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Wait is over for Orchard Park

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Gene Tundo is in his 34th season coaching football so an inquiring journalist wanted to know, is this opening day as exciting as your first one?

"It's better," said Tundo, during the start of Quakers practice Monday morning. "The first year I didn't know what the heck I was doing. Now, each year it gets a little different but when you see the kids, it's about the kids so I'm always excited when I see them."

Orchard Park has a long history of success, winning 13 Section VI titles and two state championships. The Quakers hope to add to their title collection this year after failing to reach the sectional final for the first time in a long while.

Key returnees include safety Matt Perla and defensive back Jake Dogal.

OP also looks to receive shots in the arm from the arrival of four transfer students from Canisius, including Terius Wheatley -- the little brother of All-WNY pick and Division I prospect TJ -- and Chris Liberatore.

"There's a lot of very good talent, a lot of skilled position players and a lot of young guys. ... I think the sky is the limit," Tundo said.

Just how happy was Tundo to finally start the season?

"We've been waiting about 300 days for this," he said. "Very excited, so are the kids and all the coaches."

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About the reporters

Miguel Rodriguez, a Buffalo native and University of Rochester graduate, began his career at The News in 2003 as a sports copy editor and joined the high school sports beat in 2014. One of the most versatile members of the sports department, he has covered all manner of high school, college and professional events, including the NCAA men's basketball tournament. The former college hockey goalie has contributed to the Sabres beat, covered youth hockey and reported from the IIHF World Junior Championship and the men's and women's NCAA Frozen Four.

Keith McShea, named deputy sports editor in 2014, has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) has covered — and live blogged — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

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