WPIAL favorite Aliquippa has state championship expectations
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Aliquippa Quips know that their hometown expects a WPIAL championship from them every year whether they're the favorites or not.
But this year, it's state title or bust.
The Quips are preseason favorites in the WPIAL and likely have the most talented Class AA roster in the state. They return almost every starter from a team that reached the PIAA semifinals, so reaching Hershey remains their goal.
“I expect a state championship this year,” said junior Dravon Henry, a talented halfback and cornerback. “We're working hard for it.”
Staying focused amid such high expectations could be their biggest challenge.
“We can't let the papers and the rankings get to our heads,” junior Donovan Cobb said. “We can't get big-headed. We've got to stay humble.”
A 14-7 victory over Jeannette last November at Heinz Field earned Aliquippa its 14th WPIAL football title, most in league history. It was the Quips' fourth straight appearance in the championship game. Their PIAA playoff run ended with a 20-19 loss to Tyrone.
The season was far from a disappointment, but losing with Hershey in reach certainly was, players said.
“It still sticks with me,” said Henry, one of seven sophomore starters in 2011. “That's just our motivator. That's going to make us go harder this year. We came up short, but we're not going to come up short this year.”
Their most significant roster loss was quarterback Mikal Hall, a four-year starter who led a 96-yard game-winning drive at Heinz Field. Senior Malik Shegog replaces the 1,600-yard passer.
Shegog has a talented backfield to help the transition. Henry and Terry Swanson combined for more than 2,400 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Aliquippa will replace leading receivers Davion Hall and Kaylan Kenney at wideout with a speedy trio of senior Shaquere McBride, junior Jyier Turner and senior Hassahn Thompson. McBride, Thompson and Henry helped Aliquippa set a WPIAL track record in the 400-meter relay last spring.
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.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Man beaten, robbed in South Side, police say
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Transportation funding uncertainty impacts planning for Western Pa.
- Boscov’s could help sustain decade-old Pittsburgh Mills
- Coming off hill revives Seton Hill University, downtown Greensburg
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Governor Wolf’s outreach to lawmakers contrasts with Corbett’s style