Clairton ties record with 59th win in a row
Clairton star Tyler Boyd let some of his teammates have the spotlight for a week.
They did not disappoint.
Boyd still delivered another terrific performance, but Clairton reminded the rest of Class A that it is not a one-man team. The Bears won their 59th straight game — which ties the Pennsylvania record — in convincing fashion, a 37-7 victory over upstart Neshannock.
“Tyler Boyd is a great player,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “But we are more than just Tyler Boyd.”
Clairton (12-0) will attempt to win its fifth straight WPIAL title and the 10th in school history Friday at Heinz Field against Sto-Rox.
The Bears beat Sto-Rox in the Class A final last season.
“They just overwhelm you,” Neshannock coach Fred Mozzocio. “Their speed on defense is just too much to handle. We couldn't do anything with it all night.”
Boyd rushed for 121 yards on 17 carries but played sparingly in the second half because of a back injury.
He was hit in the back by a helmet in the second quarter.
“His back really tightened up on him,” Nola said.
Boyd got things started with his 12th touchdown of the postseason, but the rest of the night belonged to his teammates, especially his quarterback.
Senior quarterback Armani Ford completed 10 of 14 passes for 154 yards and four touchdowns.
Ford threw touchdown passes to Pitt recruit Titus Howard, Kent State recruit Terrish Webb and senior tight end Santeaun Sims to give the Bears a comfortable halftime advantage.
“It's not like Clairton doesn't have any other skill position guys than Boyd,” Mozzocio said. “We found that out tonight.”
Nola knew a night would arrive when an opponent would key so heavily on Boyd that his passing attack would be forced to ignite the offense.
On this night, it finally happened against Neshannock (10-2).
“As great as Tyler is,” Nola said, “we need everyone to be a part of the offense. Armani has been pretty good all year, but every once in a while, he has a game like last week against Brentwood. We need him to be good for us.”
He was almost perfect against the Lancers.
Ford, a first-year starter, connected on seven of his first eight attempts.
“I felt good all night,” Ford said. “We knew Tyler was dinged up, and it was time for me to make some plays.”
Clairton put the game away in the third quarter, when, while leading, 28-7, defensive back Tyus Booker picked off quarterback Ernie Burkes.
“That was the game,” Mozzocio said. “It was an honor to play in this game and to play against that team. But they were just too good tonight.”
That's 59 games in a row that Clairton has been too good.
“That's an amazing number,” Nola said.
“Our seniors lost their first game and haven't lost since. I am very proud of them.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1975.