ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — Aliquippa football breeds both success and championships. This year, the Quips are going for their 14th consecutive WPIAL Championship appearance, despite the fact that they’re a single A school, playing up three classes.
The program knows the harsh reality of unimaginable adversity. Yet even when they’re playing schools five times their size, handling the emotional toll after one of their teammates was shot, and losing a handful of key starters, they’re still pushing forward, all while carrying on the tradition of Quips football.
Tyrese Jones, a senior tackle and nose guard, put it bluntly.
“Our coaches always tell us that life isn’t fair, but where we come from, you have to go through it to get through it,” said Jones. “This is a real tough town.”
The players are the first to tell you that life in Aliquippa isn’t the easiest. It’s something their coach also knows all too well, especially for a program being forced to play up three classes.
“We don’t have a voice,” said Head Coach Michael Warfield.
“If this was Pine Richland, if this was Mt. Lebanon, if this was Central Catholic, they got voices. They argue because of the change in coaches it’s all over the news, but nothing’s been said, of a high school who graduated 39 kids got to play against high schools that’s graduating 200. It’s not right.”
For the Quips, they use everything they’re going through, including the hardships and roadblocks they encounter, as motivation.
“Every time I come out on this field, I’m angry,” said Jones. “Especially on Friday nights I take all that anger on Friday nights.”
They also find motivation from their teammates who can’t be on the field, like Antonyo “Sunny” Anderson, who was shot in the back this past May, just hours after he had left practice.
“He told me like, push through it,” said junior defensive tackle and right guard Jason McBride.
“Don’t listen to anybody else’s play hard, play for me.”
Coach Warfield wants his kids to understand the ugly truths life can bring. He stresses to them they can only worry about things that are in their control, and that mindset will lead them toward their desired success.
“Life isn’t fair,” said Warfield.
“Things that is not going to go your way, the way you think it should go. Even with that, you still got to go out. Keep your head up, poke your chest out, and keep working.”
“It’s a brotherhood,” added McBride. “We just stick together as a team.”
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