PIAA Class AA: Do-it-all Revis powers Aliquippa to 32-27 win vs. Northern Lehigh
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HERSHEY, Pa. -- Honest kid, this Darrelle Revis. When asked about his blocked field goal yesterday, Revis corrected the newspaper reporter.Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Aliquippa's Chalmar Jones (68) gets help bringing down Northern Lehigh's Andy Serfass.
Click photo for larger image.
"That wasn't me," he said. "Seriously, I didn't block it."
So Revis actually didn't do everything for Aliquippa. It only seemed that way.
Revis, a 6-foot, 175-pound senior, put on one of the most extraordinary individual performances in PIAA championship history and led Aliquippa to a 32-27 victory against Northern Lehigh in the Class AA title game yesterday at Hersheypark Stadium.
Revis' 64-yard touchdown run with 4:23 left in the game was the winning score for Aliquippa and it was the exclamation point on Revis' performance. LaVar Arrington, Kerry Collins, Ty Law, Jon Ritchie and Kyle Brady are some of the NFL players who have participated in PIAA title games. None of them had a performance like Revis. He played receiver, running back, quarterback, defensive back and returned kicks. He scored all five of Aliquippa's touchdowns to tie a PIAA individual record.
How's this for an all-around game:
Revis rushed for 91 yards on 13 attempts and scored three touchdowns.
He picked up a blocked field goal and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown.
He returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
He intercepted a pass and returned it 33 yards, and also had another interception negated because of a penalty.
He completed a 39-yard pass that set up a touchdown.
He caught one pass for 6 yards.
He had five solo tackles.
There is no truth to the rumor Revis also made the beds at Aliquippa's hotel yesterday morning.
"I was Ron Turcotte," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said. "He was the jockey who rode Secretariat years ago to the triple crown. We had a horse and I just said, 'Let's ride him.' "
And Zmijanac rode into PIAA lore. He becomes the first coach to win PIAA championships in basketball and football. He won a basketball title with the Quips in 1997.
"That's just because I'm old," Zmijanac, 60, said. "Anyone old enough and coaches might get to do that."
Zmijanac might be old, but what Revis did to Northern Lehigh was something new. The Bulldogs had allowed only 47 points this season. Revis had 30 himself.
"He has great body control," Northern Lehigh coach Jim Tkach said. "He kind of sets you up and puts you in a neutral position. Then he just takes off. We hadn't seen anyone like him."
Aliquippa held a 20-14 lead at halftime. After Northern Lehigh scored first on Jake Serfass' 5-yard run, Revis returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. Northern Lehigh went back in front of Kyle Follweiler's 36-yard run with 3:36 left in the first quarter.
Northern Lehigh was in position to extend its lead later in the opening quarter when Aaron Mill set up for a 28-yard field-goal attempt. But Revis, Michael Washington and Marquay Riggins broke through the line and the kick was blocked. Revis picked it up and ran 69 yards for a score.
"Mike Washington blocked it," Revis said. "I was surprised to see the ball just sitting on the ground. I picked it up and took off."
Aliquippa went on an eight-play, 70-yard drive in the second quarter and Revis capped the march with a 2-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal.
Northern Lehigh scored twice in the third quarter to take a 27-20 lead. But Aliquippa had a strong wind at its back in the fourth quarter, and when Zmijanac switched Revis to quarterback in the fourth quarter, the Quips blew past the Bulldogs. Revis replaced Sjavante Gilliam.
"When it gets to the point of the game where we can't get Darrelle the ball other ways, we put him at quarterback. It was time [in the fourth quarter]," Zmijanac said.
Revis' only pass attempt came early in the fourth quarter and it went 39 yards to Jerrad Littlejohn. Four plays later, Revis ran 2 yards for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal.
Northern Lehigh came back on the next possession and moved to the Aliquippa 25, but Serfass, who rushed for 131 yards on 18 carries, fumbled and Aliquippa linebacker Will Forbes recovered at the 28.
Two plays later, Revis took the snap, rolled to his left and headed upfield. He cut back across the field and raced for a 64-yard touchdown run.
"It was a pass play," Revis said. "But the defensive end was crashing inside. I saw the outside open, so I just took off."
Littlejohn, a receiver, appeared to be moving forward before the ball was snapped on Revis' touchdown play, but the officials didn't call a motion penalty.
"We saw [the motion]," Tkach said. "But I'm not one to complain about officiating."
Zmijanac said, "What about them holding our receivers all the time? We got one call in 48 minutes. I'm not going to let that ruin what my kids did."
It was Aliquippa's second PIAA title. The other was in 1991 at South Stadium.
Revis won't bask in the glory for long, though. He has other things on his mind. He is one of the top basketball players in the WPIAL and Aliquippa opens section play with a big game tomorrow night against Beaver Falls.
"I'll be playing," Revis said.
First Published December 8, 2003 12:00 am