Aliquippa achieve unbeaten season with 39-7 win over Beaver

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Nearly all of the words that mean "powerful" have been used to describe the Aliquippa football team this season.

It was called "dominant" after it defeated by more than 40 points opponents such as Freedom and New Brighton. It was described as "unstoppable" after it mercy-ruled a Beaver Falls team that entered the game 6-1.

Friday night, a new word was used to describe the team, one that Aliquippa worked all season to achieve -- perfect.

Capitalizing on a strong rushing attack and an opportunistic defense, Aliquippa defeated Beaver, 39-7, acquiring the No. 1 seed in the Midwestern Conference for the Class AA playoffs and its third consecutive undefeated regular season.

"I feel pretty good," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said of the win and his team's chances in the playoffs.

The win marks the fifth consecutive year that Aliquippa, the defending Class AA champion, has captured at least a share of the conference regular season title.

The Quips (9-0) almost doubled the Bobcats (8-1) in total yards, a 317-177 margin, getting 138 rushing yards and a touchdown from running back Dravon Henry and 80 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Terry Swanson.

While the Aliquippa offense did its part, the team was largely buoyed by its defense, which limited to just a single touchdown a Beaver offense that had entered the game averaging 39 points per game.

Without having played an offensive snap, Beaver appeared to seize some early momentum, forcing the high-powered Aliquippa offense to punt on its first possession.

However, facing a long third down on his team's 25-yard line, Beaver quarterback Austin Ross threw a pass that was intercepted by Aliquippa's Javon Alexander and returned for a touchdown.

After a touchdown run from Terry Swanson extended the Quips' lead to double digits in the second quarter, Ross again had a pass intercepted, this time by Jyier Turner, for another touchdown, putting the Quips up 20-0, a lead they carried into halftime.

A 60-yard touchdown run from Anthony Keriotis pulled Beaver within two touchdowns in the third quarter, but Aliquippa responded with 13 points that quarter to effectively put the game away by the start of the game's final period.

The Bobcats were playing without their top offensive player, running back Darian Bradley, who has an injured right knee.

With the regular season over, Aliquippa and Beaver have the conference's No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, for the Class AA playoffs, which guarantees both teams home games in the first round.



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