Clairton's Boyd will play in U.S.Army All-American Bowl
Tyler Boyd has been given his share of accolades over the last couple of years, but the Division I recruit was given something a bit more substantial Tuesday at Clairton High School.
During a ceremony held at the school, Boyd was presented with a jersey similar to the one he will wear Jan. 5, when he plays in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. About the only difference between the one he posed with and the real one was that he was given No. 13 to wear and he hasn't officially been issued a number as of yet.
He is the only Clairton player ever invited to play in the 13-year history of the game.
“It was really cool and huge,” Boyd said. “It was a great honor.”
Boyd is one of 90 players across the country who was selected to play in the game.
He was recognized by Sgt. Andrew Montgomery, Staff Sgt. Cheronda Shields and Capt. Michael Gorham at Tuesday's ceremony.
Before he makes the trip to Texas at the end of the month to see if he received the familiar No. 23 he requested, Boyd still has some business to finish at Clairton (14-0). The Bears will take on District 9 champion Port Allegany (13-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Deer Lakes in the PIAA Class A semifinals, seeking their 62nd consecutive victory.
The Gators have never played in the state championship game and, in fact, no District 9 team has ever won a PIAA football title in any classification.
A WPIAL team has competed in the Class A state championship game 18 of the 24 times it was contested.
The only District 9 team to ever get to the finals, Keystone, defeated Clairton, 15-14, in 1989 in the second year the state championships were held. Current Bears defensive coordinator Wayne Wade was the quarterback of that team.
This time will be a bit different as Clairton is an experienced veteran group that has been there before. Boyd has won WPIAL and PIAA Class A titles in each of his first three seasons and, on Nov. 23, added a perfect fourth District 7 championship to his resume. The Bears, as a whole, have won five consecutive WPIAL titles and are looking for their fifth straight trip to Hersheypark Stadium.
And Boyd is one of the primary reasons as, over the last two years, he has risen in the Clairton and WPIAL record books.
He scored five touchdowns last week in a 53-0 win over Berlin Brothersvalley to give him 114 in his career, passing Hopewell alumnus Rushel Shell in becoming the WPIAL's all-time scoring leader.
He is 10 away from breaking the state's touchdown record set, by Bryan Bellas of Bishop O'Reilly (Wilkes-Barre), who scored 123 from 1995-98. His 5,546 yards are the most in Clairton school history and seventh on the WPIAL's all-time rushing list. He has scored 95 touchdowns in 30 games over the last two seasons.
Port Allegany is led by quarterback Matt Bodamer, who is a record-setter in his own right. He may not be playing in the All-American Bowl, but he has thrown for 10,755 yards and 136 touchdowns, is 67 yards away from breaking Brockway's Derek Buganza's single season state record of 3,824 yards set in 2009 and is just one touchdown pass away from tying the state record of 52 set by South Fayette alumnus Christian Brumbaugh in 2010.
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161, ext. 1977.