Big Red Machine and Quips bring home the Gold (Dec. 12)

COURIER SPORTS COLUMNIST BILL NEAL, second from right, with some Penn Hills Hall of Fame legends, among others, at Savoy.

Of course we kick off with a salute to my Penn Hills Indians winning anotherfootball state championship…HOF Class of 1970 here at your service! A big-time congratulations to Coach Jon LeDonne and the Big Red Machine. Ironically, LeDonne is a 2001 graduate/player from Aliquippa and played linebacker at Robert Morris (2001–2004). The Indians outlasted Manheim Central, 36–31 to bring home the PIAA Class 5A title to complement a 16–0 season. It’s their second title following their 1995 championship.
Each Thursday I host the “Champions Live” Sports Talk Show live from the Savoy Restaurant. The Savoy is currently owned by Chuck Sanders, Penn Hills Hall of Famer, Slippery Rock University All-American and former Pittsburgh Steeler.
Seated left to right in the photo above: “Sensation Model” Kathy Speaks, Point Park All-American and Connie Hawkins League Hall of Famer Bobby Franklin, Penn Hills HOF Track star Dave Czegan, Hubie Bryant Football and Track superstar…considered by many one of the greatest overall athletes in Penn Hills history, Azeeza Reed, President of Pittsburgh based World Financial Group and TV show co-sponsor Hall of Fame track star Reggie Jackson, football and track Hall of Famer Bill Neal and basketball star Warren Wilson.
Well after a great deal of sportsmanship back and forth, it looks like Kevin “Aliquippa” Cameron and Bill ”Penn Hills” Neal will be taking each other to the Savoy for wings…they both win but right now let’s go back to the future and count ‘em—30 conference titles and seven state titles…Dorsett, Ditka, Revis, Baldwin, Campbell, Gilbert, Law! And when I tell you the list goes and on I mean it goes on and on. Given the time and space I could give you another 20 names of football greats from this special All-American mill town. And, just for effect, you could start that list with the greatest hands in basketball, “Pistol Pete’ Maravich.
But the future is now and to say this is not Aliquippa football’s first rodeo would be an understatement. But, for the first time since 2003 the Quips bring home the Class 3A PIAA State football title. A 198-yard rushing explosion from Avante McKenzie helps make the road to gold an easier task but when your defense pitches their seventh shutout of the season for a 35–0 victory it gives you reason to believe there’s still Steel in that Valley.
Following a little of this and that, first-year Coach Mike Warfield and his legendary and talented crew proved true to their word about bringing Aliquippa football back to national prominence. When Coach Warfield appeared on the sports talk show “Champions Live—Soul Take” with co-hosts Bill Neal and Kevin Cameron…a proud Aliquippa native…Coach Warfield made it very clear that he came back for the history that is Aliquippa football, the community that has historically stood the test of time and most important, for the young men playing the game today! Job well done Coach…Job well done.
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