Here’s a breakdown of Friday’s WPIAL Class 4A and 3A football championships, including comments on both teams and a prediction from an anonymous opposing coach.


McKeesport (11-1) vs. Aliquippa (11-0), 8 p.m. Friday at Acrisure Stadium

Head coaches: Matt Miller (McKeesport); Mike Warfield (Aliquippa).

Leading passers: Garrett Tarker (McKeesport) 39 of 81, 667 yards, 8 touchdowns; Quentin Goode (Aliquippa) 90 of 149, 1,568 yards, 21 touchdowns.

Leading rushers: Anthony Boyd (McKeesport) 169 carries, 1,300 yards, 13 touchdowns; Tikey Hayes (Aliquippa) 187 carries, 1,645 yards, 18 touchdowns.

Leading receivers: Dominique Cochran (McKeesport) 9 catches, 222 yards, 4 touchdowns; Arison Walker (Aliquippa) 22 catches, 273 yards, 6 touchdowns.

An opposing coach says …

Size up McKeesport: Obviously, the style of offense, with the flexbone, is different than you would typically see from anyone else. I think they are able to be more diverse this year with putting the big kid [Keith Spell] at fullback and still run some other stuff. He’s a handful, the Spell kid. And his little brother [Kemon Spell] is explosive. They can hit for big plays on you along with the [Anthony] Boyd kid. It’s just how explosive they are. They just kind of wear you down. Three yards here. Four yards there. And then they hit a big one on you.

Size up Aliquippa: They’re similar to McKeesport in that they have an explosive offense. It’s a different type of offense. Everything runs through Tikey Hayes, as it should. But the other running back [John Tracy] is really good, too. They’re both home run hitters. And their quarterback [Quentin Goode] is just accurate back there. He’s got two or three receivers with over 20 catches. It’s just an explosive offense.

How do you see this game playing out? The offenses are both good, but I think the other thing is that the defenses are similar. Both are aggressive and attacking. Aliquippa doesn’t blitz as much, whereas McKeesport wants to blitz a little more. Both are fast on defense and both tend to eliminate big plays. I see it being a game that comes down to the very end. I think it will be a tight one. I think both teams are extremely well-coached. It’s going to be close.

Prediction: Aliquippa 26, McKeesport 20.


Avonworth (12-0) vs. Belle Vernon (10-1), 5 p.m. Saturday at Acrisure Stadium

Head coaches: Duke Johncour (Avonworth); Matt Humbert (Belle Vernon).

Leading passers: Carson Bellinger (Avonworth) 98 of 161, 1,487 yards, 21 touchdowns; Braden Laux (Belle Vernon) 87 of 135, 1,335 yards, 16 touchdowns.

Leading rushers: Dimitri Velisaris (Avonworth) 127 carries, 895 yards, 13 touchdowns; Quinton Martin (Belle Vernon) 89 carries, 913 yards, 25 touchdowns.

Leading receivers: Andrew Kuban (Avonworth) 54 catches, 862 yards, 18 touchdowns; Quinton Martin (Belle Vernon) 39 catches, 620 yards, 25 touchdowns.

An opposing coach says …

Size up Avonworth: I think their defensive linemen and linebackers are a lot better than people realize or give them credit for. They’re fortunate they have a lot of one-way guys, and that sort of keeps them fresh. They’re a very well-coached team. They’ve got great size. Their skill guys are good. They’re a team that I think kind of bends but never breaks.

Size up Belle Vernon: Their skill guys are really good. They have four or five guys that can score anytime they touch it. On defense, the secondary is very good. And Quinton Martin, of course. He’s the X-factor. It’s tough trying to find a way to stop him when he’s in the backfield or flanked out as a receiver. [Coach] Matt [Humbert] does a great job. He’s had a lot of success, and so has the coach at Avonworth.

How do you see this game playing out? I think it’s going to come down to whenever Avonworth has the ball, they have to be able to move the ball and eat up the clock a bit. They’re not going to match Belle Vernon big play for big play. They have to try to slow them down, get some first downs, and just be close when they get to the fourth quarter. I think Avonworth is going to have their hands full.

Prediction: Belle Vernon 35, Avonworth 14.

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at

Brad Everett

Brad is a sports writer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Email him at