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ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — Aliquippa’s running game found pay dirt on Friday as the Quips toted the rock for rushing touchdowns, including two by senior Karl McBride to help defeat Belle Vernon, 33-19 and advance to the 2020 WPIAL Class-4A championship game.
McBride’s two scores came in short-yardage situations, while quarterback Vaughn Morris scrambled for a score in the first-half and running back Vernon Redd led the charge late in the game.
The Aliquippa defense also played large in the victory, making two critical second-half stops while Belle Vernon got short fields after a blocked punt and an interception. The second of those stops set up the Aliquippa offense in good field position, and Redd took over as a close, carrying the ball five times on the drive for 37 yards and the score.
Belle Vernon had jumped out to an early lead thanks to a 45-yard Quinton Martin touchdown. Then Belle Vernon quarterback Devin Whitlock took an Aliquippa punt 68 yards to the house and the visitors at Carl A. Aschman Stadium led 13-0.
But a Whitlock fumble set Aliquippa up in good field position and Morris scored on a 12-yard scramble.
Whitlock answered with a 75-yard quarterback keeper to make it 19-7 Leopards, but the Quips chipped away at the lead.
After Morris found Ty Crocker deep down the left side, McBride punched it in from 2 yards out. Another Belle Vernon turnover gave McBride another short score and the Quips led 20-19 at the half.
Morris found Dories Moreland for 26 yards on a post pattern in the third quarter to give the home team a cushion. After the back-and-forth defensive stops, Redd’s score put Aliquippa up 33-19.
The Leopards would not go down quietly, as Whitlock again found running room for a 39-yard score to bring Belle Vernon back to within a score, but the Leopards could not get the ball back.
Aliquippa will face the winner of Plum and Thomas Jefferson in the 2020 WPIAL Class-5A title game next Saturday at North Allegheny High School.