Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sweet! Quips Are Ready for Piaa Final

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sweet! Quips Are Ready for Piaa Final

Article excerpt

There's an old sports cliche that says a coach cannot win without the horses.

That being said, let it be known the Aliquippa football team has more than its share of thoroughbreds. Even Quips coach Mike Zmijanac compared senior do-it-all Darrelle Revis with the great Secretariat after the team's 28-15 victory over Slippery Rock in a PIAA Class AA semifinal Friday night at Peters Township.

What the Quips really have is a stable of talented players with undying energy and a desire to excel. And no group on Aliquippa's team exemplifies all that as much as the Quips' defensive corps.

"They are why we are winning," Zmijanac said . "From the beginning, we made a few changes in personnel and made some changes in schemes. And we insisted they play better.

"Even though we've given up some points along the way, the defense has done a good job. We've been pretty good on defense, pretty solid defensively -- not spectacular."

The Quips' defense was spectacular for two-and-a-half quarters against Slippery Rock.

After the Rockets took a 15-8 lead in the second quarter, Aliquippa's defenders took over the game.

While the offense needed ever bit of Revis' and Dontae Patrick's, 155 and 136 rushing yards, respectively, to earn at trip to Hersheypark Stadium and the PIAA Class AA championship game against Northern Lehigh (14-0) Saturday at noon, the defense stifled Slippery Rock.

The Rockets managed just 34 yards in the second half, 15 coming on one run in the third quarter, on 25 plays. They managed just one first down and the Quips' Michael Washington intercepted two passes to give him nine for the season.

Zmijanac said the Quips' 13th win in 14 games was a classic illustration of what the team needs to do to have success at the highest level.

"We're not real big," he said. "We have to run the ball well and we have to play in combination. One thing is not going to carry us. If one area breaks down, we're in trouble."

Washington, a junior, is just one of a handful of standout defenders for the Quips. …

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