Aliquippa dominates Dallas to become school’s 1st undefeated state championship team

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Thursday, December 7, 2023 | 9:56 PM


MECHANICSBURG — Not Ty Law. Not Darrelle Revis. None of the all-time greats in Aliquippa history had ever celebrated an undefeated state championship. That perfect ending had eluded the Quips five times before, including just a year ago here at Cumberland Valley.

But this season turned out flawless.

Tikey Hayes boosted his stock as maybe the next all-time great by scoring three times in the first half, and sophomore Qalil Goode picked off three passes as Aliquippa celebrated a 60-14 victory over Dallas in the PIAA Class 4A final at Chapman Field. The clock ran continuously for the final quarter and a half under the 35-point mercy rule.

The state title was the fifth overall and the second in three years for Aliquippa. But a 14-0 record made this one unique.

“No team ever went undefeated, so we can now say we’re the best team in Aliquippa history,” Hayes said.

The Quips were here in the exact same position a year ago, but saw their undefeated record fall in the championship game. That was the fifth undefeated team to lose in a state final, but the Quips certainly crushed any championship curse this time.

The 60 points were the fifth-most scored in a PIAA final.

“It’s definitely special,” said Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield, who won his third title in six years. “Like I told the kids after last week’s game, ‘We’re going to go get this thing. I’m not superstitious. We’re not going to be superstitious.’”

A Penn State-bound junior, Hayes powered the offense with 222 yards on 18 carries and scored on runs of 7, 34 and 61 yards. He climbed into the top 10 on the WPIAL’s all-time rushing list and has another year to go. The Quips led 40-14 at half behind three touchdowns from Hayes, whose presence drew Nittany Lions coach James Franklin to the stadium.

“That’s the best high school back I’ve ever seen,” Dallas coach Rich Mannello said. “He’s that’s good. He’s going to go on and have a great college career and who knows after that.”

Hayes’ individual effort was rivaled only by Goode, who intercepted three Dallas passes in the first half. He returned one 87 yards for a pick-6 just before halftime, a play that dashed any momentum Dallas had built late in the half.

“The pick-6 changed the game,” Warfield said. “They’re a good team. This is 4A. They’re going to have a run, and I think that switched it back over to our side.”

Dallas was trying to cut the lead to 11, but Goode’s long return instead gave Aliquippa a 40-14 edge. Goode also had interception on Dallas’ second and fifth possessions.

“This definitely wasn’t how I imagined it, but it couldn’t have turned out any better,” Goode said. “He kept trying to throw it over the top (of our defense) and I was there every time.”

Dallas quarterback Brady Zapoticky completed 9 of 26 passes for 137 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions.

Goode sprinted the length of the field with an entourage of teammates who contributed to a dominant defensive effort. Arison Walker also had two interceptions, and Jayace Williams had two sacks and a team-high six tackles.

The mercy rule took effect with 6:11 left in the third with the Quips ahead 52-14.

Aliquippa also got touchdowns from seniors Brandon Banks, Cameron Lindsey and two from John Tracy, who finished with 135 rushing yards on eight carries. Tracy scored on runs of 15 and 46 yards. Lindsey reached the end zone on a 9-yard run, and Banks caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from senior Quentin Goode on the Quips’ first possession of the night.

Goode, the older brother of Qalil, completed 5 of 12 passes for 149 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He led Aliquippa to touchdowns on its first two possessions to lead 16-0.

District 2 champion Dallas (15-1) was seeking its first state title since winning the Class 2A title in 1993. The Mountaineers were 4A runners-up to Thomas Jefferson in 2019.

Aliquippa previously won state titles in 1991, 2003, 2018 and 2021.

“You don’t want to lose a game like this, but you can swallow it a little bit easier knowing it was a public school,” Mannello said. “You’ve got to feel good when public schools make it to this point.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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