Live blog from Saturday's Class AA state championship game between Aliquippa and Wyomissing from Hersheypark Stadium.
FINAL: Wyomissing 17, Aliquippa 14
Above, Dravon Henry (6) and his teammates try to deal with the dejection of a loss in the state championship (Post-Gazette photo by Matt Freed).
FINAL STATS AND THOUGHTS: Looking back, the biggest key to this game was probably on Aliquippa's second possession. Quips were leading, 8-0. Had second-and-goal at the 5. Then on fourth-and-goal at the 3, Draovn Henry stopped inches short of goal line. If Quips score there, things are totally different.
The biggest keys to the game were: Aliquippa's inability to finish drives, and the Quips' defense couldn't stop Wyomissing counter plays. Aliquippa had drives end at the Wyomissing 1, 7, 20 and 19.
Wyomissing's Alex Anzalone, the team's leading rusher, was held to 41 yards on 16 carries, but Mason Smith had 127 yards on 15 attempts. It's not often you see a team have two 100-yard rushers - and lose. But that's what happened to Aliquippa. Quips had 323 yards rushing and 346 total yards to 253 for Wyomissing. Aliquippa's Terry Swanson had 126 yards on 14 attempts and Dravon Henry 123 on 22. But only two TDs for Aliquippa on the day.
It was a tough way to end a terrific season. Just too many blown opportunities.
2:31 p.m. - Wyomissing fumbles ball away at Aliquippa 16. 53 seconds left. But on first down, Aliquippa's Darrien Fields intercepted. 44 seconds left. Forget it.
2:29 p.m. - Another first down for Wyomissing. Has ball at Aliquippa 21 with 2:24 left. Quips look like they're done. Who would've thought, after Quips scored on first drive, they would get only seven points the rest of the day.
2:25 p.m. - Aliquippa goes nowhere in four plays. Turns it over with 2:45 left. On fourth down, Shaquere McBride was wide open for TD, but Malik Shegog overthrew him.
2:21 p.m. - Biggest Aliquippa problem today is Quips can't finish in red zone.
2:20 p.m. - Malcolm Fraser and Celo Chavis make big stop on Wyomissing fourth-down run. Aliquippa ball with 3:27 left at its own 38.
2:15 p.m. - Wyomissing moving again. Now at Aliquippa 45. Less than six minutes left.
2:11 p.m. - Quips in trouble. Moved to the 12 and Malik Shegog ran inside the 5, but a penalty brought the back back to the 16. Then Shegog was sacked and the Quips eventually turned the ball over on downs.
8 minutes left and it's still Wyomissing 17, Aliquippa 14
2:04 p.m. - We'll see what kind of sense of urgency Quips have.
WYOMISSING 17, ALIQUIPPA 14
This is a first for Aliquippa. Trailing in the fourth quarter in a game. On second down, Mason Smith just ran 36 yards for a TD. PAT kick good and Wyomissing leads Aliquippa, 17-14, with 11:18 left in game.
1:58 p.m. - By the way, that 52-yard field goal by Wyomissing's Bowman was a state-championship game record. Broke old mark set 24 years ago, first year of PIAA playoffs.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Aliquippa 14, Wyomissing 10
Wyomissing moving. Has ball at Aliquippa 40.
1:55 p.m. - Wyomissing keeps hanging in, hanging in this game. Not good sign for Aliquippa. Quips can't finish things off in red zone.
1:48 p.m. - Wyomissing stops Aliquippa again in Wyomissing territory. Fouth-down pass batted dwon by Alex Anzalone. 2:17 left in third and Aliquippa still holding on to 14-10 lead.
1:34 p.m. - Wow!!!!
52-yard field goal by Wyomissing's Jonah Bowman makes it 14-10 with 9:48 left in third. Has to be a state championship game record. Ninth field goal of the year for Bowman. He's now 9 of 12 for the year. He made it with some room to spare.
1:31 p.m. - Aliquippa makes its first mistake. Fumbles away on second play of second half.
QUIPS RECEIVE TO START THE SECOND HALF
1:27 p.m. - If I'm Aliquippa, just stay the course. Keep running the ball and mix in a pass here and there. They look close to breaking a big run.
Wyomissing has to think it can play with Quips if it doesn't turn the ball over.
HALFTIME: Aliquippa 14, Wyomissing 7
If you are Wyomissing, you should feel fortunate to only be trailing by seven. Wyomissing has three turnovers - two fumbles and an INT. Malik Stewart recovered both fumbles and intercepted the pass for Quips.
Alex Anzalone hasn't been able to do much for Wyomissing.
FIRST HALF STATS: Aliquippa nine first downs and 212 total yards. Quips have 195 yards rushing. Terry Swanson 66 on 10 carries, Malike Shegog 64 on 4, Dravon Henry 63 on 14.
Wyomissing has seven first downs and 104 yards, 100 on the ground. Anzalone has only 30 yards on 7 attempts. Mason Smith leads with 58 yards on seven carries.
1:09 p.m. - Wyomissing comes up with defensive stand again. Incomplete on third down by Quips. Fourth down and Malik Shegog tries to scramble for first down, but stopped at 7-yard line after 5-yard gain with 16 seconds left.
1:06 p.m. - Nice two minute offense by Quips. Malik Shegog goes back to pass, takes off and runs 48 yards to the 13. Less than a minute left.
12:56 p.m. - QUIPS SCORE AGAIN
On second-and-goal from the 10, Dravon Henry over the left side for a TD. Two-point pass failed. 2:51 left in the half and Aliquippa leads, 14-7.
12:54 p.m. - Apparently Mason Smith's TD shouldn't have counted. He dropped the ball before crossed the goal line. Pictures showing up everywhere on Twitter about it.
12:48 p.m. - That aroma of an Aliquippa blowout went away, but then another mistake by Wyomissing Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame recruit). Fumbled punt and Stewart again recovers. Aliquippa first at Wyomissing 42.
12:43 p.m. - Who would've thought Wyomissing could have taken the ball 99 yards on the Quips. Mason Smith just capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run and Jonah Bowman kicked extra point to make it 8-7.
12:40 p.m. - Biggest defensive stand of season for Wyomissing stopping Quippa inches short of goal line. If Quips go up by two touchdowns, serious problems for Wyomissing. Now Wyomissing moving the ball and playing with confidence.
12:39 p.m. - Aliquippa now having some trouble with Wyomissing winged-T.
12:38 p.m. - Mason Smith gets Wyomissing out of own end with 25-yard run.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Aliquippa 8, Wyomissing 0
12:33 p.m. - Hold on. Wyomissing shows some mettle. Wyomissing digs in and stops Dravon Henry inches short of the goal line on fourth down at the 4. Still 8-0.
12:31 p.m. - I'm smelling another Aliquippa blowout.
12:29 p.m. - I know it's still very early. But Aliquippa looks like better team here. Wyomissing will have trouble stopping Quips. Swanson just ran 32 yards to the Wyom. 23.
12:26 p.m. - Another turnover for Wyomissing. Corey Unger makes very bad decision. Running right and almost out of bounds, tries to throw back into the middle of the field. Intercepted by Malik Stewart. Nice day for "Stewey" so far. Recovered a fumble and now gets INT. Aliquippa ball with 4:24 left in first quarter.
12:22 p.m. - Quips called for roughing the kicker to keep a Wyomissing drive alive.
12:21 p.m. - Corey Unger, who just became eligible Dec. 1 for the first time this season, is now playing QB for Wyomissing. PIAA ruled him ineligible for a year after he transferred in last year. Ineligibility finished Dec. 1.
12:15 p.m. - Never want to fall behind Aliquippa by much, but Wyomissing is behind early. Quips recover fumble and move 35 yards in six plays for TD. Dravon Henry scores on a 1-yard run. Terry Swanson runs for two-point converstion. 8-0 with not even three minutes gone yet.
12:11 p.m. - Second play Wyomissing fumbles away and Quips Malik Stewart recovers. Watch out. Here come Quips.
12:08 p.m. - And Wyomissing will receive.
11:59 p.m. - Big turnout by Wyomissing fans. But actually, not bad showing by Aliquippa fans, either. Not as big as Wyomissing throng, but Quips represent well.
11:35 - Game time will be shortly after noon. I'm wondering who picked the pregame music here? Earlier, teams were warming up to Led Zeppelin music. Just sayin'. I doubt if the Quips have ever warmed up to Zeppelin.
** This is the third of four games here in Hershey. Wyomissing is good and has Notre Dame recruit Alex Anzalone (fullback-linebacker), but Wyomissing will need a lot more than Anzalone to win.
** Aliquippa assistant coach, Sherm McBride, wearing a great long-sleeved black T-shirt. On the front it says "Aliquippa Football."
On the back it says "Where Legends Are Made."
** Could we see a Western sweep this weekend. Clairton and Erie Cathedral Prep won yesterday. Aliquippa and North Allegheny might be considered the favorites today. The west has never swept before.
** Leftover item from yesterday's Class A championship. Clairton standout Tyler Boyd said he will make four official recruiting visits in January to West Virginia, Michigan State, Rutgers and Penn State. He already has visited Pitt.