Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa rolls past McKinley Tech in opener
The first game under new Aliquippa coach Mike Warfield looked a lot like Quips games under previous coaching regimes.
Class 3A No. 1 Aliquippa scored the first three times it had the ball, and in seven of its first eight possessions as the Quips rolled to a 48-0 victory Saturday over Washington, D.C.’s McKinley Tech Trainers.
The game was part of the Western Pennsylvania vs. Everyone showcase at Turtle Creek’s Wolvarena.
“I’m excited, the kids played hard and I’m more excited for them than anyone else,” Warfield said of his first game as head coach. “It’s sort of a relief. But I know we’ve got a lot more work to do. So it was a good start.”
Senior Eli Kosanovich passed for 221 yards and four touchdowns -- all in the first half -- and senior running back Avante McKenzie picked up 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Both teams agreed on employing 6-minute quarters in the second half, which was scoreless.
The Aliquippa coach was happy with how his team ran its new offense.
“We started off running with it, we’ve been running it since I got here in March,” Warfield said. “I think they understand what we’re trying to do.”
With injuries plaguing the wide receivers, Warfield inserted Kosanovich at quarterback and Will Gipson lined up at a receiver.
“Will is dynamic on the outside,” Warfield said. “I thought at this game, it would be best to have Will outside. When Will’s at quarterback, he can’t throw to himself.”
“We knew the tradition Aliquippa has,” said McKinley coach Chris Goodwin. “At the end of the day, we wanted to get more of an effort out of our team. Take nothing away from Aliquippa, they earned everything, but with our team, we’re just going to have to get better.”
Aliquippa wasted little time showing its dominance. On the sixth play from scrimmage, Kosanovich found Deoveon Crute in the end zone for a 15-yard scoring pass.
The Quips kept the Trainers bottled up in their own end of the field for the first half.
McKinley couldn’t advance past its own 24, and Aliquippa took advantage of favorable field position, starting four touchdown drives in Trainers territory.
M.J. Devonshire had a punt return touchdown called back with a penalty, but later scored on a 38-yard runback.
In the most spectacular play of the day, it appeared as though a McKinley defensive back was ready to pick off a Kosanovich pass. But Zuriah Fisher grabbed the ball away and raced in on a 24-yard scoring play.
“It was a fly pattern,” Fisher said. “I was running and he (Kosanovich) threw it. I thought he was going to pick it off and it somehow ended up in my hands.”
Aliquippa’s defense was stellar, holding the Trainers to 2 net offensive yards in the first half.
McKinley finally got into Quips territory late in the game on a 42-yard run by Charles Richards, but a missed field goal kept the Trainers off the scoreboard.
Goodwin indicated McKinley Tech has a big game coming up next weekend against rival Dunbar in the nation’s capitol.