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Aliquippa stuns Beaver Falls, wins 13th WPIAL title

Written by: on Saturday, November 22nd, 2008


PITTSBURGH – Aliquippa’s team name on the Heinz Field scoreboard was only three letters – “A-L-I.”  It turned out to be a very appropriate abbreviation.  The game was a slugfest.

Aliquippa (11-2) limited Beaver Falls (12-1) to just 116 rushing yards (136 total yards) and scored the winning points on a safety to win its 13th WPIAL championship 8-6 Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Aliquippa will take on District 9 champion Karns City (12-1), a 32-14 winner over District 5 champion North Star next weekend at a WPIAL site, date, and time to be determined later.

A big part of the reason Aliquippa is making its sixth trip to the PIAA playoffs was the play of their defense, but also, in part, to a key player missing from that Week 3 showdown at “The Pit,” Maurice Carter.

Carter had a big game for the red and black, running for 111 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.  He also blocked the punt which sailed out of the end zone for the winning safety.

However much of a difference Carter made for Aliquippa, head coach Mike Zmijanac wasn’t sold on it.

“You play with who you have,” the Quips’ boss said.  “In that (first) game, we didn’t have him, and today, we did.”

Did it make a difference?

“A little,” Zmijanac quipped into the mic.

Beaver Falls took a 6-0 lead near the end of the first quarter when quarterback Tony Omogrosso (4-of-11, 20 yards, INT) hooked up with Todd Thomas, who tossed the ball to a trailing Admire Carter for a 15-yard hook-n-ladder play.

#25 finished as the Tigers’ leading rusher, too, totaling 62 yards on nine carries.

But aside from Carter, Beaver Falls was hamstrung offensively.  Todd Thomas, who entered the game with over 1,300 all-purpose yards, was limited to just 31 rushing yards and one catch for four yards.  And 1,600-yard rusher Cody Cook fared no better – 14 rushes, 23 yards, and a reception that went for negative yardage.

“We had our chances to win, and it didn’t work out,” said Tigers’ boss Ryan Matsook.  “That’s life – you don’t always get what you want.”

Thomas echoed his coach.  “We weren’t frustrated at all,” the Pitt commit said.  “We just didn’t get the job done.”

There’s a whole lot of truth to that.  Beaver Falls began each of their three fourth quarter possessions either at midfield or in Aliquippa territory, but couldn’t capitalize on any of the opportunities.

Aliquippa, though, couldn’t do much offensively in the fourth quarter either, and was held to minus-14 yards of offense, finishing with 177 total yards of offense.

Zmijanac said he wasn’t worried about the fact that the Tigers had racked up 445 rushing yards a week ago against two-time defending champion Jeannette.

“All I was worried about was playing Beaver Falls,” he said.  “I don’t worry about the stats.”

Maybe Zmijanac doesn’t worry, but by the looks of things, the field had better start worrying about Aliquippa.


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