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High School Football: Bishop McDevitt faces Aliquippa in Class 4A state title game rematch

The Quips defeated McDevitt 34-27 in last year's championship game. The Crusaders will look to avenge that loss and capture their first state title since 1995.

YORK, Pa. — At least Bishop McDevitt's coaching staff won't have to search too hard for game film of its upcoming opponent in the PIAA Class 4A championship game.

The Crusaders are back in the state high school football final for the second year in a row -- and for the second straight season, their opponent in the title game will be western Pennsylvania superpower Aliquippa.

The Quips won last year's matchup, 34-27.

The rematch is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Cumberland Valley High School's Chapman Field.

The game will be televised live on PCN.

Here's a look at the game.

Bishop McDevitt (12-1) vs. Aliquippa (13-0)

Thursday, 7 p.m. at Chapman Field, Cumberland Valley HS

ABOUT ALIQUIPPA: The Quips have one of Pennsylvania's most legendary programs, ranking fifth all-time among the state's winningest programs with a record of 770-327-42, according to Pennsylvania Football News.

Only Mount Carmel, Easton, Berwick, and Steelton-Highspire have more wins than Aliquippa, whose program dates back to 1910. The other four teams' histories date back to the late 1800's.

Aliquippa's storied program has produced 11 NFL players, including Hall-of-Fame tight end and Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka, Darrelle Revis, Ty Law, and Sean Gilbert.  

Revis reportedly gave the Quips a pre-game pep talk before their 31-10 victory over Allentown Central Catholic in the state semifinals last week.

The Quips are a Class 1A team in terms of enrollment, but they're playing up in Class 4A. During the offseason, Aliquippa successfully fought a PIAA mandate to move up to Class 5A.

This season, the Quips bring an unblemished 13-0 record into the state championship game. They have won 24 straight dating back to last season. Aliquippa won a record 19th WPIAL championship with a 34-7 victory over Central Valley two weeks ago in a game that also served as the PIAA quarterfinals.

The Quips rely on a mammoth offensive line that blasts open holes for sensational sophomore RB Tiqwai Hayes and protects junior quarterback Quentin Goode. 

Bookended by gigantic tackles Naquan Crowder (6-3, 341) and Kamari Matthews (6-4, 332), with center Braylon Wilcox (5-11, 248) and guards Jason McBride (6-2, 298) and Nico Eberhardt (6-2, 286) in the interior, the offensive line powers an attack that averages 40.7 points per game.

Goode, a junior, has completed 114 of 210 passes for 1,911 yards and 22 touchdowns with four interceptions this season. He threw two touchdown passes in last week's win over ACC.

His top target, Donovan Walker, is currently sifting through scholarship offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, and Ohio, among others. Walker has 33 catches for 587 yarsd and six touchdowns. Walker also leads the team with five interceptions from his safety spot on defense.

Hayes ranks third among WPIAL running backs with 1,891 yards and 30 touchdowns on 235 carries. He scored on a 55-yard TD run in last week's win over Allentown Central Catholic to ignite an explosion of 31 straight points after the Quips spotted ACC an early 3-0 lead.

Though he's only a sophomore, Hayes reportedly already has offers from Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia, among others.

The Aliquippa defense, which yields 9.5 points per game, forced a pair of turnovers against ACC and only yielded one field goal. The Vikings' only other score came on a pick-six late in the game, long after the outcome had been decided.

The Quips have scored five defensive touchdowns this season.

Aliquippa is looking to become the first team in program history to win back-to-back state titles.

Mike Warfield is 58-5 in five seasons as Aliquippa’s coach. Four of his five losses are to Central Valley, who the Quips beat in the WPIAL title game, which also served as the state quarterfinals.

ABOUT BISHOP MCDEVITT: The Crusaders are back in the state title game after rolling over Crestwood 35-0 in last week's semifinals. It was the 12th straight victory for McDevitt, whose only loss was a 19-14 defeat against Imhotep Charter in the season opener.

Imhotep (10-2) is facing Pine-Richland in the PIAA Class 5A title game this weekend.

Against Crestwood, McDevitt was never seriously threatened despite being penalized 17 times for 165 yards. The Crusader defense pitched a shutout for the second time in as many weeks during the state playoffs, holding Crestwood to 22 total yards. 

In the quarterfinals, McDevitt held Manheim Central's potent offense to 63 total yards. The Barons came into the game averaging 445 yards per game on offense.

Against Crestwood, sophomore QB Stone Saunders threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns, Marquise Williams rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown and Rico Scott caught a TD pass and scored on an 85-yard kick return to carry the Crusaders.

Saunders, whose father, Steve, was an All-American at Millersville University and currently serves as a strength and conditioning coach for the Baltimore Ravens, boosted his season stats to 3,416 yards and 49 touchdowns on 185-of-268 passing. He's thrown just two interceptions all year.

Scott is the team's top wideout, with 1,152 yards and 17 scores on 63 catches. He's one of two 1,000-yard receivers on McDevitt's roster; the other, senior TaShawn Russell, has 53 catches for 1,213 yards and 18 TDs.

Williams leads the Crusaders with 1,378 yards and 26 TDs on 143 attempts.

McDevitt's offense averages 429 yards and 49.7 points per game. Crestwood was the first team to "hold" the Crusaders under 40 points since Imhotep, which limited them to two touchdowns in its 19-14 Week 1 victory.

McDevitt is chasing its second state title. The Crusaders won it all in 1995, defeating Burrell 29-0 in the Class 2A championship game. They got back to the state finals in 2013, falling 22-10 to Archbishop Wood in Class 3A, and lost to Aliquippa in last year's 4A final.

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