Aliquippa seniors hope to cement their legacy
By Chris Harlan
Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Aliquippa seniors Donovan Cobb, Jaleel Fields, Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson are two-time WPIAL champions who have reached Heinz Field three times.
Yet, their coach asks, what have you done lately?
“I've told them: That team that went to the state championship, that wasn't you,” coach Mike Zmijanac said.
“It only matters what you did as a senior, when you're sitting in a bar someday and someone asks.”
With a senior class that's already more accomplished than almost any outside Clairton, complacency could undermine expectations. But Zmijanac diligently reminds his players that each class will be remembered most for what it does senior year.
“Coach Z says that all the time,” Henry said. “He told us one time about a senior class that didn't even make the playoffs. I got to thinking, you can't take nothing for granted.
“Every time I'm at practice or in the weight room, I go so hard until I can't walk anymore just because I don't want to be remembered as ‘They could have did this' or ‘They could have did that.' ”
The four-year starters should provide stability for an offense that must replace its quarterback, receivers and several starting linemen from a lineup that lost by three points in the state championship.
Henry and Swanson were 1,000-yard rushers last year when the Quips were state runners-up.
Henry had 1,857 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns. Swanson had 1,421 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The tailbacks mostly split time last year but could be used together more this season. Both also are talented defensive backs.
A solid two-way tackle, Fields has anchored Aliquippa's lines. Cobb has played tight end and linebacker.
“The experience of the kids we do have back will be a strength,” Zmijanac said. “... When you have four seniors who have started in three WPIAL championship games, that's pretty special.”
At quarterback, junior Darrien Fields will replace graduated Malik Shegog, who's at Duquesne.
Even with significant roster turnover, the Quips are early-season favorites to return to WPIAL championship for the sixth consecutive season.
“That would be special,” Swanson said, “but I think our fans they're pretty tired of just Heinz Field. They want more. States is the ultimate goal.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clarion’s explosive offense to test Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic’s stingy defense
- Gateway football coach Militzer won’t return
- Cathedral Prep again eliminates West Allegheny from PIAA playoffs
- Central Catholic defense gets Vikings into PIAA semifinals
- Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic responds in a hurry for PIAA quarterfinal victory
- High school notebook: WPIAL career passing leader Williams commits to Temple
- Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic wins 1st WPIAL football championship
- Shady Side Academy gridders earn conference honors
- PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals preview: Central Catholic vs. Erie McDowell
- High school notebook: Gateway football falls to Class AAA based on new PIAA enrollment figures