PITTSBURGH — It was the Quinton Martin show on Friday night at Acrisure Stadium, as the junior five-star recruit scored three touchdowns to power Belle Vernon to a 24-7 win over Avonworth in the WPIAL Class-3A championship. Martin had a 32-yard touchdowns reception, a 51-yard punt return for a touchdown, and a 45-yard rushing score. Avonworth was just overmatched and didn’t have an answer for Martin.
With the win, Belle Vernon captured its first WPIAL title since 1995.
After trading possessions, Avonworth came up with the first big play of the game, as Alvin Le picked off Braden Laux’s pass to set the Antelopes up at the 50-yard line. Steeber had miscommunication with his receiver on a go ball, so it was an easy interception for Le. Avonworth capitalized off the turnover with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brandon Biagiarelli to give the Antelopes a 7-0 lead with 11:36 left in the second quarter.
Belle Vernon answered with a 31-yard field goal by Willie Schwerha to cut Avonworth’s lead to 7-3 with 5:25 left in the second quarter. Laux’s pass intended for Quinton Martin in the end zone fell incomplete on third down, which put the Leopards promising drive to a halt.
Following a quick defensive stop, Laux found Martin for a 32-yard touchdown to give the Leopards a 10-7 lead with 1:15 remaining in the first half. Martin, who has over 20 Power Five offers, burned the cornerback and hauled in the pass while falling backwards into the end zone. Belle Vernon got great field position on the scoring drive as Avonworth shanked the punt, and the Leopards took over from the 36-yard line.
Avonworth was unable muster anything offensively late in the second, and the Leopards went into halftime with a 10-7 advantage.
Midway through the third quarter, Martin displayed why he’s a five-star recruit, as he had a remarkable 51-yard punt return for a touchdown to give Belle Vernon a 17-7 lead with 5:42 remaining in the third quarter. Martin looked like he was bottled up, but he got to the outside and made an incredible cut inside to get to pay dirt. The athleticism and vision was astonishing.
Martin put the game away with a 45-yard touchdown run up the middle to enhance Belle Vernon’s lead to 24-7 with 8:48 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Martin’s third touchdown on the night.