HERSHEY -- Mason Smith ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns and Wyomissing's defense pitched a second-half shutout in a thrilling 17-14 win Saturday over Aliquippa to win the PIAA Class AA title.
The Spartans (16-0) came up with a bevy of big defensive plays, including linebacker Will Kroppe's interception with 44 seconds left, and Jonah Bowman hit a state playoff-record 52-yard field goal to claim the school's first state crown.
Aliquippa (15-1) converted two turnovers in the first half into a pair of touchdown runs by Dravon Henry. His 10-yard score gave the Quips a 14-7 lead at the half.
Henry finished with 123 yards on 22 carries, while Terry Swanson had 126 yards on 14 carries to form a potent one-two backfield punch for the Quips.
But the second half belonged to Wyomissing.
Linebacker Alex Anzalone forced a fumble on Aliquippa's opening drive of the half and later made a key fourth-down stop, atoning for a first half in which he coughed up two turnovers. Defensive lineman Jeriko Reyes led the charge up front.
Smith's 36-yard touchdown run down the right sideline with 11:18 left finally gave Wyomissing the 17-14 lead.
Aliquippa had one last chance after Smith fumbled at the 16 with 53 seconds left with Wyomissing trying to kill the clock, but Kroppe's pick of Darren Fields' wobbly pass finally sealed the win. Fields appeared to get hit while throwing the interception.
The championship game between two unbeaten teams had as many twists and turns as the idle roller-coaster tracks that tower beyond Hersheypark Stadium in the adjacent amusement park.
But only the Spartans got to pull on new T-shirts after the game proclaiming them "State Champions."
The Quips weren't slouches on defense, either. Defensive back Malik Stewart accounted for two fumble recoveries and an interception in the first half alone.
Aliquippa did waste a key chance to force field position in the first half after allowing Wyomissing to drive 99 yards on nine plays in less than 4 minutes. The drive ended with Smith's first TD run from 13 yards out with 9:16 in the second quarter to tie the game at 7.
Then Bowman's long field goal with 9:48 left gave Wyomissing another boost, delighting the thousands of fans in the stands. Bowman's boot broke the old PIAA playoff record for longest field goal by five yards, previously set by Matt Domonkos of Bishop McCort in 2001.