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Brandon Banks is playing with a chip on his shoulder and leading dominant Aliquippa defense



Bridgeville– When Aliquippa faced off with Chartiers Valley, it pinned CV star, and Penn State commit Lamont Payne up against Aliquippa junior cornerback Brandon Banks. Banks has received FBS attention, but not quite to the level of Penn State, and you could tell that he entered the game with a chip on his shoulder, knowing he would spend most of the night on the big-name recruit.

“I was definitely thinking about it,” admitted Banks. “I saw how he committed to Penn State, and I think I should have that offer too, so I had to show up.”

Banks did just that in the Quips 61-7 win over Chartiers Valley, a game in which Payne struggled to do anything against Banks. While he did not know it, Banks also did it in front of Penn State head coach James Franklin. Perhaps when Franklin was watching Payne, Banks caught his eye.

To be fair, they did not match up on every snap, and the Quips dominated from snap one through the final whistle, so both stars sat out during the second half. Still, when it was Banks against Payne, you had to be impressed with how Banks handled himself.

Banks played both off coverage, and press; man, and zone. He is physical when he presses, but you see it the most when he steps up and makes tackles. When Banks had a chance to lower his shoulder and throw a hit into the wide receiver, he had no issue doing so.

Beyond that, he shows up as hungry as his fellow lineman when it comes to the run game. The Quips won up front and forced runs outside, which is where Banks was in clean-up duty, with a few more form tackles.

“I want to be a cornerback that people talk about that comes up and hits,” said Banks on his physical presence on that side of the football.

While this was only one half against Chartiers Valley, the defense had a fumble return for a touchdown, two more defensive turnovers, a blocked punt, and a stop on fourth down. In total, 28 points came off of turnovers. To say that the defense dominated this game would be an understatement.

“The defense is our identity,” said Banks on how valuable the defense is for creating short fields, and quick turnarounds for the offense.

Still, while Banks is satisfied with his performance against a big-name prospect, and the fact that he played well with James Franklin present only makes the win better, he also knows that the biggest test of the season looms next week, and that was one of the first things on his mind after the game.

“We know we play CV next week so we had to step up,” said Banks on the defensive performance. “There is a lot of motivation, they beat us last year, so we have to play to the whistle, and we have to beat them.”

The game will feature two teams undefeated in conference play, and the winner will get the one seed when the WPIAL playoff starts in two weeks.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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