By Matt Popchock


6:57 PM – The 2011 WPIAL Football Championships may have come and gone, but there is still more gridiron glory to be attained this Friday night. Clairton, Aliquippa, and Montour begin their respective quests for state gold in the 2011 PIAA Football Playoffs, as the Quarterfinal round begins today, and continues with North Allegheny in action tomorrow.

Follow this blog for periodic updates on Friday night’s action, as Clairton takes on District 5 champion North Star in Class A, Aliquippa takes on District 9 champion Moniteau, and Montour takes on District 10 champion Grove City.

7:04 – Clairton and North Star just underway. Clairton fullback Devantae Gardlock out with a hand injury.

7:11 – Moniteau goes three and out on its first possession. The Warriors and Quips are scoreless eary in the 1st quarter.

7:13 – Clairton driving again after taking an early 8-0 lead over North Star. Capri Thompson’s touchdown pass to Trenton Coles caps the drive, and the Bears lead 14-0 midway through the 1st.

By the way, Clairton’s 1st TD came on an 87-yard run by Tyler Boyd. Boyd has outscored 80 WPIAL teams coming into tonight’s game. Not players. Teams. Kudos to our friends at the MSA Sports Network, specifically Josh Rowntree, for that nugget.

7:17 – Grove City opens the game with a scoring drive that ends in a 5-yard TD run by Foster Reznor. 7-0 Eagles over Montour late in the 1st.

7:19 – Moniteau deep in Aliquippa territory after a Quips fumble. 6-0 Quips.

7:21 – The Quips dodge a bullet thanks to Davion Hall’s interception.

7:23 – Aliquippa has taken a 12-0 lead on Moniteau late in the 1st. North Star used a couple splash plays to get to the Clairton 10, but the Bears’ defense stiffened and forced a turnover.

7:26 – The 1st quarter at N.A. has come to a close with Grove City leading Montour 7-0.

7:30 – End of 1st quarter: Clairton leads North Star 14-0.

7:31 – It sounds like Grove City’s size up front is giving Montour all it can handle. Eagles knocking on the door early in the 2nd.

7:32 – The Quips are also marching down the field…and Dravon Henry has just scored his second TD of the night on a 49-yard run. Terry Swanson, Henry’s backup, has the other score for Aliquippa. 19-0 Quips.

7:33 – Grove City has scored on each of its first two possessions–two long drives–and the Eagles are up 14-0 over Montour. Meanwhile, Clairton and North Star are in a bit of a defensive stalemate, but the Bears still lead 14-0. North Star has had its chances.

7:40 – The Spartans are on the ropes. Their offense is stuck in neutral, and Tyler Dagres has thrown to Foster Reznor for Reznor’s 2nd TD of the night. 21-0 Grove City in the 2nd.

7:42 – Clairton has opened up a 22-0 lead over North Star midway through the 2nd.

7:44 – Kyle Armagost, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the PIAA, has thrown a long TD pass to get the Warriors on the board. Aliquippa leads Moniteau 19-7 with under 8 minutes left in the 1st half.

7:45 – Update from Yough High School: Tyler Boyd, on 5 carries, has 145 yards and two TD’s. Not a typo.

7:47 – Montour has a pulse. The Spartans have cut their deficit to 21-7 with time to spare in the 2nd.

I’m told Darren Massey was responsible for Montour’s TD, a 65-yard catch from Dillon Buechel.

7:50 – Davion Hall has come up with his 2nd turnover of the night, another INT. Quips still lead 19-7 in the 2nd.

7:51 – Clairton forces another turnover on downs. By my count, North Star has been deep in enemy territory four times in the 1st half, and each time, has come away empty-handed.

And the beat goes on; moments later, Capri Thompson throws a 70-yard TD bomb. 30-0 Bears late 2nd.

7:52 – Grove City dodges a bullet, as Julian Durden fumbles into the end zone. Ouch. Montour had recovered a surprise onside kick and was driving. Meanwhile, Moniteau takes over near midfield late in the 2nd quarter, down by 12.

7:57 – Clairton will have a 1st and goal after a long interception return by Reuben Kelley. Barring a miracle, sounds like the Bears will be moving on…

8:00 – Ho-hum, another running clock for Clairton before the 1st half ends. Capri Thompson keeps it for the TD. Bears all over North Star 37-0 (they won 52-0 last year).

8:02 – Davion Hall has the “hat trick” — three interceptions, that is. He prevents a Hail Mary as the first half all but ends at Clarion University. Aliquippa has struggled, but leads Moniteau 19-7 at the break.

8:05 – Montour, however, does score on the last play of the 1st half. Buechel’s 5-yard pass to Aaron Reed makes it 21-13 Grove City at the break.

Once again, your halftime scores from the PIAA Quarterfinals:

Clairton 37 North Star 0; Aliquippa 19 Moniteau 7; Grove City 21 Montour 13.

Dillon Buechel 14 of 21 for 162 yards and 2 TDs in the 1st half…kudos to the P-G’s Mike White for that one.

Kudos to the MSA Sports Network for another stat from that game: Montour has scored twice despite having the ball for just 7:30 in the half. Once again, the Spartans aren’t done yet.

8:25 – Moniteau and Grove City have the ball to start 2nd half of their games. Clairton and North Star about to resume too.

Warriors have to punt for the first time in the half.

8:27 – Montour recovers a fumble, trailing 21-13 early in the 3rd.

Meanwhile, Aliquippa has gone 3 and out 4 straight possessions. Moniteau still in this game.

8:31 – The Spartans capitalize off the turnover, but Aaron Reed’s two-point run comes up short. 21-19 Grove City early in the 3rd. Buechel with 3 TD’s, the latest to Devin Wilson.

8:34 – Big 3rd quarter score for the Quips, who, after a good extra point, extend their lead to 26-7 with under 8 minutes left in the period.

8:36 – Things continue to snowball against the Eagles, as Darren Massey picks off Dagres. Montour’s offense retakes the field…

8:40 – Moniteau still fighting hard, out near midfield. Grove City, which had 171 yards rushing in the 1st half alone, still clinging to a 2-point lead. Spartans on the move in Eagles territory late in the 3rd.

8:43 – Montour turns the ball over on downs. Huge stand by Grove City, which takes over still ahead 21-19 late in the 3rd quarter.

Meanwhile, Clairton has opened up a 44-0 lead on North Star midway through the 3rd. Tyus Booker with an 18-yard TD run.

8:46 – Quips still up 26-7. Dravon Henry was responsible for the latest TD, a 30-yard run. Thanks to Mike for catching that.

8:49 – A holding call nullifies a Terry Swanson TD run late in the 3rd. Quips still with the ball in Moniteau territory.

8:50 – End of 3rd quarter at Neuman Stadium: Grove City 21 Montour 19.

8:53 – Montour punts from just inside Grove City territory to begin the 4th. Meanwhile, Davion Hall was not on the scene, but nevertheless, the Quips have their fourth INT of the night.

8:57 – Another interception…this time, in the last 3rd quarter play of Clairton-North Star, by Titus Howard of the Bears. 44-0 Clairton.

1st and goal for the Quips thanks to some nice running by Tarique Hayes…

9:00 – Aliquippa spreading the wealth, as Desmond Hardy’s 5-yard run puts the Quips up 32-7 on Moniteau early in the 4th. Looks like Quips, barring a huge collapse, will play either Tyrone or Hickory in the PIAA Class AA Semifinals…

Story of that game has been Quips capitalizing off turnovers, as you might guess. Having said that, two of those interceptions were passes that could have been caught.

9:03 – Montour and Grove City have exchanged turnovers. The Spartans are near midfield with about 5 minutes left in the game, still down 21-19.

9:06 – Montour threatening for the go-ahead score, while the Quips have recorded their 5th INT of the night. Terry Swanson has Aliquippa’s offense looking to ice the cake.

9:09 – Montour has a 2nd and goal with under 3 minutes left, trailing 21-19 to Grove City. Timeout Spartans. Aliquippa continues to run and try to eat up the 4th quarter clock.

Tyrone was beating Hickory 33-21 last I heard. Once agian, Aliquippa, assuming all goes to plan, gets the winner of that game in the semifinals.

9:12 – Buechel sneaks in on 3rd and goal, and although the two-point conversion fails, Montour has made an impressive comeback to take its first lead tonight. 25-21 Spartans, 1:58 left.

9:14 – CONGRATULATIONS TO CLAIRTON, WHICH BEATS NORTH STAR 44-0. The Bears have won 45 in a row, the 2nd-longest win streak in the U.S.

105 rushing yards, 3 rush TD’s for the Quips’ Dravon Henry tonight…special thanks to Trib Total Media for that update.


9:18 – Dagres is sacked near midfield on 4th down with :58 left. Grove City has 2 timeouts, but Montour has the ball and a 25-21 lead.

9:25 – CONGRATULATIONS TO LOU CERRO, WHOSE SPARTANS COMPLETE A TERRIFIC COMEBACK WITH A 25-21 WIN OVER GROVE CITY. One potential PIAA Semifinal opponent for Montour is Bishop McDevitt, which features recently-anointed Gatorade PA Player of the Year, defensive end Noah Spence.


Aliquippa has a nice winning streak of its own–14 games–entering next week’s PIAA Semifinal round. North Allegheny has won 20 straight in Quad-A and will face State College, a team the Tigers have whipped three times in a row, in tomorrow’s PIAA Quarterfinal at Mansion Park Stadium in Altoona. Kickoff scheduled for noon.

Once again, all WPIAL participants in the PIAA Football Playoffs have advanced so far. I’ll post the matchups for the next round as soon as they’re available.

9:35 – Thanks to “Schaasy”…a.k.a. Mark Schaas, my buddy from the MSA Sports Network…Tyrone defeats Hickory 40-28. Aliquippa will play Tyrone, the District 5/6 champ next week. Site/time/date TBD.

9:46 – Bishop McDevitt has defeated Lampeter-Strasburg, and the Crusaders will indeed face Montour next week.

That game was for the District 3 championship in Class AAA. McDevitt has now won back-to-back titles and nine overall. Final score 28-14 from Hersheypark Stadium.

10:21 – Clairton will face Sharpsville next week, which came from behind to beat Port Allegany, 35-33.

Once again, here are your PIAA Semifinal matchups for next week:

Clairton vs. Sharpsville

Aliquippa vs. Tyrone

Montour vs. Bishop McDevitt

On a separate note, I have been invited to appear on “The 12th Man Show” on Prep Nation Radio to discuss tonight’s games at 11:10 tonight. Follow me on Twitter at the screen name below for the link to listen, if you so desire.

See you in cyberspace!

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