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EasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PAEasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PA

Aliquippa heads to Hershey

Written by: on Saturday, December 8th, 2012

by Doug Keklak

Richland and Aliquippa both entered the campus of North Allegheny with the right to represent the western side of the state in Hershey in a week’s time.  Both came into tonight’s contest with 14-0 records.  The District 6 champion Rams and WPIAL champion Quips played a hard fought contest but in the end, the team representing Beaver County came out victorious as Aliquippa won 37-21.

The two teams played a scoreless first quarter.  The Rams had the first legitimate scoring opportunity after forcing the Quips to punt on their first possession.  On fourth down, Bobby Colvin lined up to attempt a 37-yard field goal but a false start penalty (the first of four such infractions in the quarter by Richland) pushed it back to a 42-yard attempt.  The snap was slightly high and Colvin had a misstep and the kick did not have a chance.

Toward the end of the first quarter, Malik Stewart picked off a Matt Shaffer pass and the Quips took over at their own 24.  On second down, the first splash play of the night for Aliquippa occurred when Dravon Henry took the handoff and scampered 55 yards to the Richland 24.  Two plays later with 11:21 to go in the opening period, Terry Swanson ran the ball in from 18 yards out to put the first points of the night on the board.  Quarterback Malik Shegog ran the two-point conversion in and it was 8-0 Quips.

Following the ensuing kickoff, Shegog was involved in turnovers on consecutive plays.  First, he picked off Shaffer then the next play he was sacked and fumbled with Nick Naglic recovering.

The Rams turned the ball over on downs and the Quips took over on their own 30.  Thirteen plays later, after a steady diet of runs from Henry and Swanson, Henry took the ball to end zone from six yards out.  Henry also ran in the two point conversion and with 4:28 to go in the half, Aliquippa was up 16-0.

Richland answered right back, mixing the run and the pass with a nine play drive that went 65 yards and culminated in a four yard Shaffer to Kyle Flick touchdown.  The Rams went for two and failed.  With 1:54 left in the half, the Quips still led 16-6.

After a kickoff that landed out of bounds, Aliquippa took over on their own 35.  With no timeouts left, they ran a hurry-up drill that appeared to have stalled out at the Richland 15.  On fourth-and-10 Shegog was flushed from the pocket and appeared to be doomed for a sack.  However, he escaped and picked up the first down before being forced out at the two.  On the next play he called his own number and scored the touchdown with just 27 seconds to go in the half.  This time the Quips kicked and made it and the halftime score was set at 23-6.

Richland took the second half kickoff but went three and out.  However, they recovered another Shegog fumble on the Quips next possession and appeared to have some momentum back.  A drive that begin with the Rams running some wildcat with running back Tanner Solarczyk taking snaps at quarterback stalled at the Rams’ 40 and Nico Pecora’s fake pass fell incomplete.

Aliquippa turned the ball over on downs setting up the next Rams’ score.  Richland got their first big play of the night when Shaffer hit Luke Shertzer for a 62-yard gain and two plays later, Solarczyk scored from two yards out.  Colvin added the extra point and with 2:35 to go in the third quarter it was Aliquippa 23, Richland 13.

Coach Brandon Bailey opted for an onside kick that Richland recovered which gave them a huge boost.  On their first play following the kick, Shaffer hit Shertzer again for a gain to the Quips 15.  After two Solarczyk runs and a pass to Flick only netted one yard, the Rams opted for a Colvin 39-yard attempt but it sailed wide left.

Another ground-gobbling, time-consuming Aliquippa drive that consisted mostly of Henry runs ended when he took the ball in from six yards out.  The extra point was good and it was 30-13 with 6:09 to go in the third.

Kaylon Kenney picked off Shaffer on second down following the ensuing kick off and all but iced it for the Quips.  Both teams scored late touchdowns of little consequence as Henry scored his third touchdown of the evening from 27 yards out and then Shaffer hit Flick on a 59-yard pitch and catch to end the scoring for the night as the Quips prevailed 37-21.

The Rams finish the season 14-1 while the Quips improve to 15-0 and will take on the winner of tomorrow’s Imhotep Charter/Wyomissing game next Saturday in Hershey for the Class AA PIAA title.

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