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Aliquippa football claims Parkway Conference title with 35-24 win over Central Valley

The Quips snapped Central Valley's 36-game winning streak
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FREEDOM, Pennsylvania – Central Valley had not lost since the 2019 state championship game, a span of 36 games. That ended Friday night, as Aliquippa defeated the Warriors 35-24 to claim the Parkway Conference title.

“It feels great to win,” Aliquippa wide receiver/defensive back Donovan Walker said. “(beating Central Valley is) something that we haven’t done in four years, but that was just step one (in trying to repeat as WPIAL and PIAA champions), we got to keep going.”

Aliquippa had to come from behind to win after trailing 24-14 at halftime, and did just that with a dominant third quarter.

On Aliquippa’s first drive of the second half, Jon Tracy rushed for a 2-yard touchdown to trim the Central Valley lead to 24-22. Later in the quarter, Walker recorded another receiving touchdown to give the Quips a 28-24 lead.

Then, sophomore running back running back Tiqwai Hayes rushed for another touchdown to cap off the 21-point third quarter performance for the Quips.

Walker finished the game with 5 receptions for 141 yards, while Hayes had 23 carries totaling 166 rushing yards.

The Quips defense also showed up in the second half, recovering a fumble, recording sacks when it looked like the Warriors would get momentum and also intercepting Central Valley quarterback Antwon Johnson twice.

After Central Valley went three-and-out to start the game, the Quips scored on their opening drive when Hayes rushed for a 3-yard touchdown to give Aliquippa a 6-0 lead in the first quarter.

Even though the Warriors started out slow in the first quarter, they outscored the Quips 24-8 in the second quarter, and it looked like Central Valley would once again get the best of Aliquippa.

Warriors quarterback Antwon Johnson scored on a quarterback keeper from one yard out to give the Warriors a 7-6 lead.

The Quips then responded 22 seconds later when junior quarterback Quentin Goode, who completed eight of 13 passes for 170 yards in the game, connected with Walker for a 92-yard touchdown to give the lead right back to Aliquippa.

Later in the second quarter, the Warriors started clicking on offense as Bret Fitzsimmons rushed for a 2-yard touchdown and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Johnson.

Right after Fitzsimmons scored his second touchdown, on the ensuing kickoff Brandon Banks fumbled the ball on the return giving Central Valley the ball back which led to Serafino DeSantis converting a 23-yard field goal to give the Warriors a 10-ppint lead at halftime.

“The coaches just told us to pick our heads up, but it was really Donovan coming out and being a big leader,” Hayes said. “Without him, I don’t think we would have a lot of heart. He’s the heart and soul of the team. He told us in the locker room, ‘We still got this’ and everyone else heard what he said and made big plays.”

This game was arguably the most anticipated football game in the WPIAL with the idea that both teams had won state championships the year before (Aliquippa in 4A and Central Valley in 3A) and both offenses and defenses playing at a high level and ticket sold out days before.

“We knew the stakes were going to be high,” Walker said. “We knew there was going to be a lot of people here and it was going to be a sellout. So, you just have to show out and perform and that’s what we did.

For Aliquippa, being the only team in WPIAL 4A to record an undefeated regular season record is impressive as they are aware that a target will be on their backs during playoffs. However, for the Quips nothing is new as they have a rich history of football success and a sustain culture. With the support the team receives from the community, it continues to push them to repeat as WPIAL and PIAA champions.

“It means a lot for the fans to always be with us at our game. The community is with us, and we’re with them, that’s just how it’s always been,” Walker said. “When we were little kids, we grew up seeing the older teams succeed, and to see us do it, it feels amazing.”