Football is officially back as some WPIAL schools opened their 2017 seasons last night. Aside from PSN’s two feature games (Ambridge at Moon and Freedom at Hopewell), here is a recap of the Beaver County teams in action plus some standout performances across the WPIAL.
ALIQUIPPA 24 NEW CASTLE 0-
Even without their best player, Aliquippa was able to handle visiting New Castle rather easily. Safety Kwantel Raines sat out last night’s game (undisclosed reason) but the Quips had other players step up to make up for his absence. Junior running backs Avante McKenzie and Xavier Harvey got the job done on the ground. McKenzie rushed for 132 yards while Harvey chipped in with 89 yards on only 11 carries.
The bigger story of the game was the performance of the Aliquippa defense. New Castle is led by Ohio State recruit Marcus Hooker but he was held to just 48 yards and as a team New Castle gained just 86 yards for the game. The three Aliquippa touchdowns were scored by McKenzie (14 yards), Kiyon Fooks (1 yard) and a 21 yard pass from Will Gipson to Deoveon Crute.
SOUTH FAYETTE 20 CENTRAL VALLEY 0-
Last night was the first time in the eight year history of the Central Valley football program that they were shutout. Although this won’t come as any consolation, their opponent is historically one of the better programs in the WPIAL. With the win, South Fayette extended their regular-season winning streak to 48 games, which is the third-longest in the history of the WPIAL. The last regular season loss for South Fayette came back in 2011.
The big difference in the game was the performance of South Fayette senior quarterback Drew Saxton. The talented quarterback is coming off of a year in which he passed for over 2300 yards and threw for 30 touchdowns. Last night, Saxton was 9 of 20 for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The Warriors couldn’t get anything going offensively and allowed quarterback Nico Battisti to be sacked nine times. In fact, CV couldn’t get the ball over midfield until late in the third quarter.
One other piece of bad news for Central Valley was that talented junior defensive back Jelani Solomon left the game in the first quarter with an injury and didn’t return.
BEAVER 69 NEW BRIGHTON 21
Beaver showed why they’re ranked #3 in 3A and will be a contender to make it to Heinz Field. The Bobcats offense was in high gear as they put up close to 70 points on New Brighton. This is impressive considering they were trying to replace superstar quarterback Darius Wise. Running back Te’Vonn Williams was one of the star performers carrying the ball 10 times for 138 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
Other players to reach the endzone last night for Beaver were Tyler Wallace with a 50 yard kickoff return, Harrison Pontoli 10 yard pass to Brad Barker, Brodie List on 5 yard and 30 yard runs, Noah Yates 1 yard fumble recovery, Amen Cottrill 28 yard run, Jackson Thomas 8 yard run and Zach Harris with a 25 yard run.
New Brighton found the endzone three times: Jackson Hall 26 yard pass to Dewshawn Clark, Hall with a 1 yard run and Nyasanu Green recovered a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown.
QUAKER VALLEY 55 CARDINAL WUERL NORTH CATHOLIC 21
Although he only took over the Quaker Valley program a couple of weeks ago, it was a great debut for head coach Jerry Veshio. In early August, John Tortorea resigned and the Quaker Valley district appointed Veshio as new Quaker head coach. Their high-powered offense was led by senior quarterback Ricky Guss. The dual-threat talent throwing for 168 yards, rushing for 124 yards and combining for 6 touchdowns (3 passing and 3 rushing).
Scoring highlights for Quaker Valley were: Guss 47 yard pass to Isaiah McNair, Quinn Hill blocked punt for TD, Guss 37 yard pass to Hill, Guss 1 yard run, Guss 27 yard run, Guss 23 yard pass to McNair, Guss 6 yard run and Guss 38 yard run.
Check out this highlight!https://t.co/epu94NIVyX
Week 0 take a look 💯‼️
— Isaiah McNair (@mcnezzy_20) August 26, 2017
LAST NIGHT’S WPIAL TOP PERFORMERS-
*Freeport running back Austin Romanchack 201 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns
*North Hills running back Melvin Blanks 195 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns
*Imani Christian quarterback Twan Wesley 301 yards passing (21 of 37)
*Sto Rox quarterback Eric Wilson 290 yards passing (14 of 19) and 3 touchdowns
*Charleroi quarterback Geno Pellegrini 282 yards passing (11 of 20) and 4 touchdowns
*Hempfield quarterback Justin Sliwoski 278 yards passing (15 of 23) and 5 touchdowns
— WPIAL Insider (@WPIAL_Insider) August 26, 2017
*Mt. Lebanon wide receiver Aidan Cain 11 catches for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns
*Imani Christian wide receiver Sam Fairley 9 catches for 206 yards