No. 1 Aliquippa blanks New Brighton
Aliquippa's big-play scoring tandem has the Quips pacing Class AA yet again.
Blue-chip prospect Dravon Henry scored three touchdowns, and fellow senior Terry Swanson added a 44-yard score as No. 1 Aliquippa cruised past New Brighton, 43-0, in a Midwestern Conference matchup at Carl A. Aschman Stadium.
New Brighton (3-1, 2-1) entered the game with the WPIAL's highest-scoring offense at 52.7 points per game but lost star quarterback Gabe Greco to an apparent ankle injury at the end of the first quarter, and the Lions suffered another blowout loss to the powerhouse Quips (4-0, 2-0).
Aliquippa defeated New Brighton, 66-0, last season.
“I have really, really good players,” Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said, “and tonight, they played really well.”
The defending two-time WPIAL champions appear poised to take a run at a 16th title, largely thanks to Henry, who holds offers from Pitt, West Virginia and Ohio State.
The senior likely will play defense in college, but Aliquippa continues to use Henry in the backfield, at receiver and on defense. Against the Lions, Henry scored each way.
He opened the scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Darrien Fields, scored on a 56-yard interception return and added a 60-yard touchdown run that pushed the lead to 23-0.
“They came out on fire, and I really didn't expect that,” Henry said. “We came back at them and ended up getting the win.”
Swanson carried six times for 117 yards and one touchdown, and Fields completed six of eight attempts for 100 yards and two scores.
Fields, a junior, connected with Patrick Anderson on a 30-yard touchdown at the end of the first half that pushed the score to 36-0 and triggered the mercy rule.
“This year, we are trying to get to use them together,” Zmijanac said of Henry and Swanson. “We are trying to find different ways to get them on the field at the same time.”
“You don't know who is getting the ball,” Henry said.
New Brighton used juniors Payton Fath and Blaine Williams in place of the injured Greco, but both struggled to move the ball against the stout Aliquippa defense.
Fath displayed a strong arm and twice moved the Lions deep into Aliquippa territory, but a turnover on downs and an interception prevented New Brighton from scoring.
No update was available on Greco's status for next week against Freedom.
Fernano Glenn added a 2-yard touchdown run in the second half for the Quips, who rested their starters after the break.
Brian Duermeyer is a freelance writer.