Clairton grads, Pitt football teammates come back to pass torch to new generation
University of Pittsburgh student-athletes taught Clairton Little League Football Association players the importance of hard work and education during a football camp Saturday morning.
Clairton graduates Tyler Boyd, Terrish Webb, Trent Coles, Emmanuel Williams and Kevin Weatherspoon and their Pitt teammates Manasseh Garner and Ed Tinker led about 50 young Bears in drills and lessons until storms cut the session short.
“We had (the campers) doing the cone drill and footwork techniques,” Boyd said. “We were doing routes, defensive back drills, back peddling. We knew the rain was coming but we stayed outside as long as we could. I told them, ‘You may end up playing in this weather.' They listened. They just kept going.”
Association president Tonya Payne, Boyd's mother. said the youngsters' persistence despite the weather was a good lesson.
“I see something positive for them,” she said. “I know what the program gave to my son, what he got through it.”
She said having a group of Clairton's hometown football heroes conduct the camp helped build enthusiasm among the participants.
“They were excited when we passed out the information that the Pitt guys were coming to do a camp with them,” Payne said. “It's usually hard to keep the younger ones' attention, but they were focused. A lot of them look up to Tyler and Kevin and Trenton and Parrish. They're like celebrities. The Bears are like the Steelers.”
The association is for players ages 5-14. Boyd and Webb played together in the program and went on to help lead the high school team to a 63-game winning streak — which is the longest in the nation — and several WPIAL and state championships.
Payne organized the football camp with the college players. NCAA rules prohibit coaches from participating.
“I just feel like it inspired them to become what we are now,” Boyd said. “We didn't have college players work with us at that age. We had to work off each other. I think it's probably going to be easier on them than it was for us.”
Jaivion Clifford, 6, said he most enjoyed playing with Weatherspoon, his cousin, and taking pictures with Boyd.
“I listened and I was catching the ball,” Jaivion said.
“He was speechless,” Jaivion's mother Darlene Clifford said. “He was smiling from ear to ear. His cheeks had to hurt.”
The college players emphasized the importance of education and getting good grades in order to play football.
Darlene Clifford, a preschool teacher with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, said the association teaches that message by monitoring its members' progress in the classroom.
“It's not just an extracurricular activity,” she said. “They work together with the school to make sure these kids make it. Education has to come first. That's how these kids are going to make it in life.”
“I'm going to make honor roll again,” Jaivion said.
Clairton Middle School reading teacher Maria Suss watched as her sons Mason, 7, and Maddox, 6, were instructed by her former students.
“It was almost a surreal kind of a thing because I taught all the (college) kids who came,” Suss said. “It's like they're paying it back. It's really neat for me to see them succeed.”
Suss said her boys love playing football in any weather.
“I think even if it was snowing they would have loved every minute of it,” she said.
The Pitt players were treated to a luncheon at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Clairton in appreciation for their participation.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Blessing ceremony prays for McKeesport, summertime safety
- North Versailles commissioners withhold fire tax funds, cite 1 company’s noncompliance
- U.S. Steel gives $60,000 to scholarship program to help Mon-Yough area schools
- Mon-Yough communities prepare for Memorial Day
- West Mifflin towing companies defend practices
- Police confiscate heroin, phones, cash in North Versailles bust
- Truck smashes into house, driver arrested in Elizabeth Township
- Glassport honors native son as polka drummer
- West Mifflin Area moves to issue iPad minis to sixth-graders
- Munhall may expand rec board
- Robber hits White Oak store