Aliquippa scores in final seconds to pull off comeback win over West Allegheny

Friday, September 22, 2023 | 11:49 PM

Aliquippa remained undefeated Friday night with a wild 29-22 comeback win over West Allegheny at Joe P. DeMichela Stadium.

The Indians took a late 22-21 lead after a 17-yard touchdown pass from Brodie Cornell to Tyler Hatton and Andy Cosnek’s PAT with 52 seconds left.

The Indians were one step away from a storybook finish.

However, Aliquippa decided to be the villain in their story.

The Quips drove right down the field and after a 37-yard pass from Quentin Goode to Brandon Banks, they set up shop in West A territory at the 34-yard line.

Goode dropped back to pass and he froze up the safety eyeing in on Arison Walker. This opened up Banks in man coverage down the sideline and Goode delivered a dime. Banks caught it in the end zone with eight seconds left.

Tiqwai Hayes ran in the 2-point conversion, and Aliquippa stayed unbeaten.

Goode wanted to make sure he found the playmakers in crunch time.

“I saw no over-top help. At first they did have over-top help,” Goode said. “All I had to do was keep (West Allegheny’s Brock Cornell) there and we knew what to do.”

Goode held Cornell in the middle of the field, eyeing up another receiver. Banks found himself open and he was anticipating the game-winning throw.

“I knew he was going to come to me,” Banks said. “We did the play before, so I know my quarterback is going to put it there. I just gotta catch it and I caught that one.”

The game was 15-15 heading into the fourth quarter. West Allegheny’s Swiss Army knife, Cornell, had 184 all purpose yards, including a touchdown pass at quarterback, a reception at wide receiver and a touchdown at running back.

The Quips held West A scoreless in the third and Cameron Lindsey spearheaded the team’s defense in countering West A’s run-pass option.

“It was just adjusting on the fly,” Lindsey said. “Being out there and seeing what they were good at and getting us with, we just talked about it at halftime and just adjusted on the fly.”

Lindsey added that the team battling until the end was a testament to its resiliency.

“We’re a resilient group,” Lindsey said. “We’re going to fight to the end. Until the clock hits all those zeros, we’re going to play every down. That’s what coach Mike (Warfield) teaches us: just play your hardest until the very last one.”

West Allegheny started the game off with a 58-yard pass from Brody Malatak to Cornell. This set up a Roman Police 13-yard touchdown run. After the Quips jumped offside, the Indians went for two and were successful when Cornell ran one over center, giving West A an early 8-0 lead.

The Indians forced the Quips to punt. On West A’s next drive, Aliquippa forced a fumble and the Willie Simmons jumped on top of it at the West A 49.

The Quips put together a quick drive that was capped off with a Goode 28-yard touchdown pass to Arison Walker. After Malachi Shegog hit the extra point, the Quips trailed by one 8-7.

Aliquippa forced a three-and-out and manufactured a drive that led into the second quarter.

The Quips drove into the Indians red zone and took the lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass when Goode connected with Jayace Williams. After Hayes ran in the 2-point conversion, the Quips held a 15-8 advantage.

The Indians slowed down the game with a long drive that took up the majority of the second quarter.

During the drive, the Indians ran a gutsy fake punt on fourth-and-4. Noah Pfeffer took a direct snap and ran it to Quip territory for a first down.

The Indians then made it inside the Quip red zone and converted on another fourth down. Cornell ran one in for six from the 4-yard line. After the extra point by Cosnek, the game was knotted up 15-15.

West A’s Teagan Tomei picked off a pass from Goode at the Aliquippa 19 with under two minutes to go. This led to a 31-yard field goal attempt by Cosnek, but the Indians were unable to capitalize after a bad snap on the kick.

The Indians forced a punt on Aliquippa’s first drive of the second half. The Indians got a piece of the punt on a block, and the drive started at the Quip 39-yard line.

Nevertheless, the Indians couldn’t score after a missed 43-yard field goal.

After a long drive by Aliquippa into Indian territory, West A’s Scott Macher Jr. intercepted a tipped pass right before the end of the third quarter.

The Aliquippa defense shut down the Indians and Mekhi Green sacked Cornell on third-and-7.

The Indians forced a three-and-out and got good field position on the punt at the Aliquippa 36, but the Quips forced a fumble on third down and recovered the ball.

Aliquippa turned up the tempo and drove right down the field. Hayes ended the drive on a 6-yard touchdown run. After a blocked PAT, the Quips led 21-15.

West Allegheny wasn’t finished, though. The Indians marched down the field and found the end zone on a pass from Cornell to Hatton to make it 22-21.

This was when Goode and his receivers took control and had the game-clinching drive.

Among the Quips’ leaders on offense was Hayes, who mustered 100 yards on 18 carries, punching in one touchdown.

Goode tallied three touchdown passes and threw for 200 yards, completing 10 out of 18 passes.

Banks caught four passes for 96 yards with a touchdown and Demarkus Walker finished with three receptions for 44 yards. Lindsay tallied 68 yards on the ground on 13 carries.

It was nail biter that kept the fans on the edge of their seats. Junior James Gilbert, who was by Lindsay’s side postgame, said that games like these are what make Friday night lights so special.

“I just thought it was very inspirational for me,” Gilbert said. “I saw my receiver Brandon Banks catch that long touchdown over there. Everything in this game just makes you want to play football for the Quips.”

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