Clairton grabs WPIAL title, 60th straight win
Bout Dat! 60
Clairton uses the ‘Bout Dat' moniker to, as Tyler Boyd put it, “let everybody know what we are all about.”
It would be hard-pressed these days to find anybody who doesn't know what Clairton is all about now, and it has nothing to do with the ‘Bout Dat! 60' championship T-shirts the Bears donned minutes before Friday's game ended.
Clairton broke a state record with its 60th consecutive victory as the Bears won their fifth consecutive WPIAL title and sixth in seven years with a 58-21 victory over Sto-Rox in the Class A championship game at Heinz Field.
Clairton (13-0) passed Central Bucks West, which had 59 straight wins between 1997 and 2000, and became the second team in WPIAL history to win five consecutive titles. Braddock won five Class AA titles from 1955-59.
“It is a historic day for us,” said Tom Nola, who won his 128th game in his 10th year as Clairton coach. “Nobody has ever done this before.”
Clairton will take on the District 5 champion on either Friday or Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
“I grew up around some great football teams that never had this opportunity,” defensive coordinator and Clairton alum Wayne Wade said. “Anything can happen in any given game, (on) any given Friday. To put 60 together, that's amazing.”
The Bears haven't lost since Sept. 4, 2009, against Laurel.
“We will always remember this until we are like 80 years old,” Boyd said. “We always heard about 60. So we said ‘Let's make it happen.' ”
Clairton did it in typical Bears fashion.
Clairton started off slow and actually trailed after a quarter for the first time all season before exploding for 501 yards of offense and 58 points — the second most points in championship game history. Only Jeannette's 61 in 2007 against Beaver Falls were more.
Boyd played a large part in that, racking up 252 total yards — 144 rushing, 87 passing, 21 receiving — and scored on runs of 14 and 77 yards.
“I had no doubt that we were going to win this game because that's how we play,” receiver Titus Howard said. “We feel that we are going to win these games, so when we hit the field, we just do what we do.”
Early on, the Bears struggled. Boyd had minus-9 yards rushing at the half, and Clairton managed an un-Bear-like 22 points.
“They're a complete team. They run to the ball. They tackle. They hit,” Sto-Rox coach Dan Bradley said. “And they have Tyler Boyd.”
Nola put the ball in Boyd's hands in the second half, and the senior showed why he is one of the top recruits in the state.
Boyd gained 153 yards in the second half after a slight adjustment by Nola.
Sto-Rox was loading the box in the first half, and even though the Bears were taking advantage of the matchup of receivers Santeaun Sims, Terrish Webb and Howard (all who had first-half touchdown catches), Clairton wanted to establish Boyd and the run game in the second half.
So Nola put Boyd in the Wildcat formation and “I just ran where the extra guy wasn't,” Boyd said.
Clairton scored 28 points in a span of 8:17 of the third quarter to turn a 22-6 lead into a 50-21 advantage by the start of the final quarter.
“We coach them during the week and try to put them into position, but they are the ones who go out and play,” Nola said. “They've accomplished what no other WPIAL team or, I guess, any team in the state of Pennsylvania has ever accomplished. We have good athletes, and they go out and play.”
So what's next for the Bears?
“Sixty-one, I guess,” Nola said.
The Bears advance to the PIAA Class A quarterfinals, where they will face District 5 champion Berlin Brothersvalley (10-1) at a date, site and time to be determined.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.