydirt, putting the Orioles up 7-0. Athens countered with a Jake Smitley touchdown, tying the score at seven. After a long run setting up first and goal inside the ten, Brewer scored again in the first quarter from a yard out. The point after attempt was no good, making the score 13-7.
On the next Athens possession, the Indians got a drive going, culminating in a four-yard score by Smitley. The point after put Athens up, 14-13. On the ensuing Oriole possession, Shane Rider threw an interception on a pass intended for Bobby Banker.
The Indians drove into Quincy territory and on first down, a halfback pass attempt was picked off by Rider and returned to the Quincy 42.
From there, it was pretty much Michael Brewer, who ran down to the 27 of Athens on the first play of the drive. Brewer hit paydirt again from three yards out and the two point conversion was good, putting Quincy up 21-14 at the half.
During halftime, Kelsie Letendre and Cody McClellan were crowned homecoming queen and king.
On the first possession of the third quarter, Jake Smitley was injured on a third down play and would not return. The Orioles forced an Athens punt and started out on their own 35. The Orioles were in the endzone within six plays, as brewer scored from 16 yards out, putting Quincy up 27-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Michael Wickemeyer went 83 yards up the middle for a touchdown, bringing Athens within 27-20. After three-and-outs for both teams, Shane Rider stripped the ball from Wickemeyer giving the ball back to the Orioles. Brandon Licht capped the scoring on a 3-yard run. The point after was good to close the scoring on the night.
“I think we ran the ball very well tonight,” said Bach.
The Quincy defense also shined, with the interception and forced fumble by Rider and another fumble recovery earlier in the game.
“The pick was big,” said Bach. “That turned the momentum for us early and allowed us to score.”
Michael Brewer had 215 yards on 32 carries. The Oriole senior used his vision and cutbacking ability to gain extra yardage all night.
“With their [Athens’] over-persuit, the cutback was there,” said Bach.
Brandon Licht had 8 carries for 38 yards and Shane Rider ran 6 times for 53 yards and was 2 of 5 for 14 yards and an interception.
Jake Smitley had 137 yards on 24 carries and two scores for Athens (1-6, 1-5).
Quincy is 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Eight Conference and hosts Union City (5-2, 5-1) on Friday, Oct. 16.