Xtra Points: Aliquippa offers history lesson that will be tough to duplicate
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This Aliquippa football team has the makings of one of the best in school history and a check of the record books shows Aliquippa's performance in the WPIAL title game last week was truly one for the ages.
Aliquippa defeated Washington, 34-7, to win the Class AA title at Heinz Field. There have been 116 WPIAL championship games played at Heinz Field and Three Rivers Stadium. The first was in 1970 between Mt. Lebanon and Kiski Area. In those 116 games at the "big houses," the Quips set the following records against Washington:
• Most yards rushing with 505, breaking the mark of 465 by Woodland Hills in 2001. Woodland Hills quarterback Steve Breaston rushed for 219 yards in that game.
• Most total yards in a game with 543, breaking the mark of 523 set by Woodland Hills in 2001. Seton-LaSalle is next with 489 in 2004.
• Most players with 100 or more yards rushing in a game at Heinz or Three Rivers. Aliquippa had three as Terry Swanson rushed for 206 yards, Dravon Henry 123 and quarterback Malik Shegog 100. Only seven previous times did a team have two 100-yard rushers.
Considering the way offenses weren't as potent decades ago, Aliquippa very well might be the first to have three 100-yard rushers in any championship game, even prior to Three Rivers. But there are no records to check that.
On top of the records, Swanson became only the sixth running back to rush for 200 yards in a game at Heinz or Three Rivers. The record is 274 by Hopewell's Rushel Shell in 2009.
This was the 15th title in Aliquippa history, and the Quips already have set a school record for points in a season with 658, crushing the mark of 509 by the 2003 team that won a PIAA title and featured Darrelle Revis.
Besides Aliquippa, the seven teams that had two 100-yard rushers in a title game at Heinz or Three Rivers were: 2012 West Allegheny (Nick Halbedl and Chayse Dillon); '06 Thomas Jefferson (Dom DeCicco and Brian Baldrige); '03 Pine-Richland (Greg Hough and Tom Newman); '01 Woodland Hills (Steve Breaston and Kareem Dutrieuille); 1998 Rochester (Reuben Jackson and Randy Anderson); '95 Penn Hills (Dewayne Thompson and Victor Strader); '92 Blackhawk (Brian Smith and Pat Cutshall).
The TV ratings for the WPIAL Class AAAA championship on Root Sports were very good. The Woodland Hills-North Allegheny game had a 4.31 rating in the Pittsburgh area, which means about 130,000 people tuned into the game. The Class AAAA final got the best ratings, by far, of the four games. The other three, though, were pretty much blowouts while North Allegheny defeated Woodland Hills, 21-14.
Clairton's long winning streak apparently created some interest because the Clairton-Sto-Rox rating was 2.80 That is one of the best ratings for a Class A final. The Class AA game had a 2.85 rating and the AAA final 1.73. The average for the day was 2.92.
North Allegheny football is getting more national attention. This week, the Tigers are in the top 25 in two national rankings. North Allegheny is No. 1 in Maxpreps' rankings and No. 25 in USA Today. North Allegheny plays McDowell in the PIAA quarterfinals tonight.
A few more WPIAL football coaching jobs came open when Deer Lakes opened Todd Hazlett's position, and Tim Sohyda resigned at Canon-McMillan. The other four open are Imani Christian, Chartiers Valley, Shenango and Laurel.
Also, when Oliver closed in June, Carey White was out of a basketball coaching job after some successful seasons as the Bears' boys coach. But White landed the Brashear boys job.
There is a chance Pitt could end up with three recruits from Clairton this year. Clairton WR-DB Titus Howard committed to Pitt in the summer, and the Panthers are one of the teams trying to land Clairton star WR-RB Tyler Boyd. But the Panthers are also trying to get Clairton WR-DB Terrish Webb.
Although Webb made a verbal commitment to Kent State in the fall, Pitt offered Webb a scholarship last Saturday, one day after the WPIAL championships. Webb said he is now considering Pitt, but plans to make official visits to Kent State, Pitt and Toledo before making a final decision.
"I'm still in the thinking process," said Webb. "This [Pitt scholarship] was unexpected. It happened so fast."
The Grey Cup --the Canadian Football League's version of the Super Bowl _ was played this past Sunday, and the head coaches of the teams were former WPIAL quarterbacks.
Former Butler quarterback Scott Milanovich, 39, is the first-year coach of the Toronto Argonauts, who defeated the Calgary Stampeders, 35-22. The coach of Calgary is John Hufnagel, 61, a former standout quarterback at Montour.
Milanovich went on to play at the University of Maryland and Hufnagel was a standout at Penn State. It was 22 years ago last week that Milanovich was quarterback of the Butler team that lost to North Allegheny, 9-0, in the WPIAL Class AAAA championship game at Three Rivers Stadium.
First Published November 30, 2012 12:00 am