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Aliquippa Falters Against Bishop McDevitt, 41-18, in PIAA 4A Championship Game

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Images by JARED TODHUNTER

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Aliquippa looked to become the first team to win back-to-back state titles in school history with another one in 2022. It also came against Bishop McDevitt, who they defeated in 2021 for their second state title in four seasons.

They instead turned the ball over and failed to compete with an incredibly talented Bishop McDevitt squad, who trounced them 41-18 in the PIAA Class-4A championship at Harry C. Chapman III Memorial Field Thursday night.

The Quips (13-1) end their 25-game winning streak with the loss to the Crusaders (13-1), which started last season after the loss to Central Valley in early September 2021.

For the Crusaders, it gives them their second state title and the first since 1995.

Aliquippa struggled early on, punting it three straight times to start the game.

Bishop McDevitt started off with a 70-yard touchdown on a quick slant pass from sophomore quarterback Stone Saunders to senior wide receiver Tyshawn Russell on their first play of the game. Aliquippa did not have anyone in the secondary, allowing an easy touchdown for Bishop McDevitt.

The Quips turned things around when junior defensive back Brandon Banks intercepted Saunders on the first play of a drive with five minutes left in the first quarter.

Aliquippa then used a four and half minute drive capped by a 10-yard pass off a fake handoff from junior quarterback Quentin Goode to junior running back/linebacker Cameron Lindsey. They failed their two-point conversion but cut the lead to 7-6.

The Quips then turned it over twice in the second quarter which gave momentum to the Crusaders.

Goode threw an interception that Crusaders junior safety Ty Kephart caught and returned 64 yards to the Quips’ six-yard line. Saunders completed a short slant route to Russell for an easy score, extending the lead to 13-6 after the missed extra point.

Star Aliquippa sophomore running back/defensive back Tiqwai Hayes then fumbled it on the next drive as Bishop McDevitt senior defensive end Riley Robell forced the ball free at the Aliquippa 25-yard line.

Saunders completed his third touchdown pass of the game with a 12-yard slant pass to four-star junior wide receiver Rico Scott to give the Crusaders a 20-6 lead.

Aliquippa stopped Bishop McDevitt on their first drive in the second half but turned it over yet again. Robell tackled Goode on the handoff and he fumbled it, with senior outside linebacker Brennan Almond getting the ball for Bishop McDevitt at the Aliquippa 30-yard line.

Saunders then threw his fourth touchdown of the game, a go-route to Russell on the first play of the ensuing drive. That touchdown was the third between Saunders and Russell in the game and put the Crusaders up 27-6.

Saunders and Russell collaborated again on a long, nine-play, 63-yard drive on an 11-yard slant route for a touchdown to put Bishop McDevitt up 34-6.

The Quips then got back in the game, as they intercepted Saunders twice on consecutive drives.

Hayes made the first one and ran it all the way back, 56 yards, for a touchdown. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Donovan Walker made the next one and brought it back to midfield. The Quips used the ground game and scored on a one-yard quarterback keep from Goode. Both touchdowns ended in field two-point conversions, cutting the lead to 34-18.

Bishop McDevitt ran most of the ensuing drive to burn five minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter. Three-star Minnesota commit and senior running back Marquese Williams ran 68 of the 70 yards on the drive for his first touchdown of the game to extend the lead to 41-18. That touchdown ended any chance of an Aliquippa comeback in the game.

Aliquippa brings star players Hayes and Lindsey back next year, giving them a chance to come back and reign supreme in the state. This loss hurts them but gives them the opportunity to learn and grow going into 2023.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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