Neither rain, nor wind, nor snow could stop the Aliquippa Quips running attack as the Quips cruised to their 15th WPIAL Championship with a 34-7 victory over the Washington Little Prexies at Heinz Field in the McDonald's/WPIAL Class AA Championship game.
(Photo to left: One of the Quips few seniors, fullback Devon Walker celebrates another district crown for Aliquippa High School)
The Quips, playing in their fifth title game in a row, claimed back to back crowns. Aliquippa racked up 505 yards rushing and held Washington's Shai McKenzie to just 33 yards rushing, McKensie came into the game with 2,656 yards and 42 touchdowns.
Aliquippa had three 100 yard rushers in the game, Terry Swanson carried 15 times for 206 yards, Dravon Henry tallied 123 yards on 23 touches, quarterback Malik Shegog ran 9 times for an even 100 yards. The Aliquippa defense has allowed only 42 points all season, the only touchdown for Washington came on a fumble return by Josh Wise.
Aliquippa scored on their second possession, Shegog scored on a 12 yard run on a keeper around the left end, set up with a Swanson 30 yard run. Washington pinned the Quips deep in their own territory at the 6 yard line, but Henry ripped runs of 12 and 17 yard runs to get the Quips out of danger, then Swanson broke off a 60 yard run for his 19th touchdown of the season and a 14-0 lead after one.
The Quips scored on a nine play 73 yard drive, Swanson and Henry did the dirty work, putting Aliquippa in position for a Shegog 22 yard touchdown run with 9:18 remaining in the half. It looked like Aliquippa would add to the lead, driving from the 23 yard line to the Wash High 13, but Henry fumbled, Rhamir Thomas recovered and the Little Prexies thought they had dodged a bullet, but a short punt by Chade Caldwell gave Aliquippa the ball back at the Washington 28 yard line.
It took the Quips one play as Shegog hit tight end Dajon Perry over the middle for the touchdown with 26 seconds remaining. Robert Gilbert recovered a loose pooch kick, giving the Quips another opportunity to score before the half at the Little Prexies 34. Shegog ran for 16 yards to the 18, he hit Devon Walker for 10 yards to move the chains, Shegog spiked the ball to stop the clock with 5 seconds left. Shegog could not connect with his receiver on the final play of the half.
Washington was able to move the football into Aliquippa territory for the first time on the opening drive of the second half to the Quip 47 yard line, the drive stalled out and Aliquippa took over at their own 23, Swanson broke a 41 yard run and Henry scored three plays later on a 8 yard run for his 24th touchdown and a 34-7 advantage.
The wind continued to pick up during the third quarter and the snow flurries began to fly, the game turned as sloppy like the weather as following a Caldwell three yard punt, Swanson fumbled on the first play. Washington QB Josh Wise returned the favor with an interception four plays later, then Shegog fumbled, the ball bounced perfectly off the Heinz Field turf, right to Wise, who took it 50 yards for a Washington touchdown.
The Quips are now 13-0 and will meet the winner of the Karns City-Chestnut Ridge game next week in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. Washington suffered their first loss of the season, they end the season at 12-1.
Aliquippa Quips 14 – 12 – 8 – 0 = 34
Washington Little Prexies 0 – 0 – 7 – 0 = 7
Aliq: Malik Shegog 12 run(pass failed) 6:20
Aliq: Terry Swanson 60 run(Dravon Henry run) 2:08
Aliq: Shegog 22 run(run failed) 9:18
Aliq: Dajon Perry 28 pass from Shegog(pass failed) :26
Aliq: Dravon Henry 8 run(Swanson run) 6:15
Wash: Josh Wise 50 fumble return(Jonathan Spina kick) :33