Trib HSSN football team of the week for 2023 Week 1

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Sunday, September 3, 2023 | 7:31 PM


Two of the top teams in Class 4A collided in Week 1, yet the game itself almost took a back seat to the site of the early season showdown.

After playing the 2022 season without a home field because of major renovations at The Pit and still winning another district championship, Aliquippa christened its new field in grand style Friday.

Following years of ending their district schedule at Heinz Field on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, the Quips will be playing all of their home games for the foreseeable future at the new Heinz Field at Aliquippa High School.

Aliquippa started slow, but finished strong in beating Armstrong, 37-19.

It was the second game of the season for the River Hawks and the season opener for the Quips.

“Me and my staff have talked about Week Zero and since we usually we have a long season, so we figure it would benefit the kids to not play a Week Zero game to keep them fresher for later in the season,” Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield said. “The problem is we start slower than others in Week 1.”

Both teams came out trading scores with Quips junior running back Tikey Hayes scoring on a 29-yard run and, later in the first quarter, Jace Williams returned a kickoff by the River Hawks 50-yards for Aliquippa. A Colt Sprankle touchdown pass and a scoring run by Ethan Eckman for Armstrong had the game tied after one quarter, 12-12.

Then, the Quips took over and outscored the River Hawks in the second and third quarters, 25-0, to take control of the nonconference contest.

Hayes scored two more touchdowns on short runs of 2 and 7 yards, Pitt recruit Cameron Lindsey scored on a 20-yard touchdown run and senior quarterback Quentin Goode hit DeMarkus Walker on a 70-yard scoring strike that put Aliquippa up for good.

“Quentin has done so much and accomplished a lot that we lean on him and push him so he doesn’t get comfortable,” Warfield said. “He has come a long way and is a true leader on this team.”

Warfield said the renovations to the Quips stadium were long overdue and started to come together last spring. He credits the district’s school board and superintendent for supporting the cause and pushing for the funds needed for the facility facelift.

“On the night of the game, I was worried about winning a football game,” Warfield said. “I’ve had some time to think back now and what an event it was for the school and the community.”

After hitting the road for every game last season, Aliquippa is home again at Heinz Field in Week 2 when it will host North Catholic in another Class 4A nonconference game.

The team is expected to compete for the Parkway Conference crown again this fall and is hoping to stay healthy enough to participate in the WPIAL championship game for a 16th consecutive season.

WPIAL Week 1 honorable mentions

North Allegheny Tigers

In the first Class 6A conference game of the season, Canon-McMillan was hoping to show it was ready for primetime in visiting defending champion North Allegheny. Instead, the Tigers improved to 10-0 all-time against the Big Macs thanks to senior quarterback Logan Kushner connecting on 10 of 18 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, plus three scoring runs in the victory, 30-6.

Derry Trojans

Five years ago, Derry shocked the district by reaching the WPIAL Class 3A championship game, only to fall to Aliquippa. By 2020, the program was struggling just to win football games. In fact, the Trojans didn’t win any football games in 2021 and 2022. The team went 20 games without a victory until Friday, when Derry scored early and often in beating Greensburg Salem, 26-21.

Riverview Raiders

It’s been a slow build for Trevor George at Riverview. His first season in 2020, the Raiders lost all of their games. Last year, Riverview ended up 4-6 and missed the playoffs in the Class A Eastern Conference by one game. Now, for the first time in 12 years, the Raiders are off to a 2-0 start thanks to a strong wing-T ground attack that has put up more than 40 points in each of their first two games, including a 42-0 whitewash of Carlynton on Saturday.

2023 HSSN Teams of the Week

Week Zero – Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils

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