Clairton's Boyd nears WPIAL's career touchdown mark
Tyler Boyd has always been adamant about his commitment to Clairton's team success despite the gaudy individual numbers he has put up over the last two seasons.
That being said, it's hard to begrudge him a little bit of selfishness as he and the Bears prepare to play District 5 champion Berlin-Brothersvalley (11-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Golden Eagles Stadium in Somerset in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals.
With one touchdown the senior running back who Rivals.com lists as a four-star receiving recruit, the No. 5 prospect in Pennsylvania and No. 154 ranked player in the country, will tie former Hopewell standout and Pitt freshman Rushel Shell for the WPIAL all-time record with 110 career touchdowns.
“In one way it is for me, but in one way it ain't, because I didn't get it by myself. And my team, the fullback and everything, is helping me do what I got to do,” Boyd said. “It's a great feeling for me to be about to break Rushel Shell's record because he's probably one of the greatest WPIAL players to ever play. That's huge for me.”
Shell may be racking up some solid numbers at Pitt this year — he has 530 yards and four touchdowns while splitting time with Ray Graham — but he has certainly paid attention to what Boyd has been doing and how close he is to shattering that milestone.
Then again, Shell only played in 44 games in his high school career. Because Clairton has won 60 consecutive games, played in four consecutive state finals and won the last five WPIAL Class A titles, Boyd will have a chance to set the standard in his 62nd game with the Bears.
“Records are meant to be broken,” Shell said. “He's a great player. One of the best I've seen.”
Shell and Boyd talked at length Nov. 16 when Boyd made an official recruiting visit to Pitt. And, of course, the topic of the record did come up.
“He was (coaxing) me to ‘just beat the record, bro,' ” Boyd said. “Coming into high school, I looked up to him a little bit as a football player. I think if I wasn't around (the record) it would still be there.”
Of course, Shell does have a few records that could stand the test of time. He is the one of the few WPIAL running backs to have at least 1,000 yards rushing all four years and his state-record 9,078 yards are 1,432 more than anyone in District 7 history. Even Boyd, with his 2,400 yards in 2011 and 2,123 this season, won't come close to eclipsing that mark.
Boyd will head into the game against the Mountaineers as the No. 9 rusher in WPIAL history with 5,302 yards and will likely vault past Charleroi's Darrell Harding (5,410) and Chico Williams of Aliquippa (5,417) before the end of the night. It would take an immense effort to move up to No. 6 and pass Montour's Julian Durden (5,582), but he has the capability after a jaw-dropping 288-yard rushing performance in the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals against Brentwood.
He needs to average 232.7 yards in the next three games to become the fifth player in WPIAL history and the 24th in the state with 6,000 in his career.
“It's huge and first of all, it's about the linemen,” Boyd said. “We may not have the (biggest guys), but they ride for me, and they are going to do what they've got to do so I can get what I can get. They're going to ride for me, and it doesn't matter if they've got to block 300-pound dudes or whatever, I'm going to get some.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-664-9161, ext. 1977.