PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Behind a 2-1 hit by running back duo Tiqwai Hayes and John Tracy, Aliquippa defeated the Central Valley 34-7 in the WPIAL 4A championship game, winning his 19th WPIAL title in school history, the highest in the history of the league .
Hayes and Tracy both rushed for 100 yards in the day and Hayes had the first three touchdowns of the night while Tracy had a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“It feels really good to win back-to-back championships,” said Tracy. “We’ve worked hard for this and we’re not done yet.”
Aliquippa quarterback Quentin Goode threw a touchdown pass to Jayace Williams in the fourth quarter to level the game.
The last time the two teams met was in the regular-season finals, when Aliquippa defeated Central Valley 35-24, ending the Warriors’ 36-game winning streak.
During that game, the Warriors led 24-14 at halftime, but didn’t score another goal in the second half. This time, the Quips didn’t have to come from behind and never had to worry about losing a lead
Central Valley running back Bret FitzSimmons came on with 1,723 rushing yards, but Aliquippa’s defensive line kept him on just nine rushing yards on 10 carries.
“If we wanted to stop them from playing the football we had to be physical and violent up front and in the second half of the last meeting I think we did more of that and it continued into the second game,” linebacker Aliquippa said Cameron Lindsey. “Overall I think we just wanted this game more and we were more physical throughout.
The last time Central Valley and Aliquippa met in the WPIAL title game was in 2019 when the Warriors won the 3A Championship 13-12 after overtime, and this year’s game can add to the history of the two teams, a lot is sufficient, especially since both schools are only 15 minutes apart.
Aliquippa’s Donovan Walker has led the team this year not only with his play on the field but also with the leadership and football IQ he brings to the team.
“It feels great going back to back, especially my senior year,” Walker said. “I think I’ve been a great leader in that game and this year. I feel like others around me do the same when I put my head up and feel confident.”
Central Valley quarterback Antwon Johnson completed 10 of 19 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver Jayvin Thompson finished the game with four receptions for 29 yards.
Aliquippa had already accomplished the feat of winning back-to-back WPIAL championships, but one goal the program never achieved is winning back-to-back PIAA titles. With all the success and fame that the program has had, it would be special for this team to have the opportunity to accomplish this feat.
“It’s obviously going to take hard work to win back-to-back state titles,” Tracy said. “Nothing in life is handed to you so we have to keep working hard, focus and have confidence.