Aliquippa Rams Richland in PIAA AA Semifinals
Saturday, December 8, 2012 | 8:06 AM
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Aliquippa used a familiar formula in earning its way to the PIAA Class AA State Football Title Game…a quick and physical defense combined with a bruising offensive line. Both were key in its 15th win without a loss in dispatching the previously-unbeaten Richland Rams 37-21 Friday night at North Allegheny's Newman Stadium.
Richland missed an opportunity to jump ahead early on its first possession after surprising the Quips with a 47 yard pass to Kyle Flick.
However, Aliquippa's defense would hold at its 12 yard line as Richland would eventually miss a 42 yard field goal.
After a scoreless first quarter, Aliquippa would score first and take the lead for good in the 2nd quarter on an 18 yard run by Terry Swanson. That touchdown was set up by Dravon Henry's 55 yard burst to make it 8-0.
The Quips would go on to score 23 in the 2nd period on a 9 yard run by Henry and a 2 yard dive by Quarterback Malik Shegog.
Richland had pulled to within 16-6 on a Matt Shaffer 4 yard scoring pass to Flick before Aliquippa drove 65 yards in a 1:27 segment to go up by 17 at the half.
The Rams would score on a Justin Solarczyk 3 yard run before Aliquippa established firm control. Their offensive line of center Nayo Seanburn, guards Damon Sims and Malik Akins and tackles Jaleel Fields and Malcom Frazier dominated the line of scrimmage as Henry scored on runs of 2 and 27 yards to put the game out of reach.
The defense delivered in the clutch too stopping Richland deep in their own territory after the Rams had pulled to within 10 in the second half. Defensive tackle Khalil Seaburn rushed Shaffer into a bad throw and forced Richland to try a 39 yard field goal which was off to the right.
Also, Aliquippa forced 3 turnovers…all interceptions by Malik Stewart, Shegog and Jeff Cassucio.
The game was played in a constant drizzle and Aliquippa won the time of possession battle, scoring 4 of its 5 touchdowns on drives of 76, 70, 65 and 80 yards.
Aliquippa hopes to have tailback Terry Swanson back for the state final. He injured his right ankle after converting a key third down in the 4th quarter on a 24 yard run. He did not return to the PIAA Western Final.
Another factor in the game was 4th down conversions as Aliquippa was 3 of 3 in that area.
The District 6 chamion Rams see their season end at 14-1.
The 15-0 Quips will go after their third PIAA crown on Saturday, December 15th at Noon at Hersheypark Stadium against the winner of Saturday's AA Semifinals game between Imhotep Prep Charter and Wyomissing.
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