In storied Aliquippa football history, could these Quips show they’re best with another PIAA title?

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Thursday, December 1, 2022 | 8:27 PM


There’s always room to debate which Aliquippa football team was the best in school history.

With 19 WPIAL titles and four state championships, there are plenty of options to consider. In the state championship era, the Quips won their first PIAA title in 1991 with Ty Law as a senior. A little more than a decade later, they celebrated again when Darrelle Revis scored five times at Hersheypark Stadium.

Could this year’s team top them all?

The current Quips are trying to do something none of their predecessors could: Celebrate state championships in back-to-back years.

“We’re trying not to look too far ahead, we’re taking it one game at a time,” running back Tiqwai Hayes said, “but that would be awesome if we go back to back.”

Reigning state champion Aliquippa (12-0) begins its title defense at 7 p.m. Friday against District 11 champion Allentown Central Catholic (9-5) in a PIAA Class 4A semifinal at Bald Eagle Area near Bellefonte.

The Quips have never reached the state final in consecutive seasons.

Regardless of the road ahead, Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield says there is no debate about the best team in Quips history. In his mind, this current group already owns that distinction.

“The reason I say this is not to be braggadocious, because I’m not,” Warfield said. “Everybody tries to compare us. You can’t compare us. Until you can go up three classes and win it, there’s no discussion.”

Warfield, in his fifth year as the Quips’ coach, wants everyone to remember Aliquippa has a small-school enrollment that qualifies for Class A football. Prior to 2020, the Quips had voluntarily played in Class 3A, until the PIAA competitive-balance rule forced them to 4A.

Among the four remaining Class 4A teams, PIAA enrollment numbers credit Aliquippa with 118 boys, Allentown Central Catholic with 192, Bishop McDevitt with 289 and Crestwood with 334. The PIAA counts students in grades 9-11.

Yet, the Quips are 34-2 overall since joining 4A.

“They talk about all of these stats and this and that (with previous Aliquippa teams),” Warfield said. “Go up three classes, win it and then we can talk. That’s the elephant in the room that people refuse to discuss.”

Their opponent in Friday’s semifinal owns three state championships, but Allentown Central Catholic hasn’t reached the PIAA finals in more than a decade. The team won state titles in 1993, ‘98 and 2010.

The Vikings are coming off a 50-7 win over Meadville in the state quarterfinals. They were led by running backs Caiden Shaffer and Nathan Schultz, who each rushed for more than 100 yards. Shaffer scored four times.

Aliquippa is coming off a 34-7 win over rival Central Valley in the WPIAL finals. Hayes rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns, and junior John Tracy added 108 yards and also scored.

Now, the Quips know they’re one win away from another championship game appearance, and maybe two away from ending the debate about the best team in school history.

“For sure,” senior lineman Jason McBride said, “and undefeated, too. So, we’ve just got to stay on our grind, keep working and keep pushing.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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