Xtra Points: Quips duo effective

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Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson aren't twins, but a look at the statistics of the two Aliquippa halfbacks shows they are identical.

Henry and Swanson are both juniors who have been highly successful in Aliquippa's two-halfback system. In most games, they rotate every series.

Henry is averaging 11.5 yards a carry.

Swanson is averaging 11.5 yards a carry.

"We run the same plays, no matter who is in there," said Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac. "It's not like we change styles when one is in there."

As a one-two punch goes, Henry are Swanson are unlike any other in the WPIAL. Henry has rushed for 1,072 yards on 83 attempts and Swanson has 841 on 73 carries. No other team in the WPIAL has two running backs with more than 800 yards rushing each.

Aliquippa could soon have two 1,000-yard rushers. The Quips (10-0) play Mount Pleasant (8-2) in a WPIAL Class AA quarterfinal tonight at Peters Township.

"I guess it is unusual to have two like this," Zmijanac said. "They're in the backfield together sometimes, but not often."

When asked why he doesn't play the two together much, Zmijanac said, "Because I have other good players, too."

Both Henry (5 feet 11, 185 pounds) and Swanson (5-9, 182) also start at defensive back. Henry has Division I scholarship offers to play defensive back. Zmijanac believes Swanson could end up with offers in the future.

"The thing is they have a great relationship and they have totally bought into the team thing," Zmijanac said. "I have never seen any hint of jealousy or anything from them. Like last week, it was really neat in the game when Dravon broke a long run for a touchdown, the first one to greet him, or bump him, or whatever they do, was Terry.

"Maybe that comes with winning. Maybe if we were losing they would be ticked off at each other."

Quite an autumn

It has been a fall sports season like no other at Mars High School.

First, the football team is 9-1 and the Greater Allegheny Conference champions. The Planets are in the Class AAA quarterfinals tonight. But that's only part of what has made this fall so unusual at the school in southern Butler County.

The Mars boys and girls soccer teams, and the school's girls volleyball team all played for WPIAL championships last Saturday. Before this year only one other school in the history of the WPIAL had both soccer teams and a girls volleyball team make it to WPIAL championship matches. Mt. Lebanon did it in 1998.

But Mars wasn't the only school in the WPIAL to pull off a "triple play" of championship game appearances last Saturday. Greensburg Central Catholic also had two soccer teams and its girls volleyball team in WPIAL championship games.

No school, however, has ever won both soccer titles and the girls volleyball title in the same season. For Mars and Greensburg Central Catholic, they both won girls soccer and girls volleyball titles last Saturday, but lost in the boys soccer championship matches.

Mt. Lebanon couldn't win all three championships in 1998, either.

Final stats

• A look at the final regular-season football statistics once again shows how district teams pass much more these days.

This was the third consecutive regular season that at least 30 quarterbacks in the WPIAL and City League threw for more than 1,000 yards (35 hit the milestone this year). It is believed to be the first such three-year span in WPIAL history.

This was the sixth time since 2004 that at least 30 quarterbacks threw for 1,000 yards. In the previous 20 seasons, 30 quarterbacks threw for 1,000 yards in the regular season only twice (1997 and 1995).

To give an example of how the game has changed, consider this: Over the past three years, 107 quarterbacks have thrown for at least 1,000 yards in the regular season. Go back to a three-year span from 1980-82 and only 54 quarterbacks threw for 1,000 yards. In 1980, only 13 quarterbacks reached 1,000.

• Washington's Shai McKenzie and Burrell's Cole Bush led the WPIAL in touchdowns during the regular season with 31 and 30, respectively. It is the first time since 1991 that the WPIAL had two players with 30 touchdowns in the regular season. That year, Rochester's Essex Law had 33 and Freeport's Jay White 30.

• This was the third year in a row a Challingsworth brother from South Fayette finished among the top dozen receivers in the WPIAL. Zach Challingsworth was fourth this season with 46 catches, after finishing 12th last year with 35. Two years ago, Tyler Challingsworth was eighth with 42 receptions.

TV games

Root Sports television will carry the Seneca Valley vs. Mt. Lebanon Class AAAA quarterfinal live tonight from North Allegheny.

Comcast television will show the West Mifflin-Mars Class AAA game "On Demand" starting Monday.

Check this out

Harvey Smith is no longer the football coach at Imani Christian. Smith wouldn't say whether he resigned or was dismissed as coach, but did confirm he is no longer with the team.

This was Imani Christian's first season in the WPIAL and the team finished with a 6-3 record. But Imani is on two years probation and was ineligible for the WPIAL playoffs. Imani Christian is a small private school in the East Hills section of Pittsburgh.

• Greensburg Central Catholic defensive back Zach Guiser finished his career with 20 interceptions. Guiser is a University of Akron recruit.

• City League runner-up University Prep begins play in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs tonight against Somerset at Cupples Stadium on the South Side. City League champion Perry is idle this week and begins play in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs next week against McDowell.

Rematch already?

For the WPIAL teams left in the PIAA Class AAA boys and girls soccer playoffs, it's a case of "Didn't we just meet?"

The way the PIAA set up the brackets, the teams that met in the WPIAL Class AAA championship matches last Saturday will meet again a week later in the PIAA quarterfinals Saturday.

On the boys side, Canon-McMillan will play Upper St. Clair in a rematch of the title game, won by Canon-McMillan, 1-0. This is actually the fourth meeting between the two. Upper St. Clair defeated Canon-McMillan twice during the regular season.

In the Class AAA girls quarterfinals, Peters Township takes on Seneca Valley again after beating the Raiders, 2-1, in the WPIAL final.


For more on high school sports, go to "Varsity Blog" at www.post-gazette.com/varsityblog. Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1975. Twitter @mwhiteburgh


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