Aliquippa defied the odds all season to not only win the WPIAL championship but the PIAA championship in the 4A classification despite a 1A enrollment. And the motor that propelled the Quips all season was freshman sensation Tiqwai Hayes.
Hayes, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound battering ram, ran for 1,746 yards and 23 touchdowns this season — including 141 yards and three touchdowns to help clinch the PIAA title game against Bishop McDevitt.
For his WPIAL record-breaking efforts, Hayes was named to MaxPreps’ first-team freshman All-American team. To go along with All-Conference, All-State and Player of the Year honors in Pennsylvania.
Bryce Underwood, Kaleb Bailey, Weston Port, Anthony Rogers headline 2021 MaxPreps High School Football Freshman All-America Team.
— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) January 7, 2022
For reference, Hayes rushed for more than 600 yards and five more touchdowns than his first-team counterpart Anthony Rogers — a freshman from Pike Road High School in Alabama who, to be fair, shared the backfield with two other 1,000-yard rushers.
Hayes has already picked up offers from Pitt and Penn State, both offers arriving in December, and it’s only a matter of time before the offers continue to roll in. Pitt offered after Aliquippa’s state title while Penn State offered after Hayes visited State College with a couple of teammates.
Hayes is the only Pennsylvania representative from the first team, but three other prep players from the state earned second-team honors.
Bishop McDevitt’s Stone Saunders earned second-team honors at quarterback, ranking only behind National Freshman of the Year Bryce Underwood from Belleville High School in Michigan. Saunders and Hayes faced off in the PIAA title game, with Hayes’ Quips obviously coming out on top in the end.
Imhotep Charter’s Zahir Mathis and St. Joseph’s Prep’s Anthony Sacca both earned second-team defensive honors at defensive lineman and linebacker, respectively.