Aliquippa stays perfect by topping Beaver
Beaver completed two passes Friday night against Aliquippa, and both went for touchdowns.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats,, neither was caught by one of their receivers.
Class AA No. 1 Aliquippa scored twice on interception returns in a 39-7 win at Carl A. Aschman Memorial Stadium.
“That's why we've been winning all these years,” Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said. “When you play defense, you always have a chance to win.”
Aliquippa (9-0, 7-0) clinched the Midwestern Conference title and likely has earned the top seed in the postseason. Dravon Henry rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown, and Terry Swanson added three scores on the ground.
Beaver (8-1, 6-1) played without leading rusher Darian Bradley, who sat out with a knee injury. In his absence, the Bobcats went with a running back-by-committee approach.
But Beaver's passing game proved more costly. Aliquippa's Devon Walker intercepted an Austin Ross pass on Beaver's third play, returning it 26 yards for a touchdown.
Aliquippa's top-ranked defense struck again in the second quarter when Jyier Turner took an interception 21 yards for a score.
“We knew coming in that we couldn't make major mistakes,” Beaver coach Jeff Beltz said. “But we wanted to play aggressively, and sometimes that goes along with it. But the Aliquippa players had to make those plays, and they did.”
While the Quips' defense showed quick-strike ability, the offense controlled the game on the ground. Between the interception returns for scores, Aliquippa went on a 13-play, 85-yard drive capped by a 2-yard run by Swanson.
Beaver got on the board on its opening drive of the second half when Anthony Keriotis took a pitch 60 yards for a touchdown. But Aliquippa answered when Henry burst for a 27-yard TD run.
Swanson added two more short touchdown runs for the Quips, who will begin their WPIAL title defense next week.
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org