CANONSBURG, Pa. — With a team like Aliquippa (11-0), you cannot make mistakes and expect to win, especially in the playoffs. The McKeesport Tigers (11-2) saw that first-hand as they turned the ball over four times in the first half, and added a safety as they allowed the Quips to get out to a big lead and run into the WPIAL 4A Finals with a 42-7 semifinal win.
On the Tigers’ first drive of the game they tried to run a screen, but the pressure had the quarterback backing up as he threw. The ball was tipped in the air and defensive lineman Jason McBride came down with it. The big man rumbled his way into the end zone to go up 6-0.
Two plays later, the Tigers fumbled the snap exchange, and the Quips bounced on it. One play after that, Tikey Hayes ran for 38 yards untouched, and the Quips led 12-0.
That score held into the second quarter despite McKeesport throwing another interception, and the Quips recovering another fumble. Part of that is because McKeesport had an interception of their in-between turnovers. Still, the Quips did pin McKeesport deep, and a bad snap on a punt bounced around the end zone before the punter dove on the ball and accepted a safety.
Aliquippa took the safety kick and got to work. Hayes had two first down runs, then Quentin Goode hit Donovan Walker in stride on a beautiful 38-yard strike that made the game 21-0 heading into the half.
Aliquippa got a stop to start the second half and while they were held to a punt on their possession, it wound up going in the Quips favor. McKeesport lined up offsides and forced punter Tracy to scramble as they were in the backfield quick. It helps when the punter is your running back as he picked up a first down and then some.
Alter the first down the team went to Hayes 3 times for 38 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown to go up 28-0.
McKeesport started to get desperate and had to go for it on 4th and long. The pass dropped incomplete.
The Quips did not take long to take advantage. Tikey Hayes took a stretch run 64 yards to the house for his third TD of the game. The run put the Quips up 35-0, and the mercy rule started before the fourth quarter began.
The turnover misfortune was not over for the Tigers, though. McKeesport drove down the field but a fumble at the 6 was scooped up by NaQuan Crowder. Crowder, listed at 325 pounds, rumbled 94 yards all the way to the end zone, showing it was just that kind of night. The Quips went up 42-0.
That is when McKeesport was able to break the shut out.
Aliquippa will go on to play Central Valley next Friday night at Acrisure Stadium for the 4A championship.