Gorman: Aliquippa football program on record run |

Gorman: Aliquippa football program on record run

Kevin Gorman
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Aliquippa quarterback Darrien Fields throws a pass during a workout on July 29, 2014 in Aliquippa.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Aliquippa quarterback Darrien Fields throws a pass during a workout on July 29, 2014 in Aliquippa.

Asking Mike Zmijanac about Aliquippa’s record run of seven consecutive trips to the WPIAL Class AA final is akin to talking about Fight Club.

The first rule …

“I always look forward to the next game,” Zmijanac said. “All the ones in the past are in the past. I can look back on it when I’m done coaching.”

So it’s a moot point to ask Zmijanac about getting his 200th career win when he’s focused on No. 201, just as it is to ask about the Quips’ 15 WPIAL titles, when he’s only worried about No. 16.

That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what Aliquippa has accomplished, an unprecedented feat in 100 years of the WPIAL crowning a football champion.

The last time the Quips weren’t in the WPIAL final, Terrelle Pryor was playing for Jeannette.

“And if it hadn’t been for him,” Zmijanac said of the Quips losing to Jeannette in the 2006 and ’07 playoffs, “there might have been a couple more years.”

The Quips are 88-9 since ’08, with losses to South Fayette in the ’10 and ’13 WPIAL finals.

Again, Aliquippa (12-0), with its Class A enrollment, plays South Fayette (12-0), the second largest school in Class AA.

What is it like for Zmijanac and the Quips to be an underdog?

“I have no idea what other people think — and don’t much care, either,” he said. “We’re just a little Class A school playing one of the best Triple-A schools in Western Pennsylvania.”

Imagine that: Aliquippa, as the little school that could, one with annual reservations to play in the WPIAL finals at Heinz Field.

“They’re always penciled in to go,” South Fayette coach Joe Rossi said of the Quips. “They’re what Double-A football is all about and will always be, no matter what anybody does.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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