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Aliquippa QB Shegog has stepped into leadership role

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Aliquippa quarterback Malik Shegog dives into the end zone to score under Washington's Darius Spinks during the second quarter of the WPIAL Class AA championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Heinz Field.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Aliquippa quarterback Malik Shegog dives into the end zone to score under Washington's Darius Spinks during the second quarter of the WPIAL Class AA championship game Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Aliquippa running back Terry Swanson.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review</em></div>Aliquippa running back Terry Swanson.

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RB/DB, Jr.

5-foot-9, 182 pounds

A terrific athlete who almost gets lost in the shuffle for the loaded Quips, Swanson had a team-high 206 rushing yards in the WPIAL championship game. That gave him 1,234 yards on the season. Swanson also has 17 touchdowns.

how they got here

A: Defeated Steel Valley, 55-0; beat Mt. Pleasant, 43-6; defeated Jeannette, 56-0; and beat Washington, 34-7, in WPIAL playoffs.

KC: Beat St. Marys, 34-14; defeated Kane, 33-27, in District 9 tournament; beat District 5 champion Chestnut Ridge, 35-21, in PIAA opening round.

statistical leaders

A: Passing: Malik Shegog, 30-57-565-8 TDs; Rushing: Dravon Henry, 140-1,447-22 TDs; Receiving: Hassahn Thompson 8-233-2 TDs.

KC: Passing: Tyler Kepple, 81-151-1,209-11 TDs; Rushing: Wyatt Everett, 94-699-8 TDs; Receiving: Matt Conto, 24-308-1 TD.

by the numbers

2: State titles for Aliquippa (1991, 2003), which also has won 15 WPIAL crowns.

7: District 9 titles for Karns City, which hasn't won a PIAA championship, like all other D-9 teams.

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 11:12 p.m.

PIAA class AA Quarterfinals

Aliquippa (13-0) vs. Karns City (10-3), 7 p.m. Friday at Sarge Alberts Stadium, Center Township

For a young man who exhibited extraordinary patience in waiting for his opportunity, Malik Shegog sure was quick to interrupt a reporter's question in the Heinz Field interview room this past Friday.

The quarterback of WPIAL Class AA champion Aliquippa, Shegog interjected halfway into an inquiry that was intended to get the Quips' reaction to Washington coach Mike Bosnic's assertion that they might go down as one of the greatest WPIAL Class AA teams of all time.

“You can't be best until you win states,” Shegog said.

Three wins away from its third PIAA championship, Aliquippa (13-0) plays District 9 champion Karns City (10-3) in a quarterfinal 7 p.m. Friday at Central Valley.

Though the Quips have roughly seven times as many rushing yards as they do passing yards, don't take that as a sign that they can't throw.

Because their running game is so potent (more than 350 yards per game), and also because they're often playing with a sizable lead (a 48.8-point average margin of victory), Shegog is rarely asked to use his arm.

That's OK, he also can use his legs to beat teams — witness the 100 yards and two rushing TDs at Heinz Field last week. But Shegog also showed off his throwing ability with a deft 28-yard touchdown pass to Dajon Perry in the first half of that same game.

“He's been very efficient. He can throw the ball,” Quips coach Mike Zmijanac said. “I hope everyone doesn't think he can — which is OK with me if they do.

“He's a terrific athlete. ... We throw the ball when we feel like it, and he's shown he can if we want to and need to.”

Shegog, whose father and uncles and cousins played football at Aliquippa, bided his time before taking over as the Quips' starting quarterback. A defensive back and receiver the past three seasons, Shegog was the backup to Mikal Hall.

“Their offensive line really gets off the ball, and all the running backs have speed and are capable of taking it to the house any play,” Karns City coach Ed Conto said. “We'll have our hands full.”

KEYS TO VICTORY — A: Avoid mistakes, stay the course, don't look ahead. KC: Play turnover-free and keep possession of the ball for long stretches.

PREDICTION — Aliquippa, 43-12

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