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Cruce Brookins leads Steel Valley to 34-14 win over Beaver Falls in WPIAL 2A championship game

The quarterback ran for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the win
Steel Valley football WPIAL champions

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Steel Valley quarterback Cruce Brookins was up to his old tricks again on Friday, as he helped lead the Ironmen to a 34-14 win over Beaver Falls for the WPIAL 2A title.

Brookins started the scoring on the third play of the game, when he broke tackles and ran down the sideline 56 yards to put the Ironmen up 6-0.

After Beaver Falls quarterback Jaren Brickner threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Trey Singleton to put the Tigers up 8-6, Steel Valley and its quarterback had an answer.

Brookins found an open hole on 2nd-and-3 and ran 53 yards for a touchdown to give the Ironmen the lead back at 13-8.

The Steel Valley defense got in on the scoring on the ensuing Beaver Falls drive, as Donald Barksdale intercepted a Brickner pass and returned it 53 yards to extend the lead to 20-8, which would be the score at halftime.

Beaver Falls started the second half with a 2-yard touchdown run by Da’talian Beauford to trim the Steel Valley lead to one possession again at 20-14.

On the ensuing kickoff, Da’Ron Barksdale returned the kickoff 53 yards to set the Ironmen up with good field position. Two plays later, Brookins scored his third touchdown of the game, this time from five yards out to extend the Ironmen lead back to double digits at 27-14.

“I give all the credit to my offensive line, they dominate every opponent,” Brookins said. “Their linebackers weren’t really disciplined, so that’s how we were able to tun the ball down the field.”

Brookins finished the game with 170 yard rushing and the three scores.

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With Beaver Falls down 13 in the fourth quarter, they still had two drives to try and trim the lead down.

Beaver Falls blocked a Steel Valley punt with 7:35 left in the game, which gave the Tigers good field position as they started at Steel Valley’s 24-yard line. But Steel Valley defensive lineman Gregory Smith hit Brickner from behind, causing him to fumble and Smith recovered the ball for the Ironmen.

Then the next possession ended in a turnover on downs with Da’Sean Anderson forced to play quarterback after Brickner left with an injury.

Donald Barksdale then rushed for a 56-yard touchdown to put the icing on the cake for Steel Valley.

This was the sixth WPIAL title in school history for Steel Valley.

“It means a lot just for our names to go down alongside all of the other greats who were able to win it,” Brookins said.

Steel Valley will take on the Westinghouse Bulldogs on Friday night, December 2nd in the PIAA 2A Semifinals. Both teams are currently undefeated.

The Ironmen will let this WPIAL championship win sink in before trying to hoist another one, this time the goal being a state title.

“It feels great being a WPIAL champion,” Steel Valley defensive end Makhai Valentine said. “It’s all surreal right now, I still cannot believe it to be honest, but we worked so hard for this.

“Every single Friday night, our whole community shows out and has been supporting us and they are a big part of our success.”