The eyes of WPIAL football were focused on Reeves Field at Geneva College Friday night as No. 1 Beaver Falls played host to No. 1 Aliquippa.
Beaver Falls head coach Ryan Matsook said his team was ready to go when the lights turned on.
|VIKINGS LOSE SHOCKER—Central Catholic’s David Myers (22) tries to make a tackle on Mt. Lebanon’s Colin Kerr during the Vikings shocking 36-21 loss at Carnegie Mellon University, Sept. 19.
“We have been looking forward to this game since the season ended last year,” said Matsook, whose team lost 8-6 to Aliquippa at Heinz Field in the WPIAL championship game. “Our preseason chant was 8 to 6. We’re not thinking about nothing else.”
Beaver Falls (3-0), rushed to a 21-14 win against Aliquippa. The person who made the Quips pay most was senior running back Cody Cook, who ran for 211 yards and one touchdown on 37 carries. This 5-8, 185-pound halfback now leads the WPIAL with 556 yards.
The presence of Aliquippa’s two defensive stars—Stanley Pugh and Troy Jeter—is an unwelcome sight for most offense players.
Don’t count Beaver Falls’ Cody Cook among them. Running against some of the best defenders in the state may be a new experience for Carter but playing with them is nothing new.
“We had a lot of big-time players around here,” said Cook. ”Last year Todd Thomas (a Pitt recruit) was a High School All-American.”
Aliquippa scored first, and like Kanye West, tried to upstage the Tigers on their home turf, when Haetaun Mathis turned a short pass into a coast-to-coast 73-yard scoring play.
Down, 7-0, at the end of the first quarter, Beaver Falls rallied with 14 unanswered points to take a 14-7 halftime lead. Cook scored twice in the second quarter (runs of 11 and 2 yards) to give Beaver Falls a 14-7 advantage.
On the Quips first possession of the second half, senior Rashad Kenney caught a 49-yard pass to the Tigers 7-yard line, and Darius Walker scored two plays later on a 5-yard run. A John Lord extra point kick tied the score at 14-14.
Tied, 14-14, midway through the third quarter, Admire Carter ran through the Aliquippa kickoff team and up the right sideline for a 91-yard touchdown to give Beaver Falls a 21-14 lead.
While Aliquippa was the victim of kickoff heroics, by Carter, it was the suspension of star quarterback Rasheem Jones, who was kicked off the team for undisclosed reasons, which hurt Aliquippa the most.
Leading by seven in the second half, the Tigers were aided by a crucial Aliquippa unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The officials hit the Quips coaching staff with 30 yards in penalties to give the Tigers great field position.
Cook intercepted a pass from Aliquippa’s sophomore quarterback Mikal Hall at the 7 yard line and appeared to fumble the football back to the Quips when he was tackled by Pugh. The ball was recovered by Jeter setting the Quips up seven yards away from tying the game.
The game officials missed the fumble and awarded the Tigers the football causing a four-letter eruption from the entire Aliquippa coaching staff as they stormed the field.
The Tigers capitalized on the change in momentum behind quarterback “Big Play Tony” Omogrosso who used the superior field position to eat up the clock and hold onto the 7 point lead.
Known for his strong arm, “Big Play Tony’s” best weapons Friday night were his brain and quick set of feet. Omogrosso committed few mental mistakes and made smart decision after smart decision when the pocket collapsed around him, often scrambling instead of forcing the ball into coverage.
Beaver Falls played inspired football with legendary coach Larry Bruno watching from the press box. Bruno, who coached Joe Namath in the ’60s and Dwight Collins in the ’70s was to football theory what Einstein was to relativity. Bruno’s philosophy was simple. Run it until they stop it.
And that’s just what Beaver Falls did. Operating with a bruising offensive line, the Tigers at times seemed to move the ball at will. Cook was dominating, finishing the game with 211 yards on 37 incredible carries.
Aliquippa—which lost 18 of 22 starters from last season’s WPIAL championship team—was supposed to take a step backward this year.
“We’re Aliquippa it’s like that every year,” said longtime assistant coach Sherman McBride. “By the end of the season we’ll be right where we need to be.”
Cook and Carter are arguably two of the most electrifying running backs in the WPIAL, and it showed both on the field and on the stat sheet, Beaver Falls out-gained Aliquippa 236-27 on the ground.
The dynamic duo may be too much even for “We are Aliquippa” and should give Beaver Falls a great chance to take home a championship ring this year.