Newcomer Antonio Quinn powers Aliquippa past Beaver Falls

Friday, September 20, 2019 | 11:17 PM

Aliquippa and Beaver Falls run deep on familiarity, but a new face in the rivalry played a starring role Friday night.

Senior running back Antonio Quinn, a first-year player with the Quips, ran for 214 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries to help Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa pull away to a 40-0 win over the visiting Tigers in a Tri-County West matchup.

Quinn got rolling in the second half after getting just four carries before halftime. On the second drive of the third quarter for Aliquippa (5-0, 3-0), Quinn took his fifth carry for a 50-yard sprint on a draw play, and the next play was a 25-yard run off the left side for a touchdown to give the Quips a 20-0 lead.

The big runs weren’t done, as Quinn added carries of 19 and 34 yards on the next Aliquippa drive to help put the game out of reach.

“We started off a little iffy, but we got there. The team started doing better and better as (the running backs) got going,” Quinn said. “(Two-hundred yards) is a big accomplishment for me, but I think I can do better.”

Quinn moved to Aliquippa from Tennessee after last football season because his father took a job in Beaver County, and his arrival gives the Quips a potent backfield tandem with junior Vernon Redd. Not to be overshadowed, Redd also posted a big night with 75 yards and a touchdown on 13 rushes and a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown.

No matter who is the featured back on a given night, the pair seems happy to play complementary roles.

“That’s my guy. We’re getting closer and closer every day, and we get better by the week,” Redd said of his backfield partner.

“We go back and forth depending on what we’re trying to accomplish (in a game). Vernon and Antonio have certain strengths, so we try to play toward those strengths,” Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield said. “They’re both young, as far as Antonio being new to our system and Vernon just getting reps, but as you can see, they’re getting better.”

Senior Isaiah Towler also made his mark on the game, scoring the first touchdown on a 4-yard run and intercepting a pair of passes, as the Aliquippa defense continued its season of big plays.

Beaver Falls (3-2, 2-2) didn’t show up to be blown off the field, however, and the Tigers took the opening kickoff and reached the Quips’ 1-yard line in nine plays. But two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, the second leading to the ejection of senior tight end/linebacker Kyzer Cleckley, pushed the Tigers out of scoring range and prevented them from taking an early lead.

“We’re not a disciplined enough football team. We have to play disciplined football. We have to play smart football. We have to play under control,” Beaver Falls coach Nick Nardone said. “That falls on us as a coaching staff to get our kids to understand that their actions are putting the team in positions where we can’t win football games.”

Junior running back Josh Hough led the Tigers offense with 43 yards on 10 carries. Beaver Falls defended well, trailing just 6-0 after one quarter and 14-0 at halftime, but the Aliquippa line began to wear on the Beaver Falls front playing without one of its best run stoppers in Cleckley.

“Just like last week when we played Montour, we had a couple big plays against us, but it’s good to see a young team where they don’t start pointing fingers, they just keep playing,” Warfield said. “They’re playing hard too, so at times, they might get a drive or a big play. I was pleased that the kids continued to play hard, and we’re lucky this year that we’ve got a few linemen we can sub in and out, and as a school our size, that’s a plus.”

Check out an archived broadcast of this game on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

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