High school football notebook: Quips' historic playoff resume getting longer

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The Aliquippa football team has won a WPIAL record 15 championships. But simply getting to the championship game this year puts the Quips in the record books.

Aliquippa defeated Beaver, 57-14, in the Class AA semifinals Friday night to earn a sixth consecutive appearance in the championship game. The WPIAL has played championship games since 1915 and only one other team has played in a title game six years in a row.

Thomas Jefferson made the Class AAA title game six consecutive years from 2003-08. Also, Braddock High School won six consecutive WPIAL titles from 1954-59. But technically, Braddock didn't "play" in six title games. In 1955, there was no title game and Braddock was declared the champion.

For Aliquippa to get WPIAL title No. 16, the Quips have to defeat a South Fayette team that is making only its fourth championship appearance. South Fayette beat Aliquippa in the 2010 title game, and South Fayette also played in title games in 1967 and 1936. South Fayette was declared champion in 1964 without a title game.

But there is more history associated with Aliquippa in this postseason:

* The victory against Beaver was the biggest blowout in WPIAL semifinal history. The WPIAL started having semifinal games in 1971, and since then no team has won by 43 points.

* Aliquippa's Mike Zmijanac is attempting to become only the seventh coach in WPIAL history to win six titles.

* Aliquippa is trying to win its third consecutive title. The previous team to win three Class AA titles in a row was Braddock in the 1950s.

* In the quarterfinals, Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson became the first WPIAL running backs from the same backfield to have 4,000 career yards rushing.

Parkway power

Two years ago, Rivals.com named the top 15 conferences in the country and the WPIAL Class AAA Parkway Conference made the cut. The Parkway has flexed its muscles once again this season.

West Allegheny will play Central Valley in the WPIAL Class AAA championship Friday. Both teams are from the Parkway and this is the third time in five years that two Parkway Conference teams have played for the championship. It is the eighth year in a row that at least one Parkway team made the final.

Statistical sense

From the category of "crazy statistics:" In a District 10 semifinal game Friday, Oil City ran 78 offensive plays to only 30 for Erie Cathedral Prep. But the score of the game was almost the opposite. Cathedral Prep won, 70-26.

Big plays were the story of the game for Cathedral Prep. Five of the Ramblers' 10 touchdowns came on plays of 50 yards or more and the average length of those 10 touchdowns was 38.4 yards.

Cathedral Prep is now the Post-Gazette's No. 1-ranked team in the state after Thomas Jefferson, the previous No. 1 team, lost to Central Valley. Cathedral Prep is the defending PIAA champion and plays General McLane in the District 10 championship.

The winner plays the winner of the WPIAL title game between West Allegheny and Central Valley.

Although Cathedral Prep lost a number of starters from last year's team, the Ramblers still have rolled this season. They are averaging 51.9 points a game.

Elsewhere

* Shai McKenzie, the standout running back at Washington, visited Virginia Tech this weekend. He already has been to Florida State and plans to go to Georgia Tech next month. Pitt is his other finalist.

* Aaron Krepps resigned as Belle Vernon's coach after five seasons. Krepps guided Belle Vernon to the playoffs in each of his five seasons and his record was 22-28.

* Natalie Randolph, believed to be the only female head coach in the country, resigned at Coolidge High in Washington, D.C. Randolph said she wanted to spend more time with her family. She went 16-26 in four seasons and her best year came in 2011 when her team went 8-3.

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


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