Quaker Valley upsets Aliquippa in WPIAL 3A Championship
Over the years, boys and girls sports teams from Quaker Valley have won 65 WPIAL championships, the most among schools in the Beaver Valley Area.
There have been championship teams in baseball, basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis and track.
Its hockey team also has five PIHL titles.
On Saturday, Nov. 18, the Quakers won its first WPIAL football championship when they upset Aliquippa, 2-0, at Heinz Field.
There was a pretty simple formula for Quaker Valley to beat Aliquippa in their WPIAL Class 3A championship—stopping Avante “Chief” McKenzie. McKenzie had rushed for over 1,700 yards and averaged 9.4 yards per carry this year. But Quaker Valley held him to only 74 yards on 23 carries.
“We can stop the run and we’ve done that pretty consistently the whole year,” Quaker Valley coach Jerry Veshio said. “We know they’ve got a very talented running back and a tremendous athletic team and a great coaching staff and a winning tradition.”
Putting up points against Quaker Valley has been a chore. The Quakers have the second-best scoring defense and the only team better is Aliquippa at 3.2 points per game.
Offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Quaker Valley beat Aliquippa, 2-0, marking the first time that a team won a WPIAL championship with a 2-0 score.
The only points came when Isaac Guss tackled Xavier Harvey in the end zone for a safety with 10:49 remaining in the second quarter.
“Any loss is frustrating and we had way too many penalties and too many turnovers,” said Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac. “It was just one of those games. We beat Beaver Falls, 8-6, two years ago and both offenses stink. Today was one of those games whoever was ahead had the advantage.”
Coach Jerry Veshio was a retired public-address announcer at Chuck Knox Stadium and stepped out of the booth and onto the sideline on Aug. 7 when head coach John Tortorea resigned.
After the game, Coach Veshio said, “All week we told the kids we only need to win by one and we won by two. I go back to Aug. 7 when I met the team for the first time. They impressed me so much because they had a commitment to themselves, to the community, to their families to bring a championship to Quaker Valley that has never been done before in the 162-year history of the school. Pretty darn impressive if I do say so myself.”
The Quakers have a deep and talented group of receivers, led by Isaiah “Air” McNair, who showed his catching skills this year with 14 touchdowns and 806 yards.
McNair looks like Odell Beckham Jr., on and off the field.
“I transferred to Quaker Valley from Ambridge last year and I’m real glad about my decision because I’d be sitting at home and watching on TV instead of playing at Heinz Field,” McNair said. “I want to play in college and I hope by winning the WPIAL and playing for states open some eyes.”
In other WPIAL finals, Pine-Richland dominated Central Catholic, 42-7, to win the 6A title. Gateway defeated Penn-Trafford, 21-6, for the 5A title. And Thomas Jefferson crushed Montour, 27-0, to win the 4A Championship.
This Saturday, Nov. 25, Imani Christian Academy will battle Jeannette for the WPIAL 1A crown at noon at Robert Morris University, followed by the 2A championship, as Steel Valley plays Washington (6 p.m.).
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