Union senior Dayne Johnke caught two touchdown passes and added a critical fourth-quarter interception, as the Scotties staved off a late Port Allegany comeback attempt to emerge with a 46-36 PIAA Class 1A semifinal victory Friday night and advance to its first state championship game in school history.

Union (12-3) will face Steelton-Highspire (13-1) in the PIAA Class 1A championship game at 1 p.m. Thursday at Cumberland Valley High School.

Steel-High defeated Canton, 28-21, Friday night in its semifinal game.

Johnke caught a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter at PennWest Clarion’s Memorial Stadium and scored on a 42-yard pass on the final play of the first half to hand the Scotties a 20-6 halftime advantage.

Union junior Mike Gunn also scored on runs of 42 and 33 yards.

Maddox Thompson added a 46-yard touchdown for the Scotties, while Matt Stanley scored from 2 yards out and Kaden Fisher rounded out the Union scoring by returning a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown.

Class 5A

Pine-Richland never trailed and captured a 34-12 victory against District 3 champion Cocalico at Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium.

The Rams (12-3), who are attempting to win their fifth state championship, face Imhotep Charter (10-2) in the PIAA title game at 7 p.m. Friday at Cumberland Valley High School.

Imhoptep Charter defeated Upper Dublin, 21-14, in its semifinal game.

Pine-Richland took a 21-0 halftime advantage against Cocalico (10-5).

Brad Gelly opened the scoring with a 71-yard touchdown reception before grabbing a 56-yard catch for a score in the second half.

Quarterback Ryan Palmieri added a first-half touchdown run for the Rams, while Andrew Mellis caught a 17-yard pass for a score and Ethan Pillar added a rushing touchdown.

Class 4A

Senior quarterback Quentin Goode threw three touchdowns as Aliquippa continued its quest for consecutive PIAA championships with a 31-10 victory against Allentown Central Catholic at Bald Eagle Area High School.

Aliquippa (13-0) advances to play Bishop McDevitt (12-1) in the PIAA Class 4A championship game for the second consecutive season. The rematch kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cumberland Valley High School.

Bishop McDevitt routed Crestwood, 35-0, in a PIAA semifinal game.

Goode connected with John Tracy for a 56-yard, second-quarter touchdown, before finding Brandon Banks for a 28-yard score and Cameron Lindsey for a 35-yard touchdown in the second half.

Quips standout sophomore running back Tiqwai Hayes rushed for 115 yards and a 56-yard touchdown in the first half. He was injured on Aliquippa’s first drive of the second half and helped off of the field.

The lone touchdown for Allentown Catholic (9-6) came when Nasir McLean returned an interception 31 yards in the second half.

Class 3A

Belle Vernon’s defense stood tall by stopping a fourth-and-7 pass play from its own 22-yard line late in the fourth quarter, and the Leopards hung on for a 21-17 victory against Martinsburg Central (12-3) in a PIAA semifinal game at Central Cambria.

Belle Vernon (11-2) advances to its first PIAA championship game in school history when it faces either Neumann-Goretti and Wyomissing, who play at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Anthony Crews gave the Leopards an early lead when he took the opening kickoff 69 yards for a touchdown.

Belle Vernon quarterback Braden Laux rushed 42 yards for a first-half touchdown before rounding out the scoring for the Leopards with a 58-yard run in the second half.

The junior rushed 12 times for 136 yards.

John is a copy editor and page designer at the Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at jsanta@unionprogress.com.

John Santa

John is a copy editor and page designer at the Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at jsanta@unionprogress.com.