Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Quips Keep Eyes on Prize Class Aa: Aliquippa vs. Karns City

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Quips Keep Eyes on Prize Class Aa: Aliquippa vs. Karns City

Article excerpt

Earlier this season, Aliquippa quarterback Malik Shegog described himself as being the team's "wild card," saying he liked being an X- factor and enjoyed the fact that few people talked about him.

Well, Shegog's excellent play has spoken for itself, and given the Quips a "full house" in their offensive backfield.

Shegog, a senior, has been an ace in his first season as a starter, not only giving the Quips a passing threat, but also another key weapon in a prolific running game headed by junior running backs Dravon Henry and Terry Swanson.

"He did exactly as I expected him to," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said. "He's a different kind of quarterback than we had the past few years, but he's had three years to learn. He had been the backup for three years. He has his opportunity. He's obviously taken hold of it."

Shegog has followed in the footsteps of Mikal Hall, who finished his career as Aliquippa's all-time leading passer. Hall threw for more than 4,000 yards and started three WPIAL Class AA championship games.

Starting in his first WPIAL final, Shegog rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass, and did not commit a turnover Friday in helping Aliquippa (13-0) win its 15th WPIAL championship with a 34-7 victory against Washington at Heinz Field.

Serving as the understudy to Hall, Shegog said he learned a lot about what it takes to be the starting quarterback for one of the state's premier Class AA programs.

"The biggest thing [I learned] was probably how to be a leader," Shegog said. "Thinking back to my freshman year, it was Mikal's sophomore year, and that was his first year starting. From Day One, when he knew he was going to start, he took control of everything.

"He led the offense and the whole team with such pride and consistency. There was no down moment. He made sure he did what he needed to do to get the team to win. …

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