It's only a non-conference game that will have no bearing on playoff seedings. So, basically the Aliquippa-Clairton game Friday is meaningless.
I don't ever remember a regular-season, non-conference game getting this much advance buildup. Heck, I don't ever remember any regular-season game - conference or non-conference - with this much buildup.
The game is expected to be a sellout. And Clairton even brought in some extra bleachers for the game. Why is this game so big? Well, for a number of reasons. But the No. 1 reason is tradition.
I applied the "Data Way" system to show why this is game is one-of-a-kind:
2: Regular-season losses between the two teams over the PAST SEVEN SEASONS!!!!!! Aliquippa has lost one regular-season game since 2010 and Clairton also one.
28: WPIAL championships between the two teams. Aliquippa has 16, the most in WPIAL history. Clairton has 12.
84: Years since these two have played. Aliquippa beat Clairton, 7-0, in 1932. The only other time these two played was 1931 when Clairton won, 44-0.
4 & 7: Where Aliquippa and Clairton are on the all-time WPIAL list for wins. Aliquippa is fourth and Clairton seventh.
8: Players from the two schools who have rushed for 4,000 career yards. Aliquippa has five on the 4,000-yard list: Dravon Henry, Chico Williams, Kaezon Pugh, Pudgy Abercrombie and Terry Swanson. Clairton has three: Tyler Boyd, Lamont Wade and Zaire Washington.
.881: Winning percentage of the two coaches. Aliquippa's Mike Zmijanac is 220-32 and Clairton's Wayne Wade 33-2
66 & 62: Digits for record-breaking win streaks of both teams. Clairton won 66 games in a row overall from 2009-13. That is a WPIAL record. Aliquippa won 62 regular-season games in a row from 2009-16. That is a record.
22: Channel number of the TV station that will carry the game live. WPNT 22 The PointAs for the game itself, Aliquippa's Zmijanac is trying to get his players to keep it in perspective.
"I told our kids that my take is we're proud to play a storied Clairton program and we're looking forward to the competition," said Zmijanac. "But in the big scheme of things, it's not as important as you media types are making it out to be."
Barring a catastrophe, Clairton will finish first or second in its Class 1A conference. But Aliquippa is in the "super" Beaver Valley Conference in Class 3A. The Quips aren't even guaranteed of a playoff spot.
"The only problem with this game is that it comes when it does," said Zmijanac. "If this was the opening game of the season, I would be enthusiastic and looking forward to it."