Clairton opens PIAA playoffs vs. Berlin-Brothersvalley
PIAA class A Quarterfinals
Clairton (13-0) vs. Berlin-Brothersvalley (11-1), 7 p.m. Friday at Golden Eagle Stadium, Somerset
Clairton has spent a lot of time chasing history and that will continue as the Bears head into the state playoffs gearing up for a run at their fourth consecutive PIAA Class A title.
Central Catholic (Class AAAA in 1988, 2004 and '07), Rochester (Class A in 1998, 2000-01) and Thomas Jefferson (Class AAA in 2004, 07-08) are the only other WPIAL schools to win three state championships. None were able to do what Clairton has — playing in a fifth consecutive state final and possibly winning four straight.
Perhaps the biggest challenge in preparing to play Clairton is to just concentrate on the game.
“Yeah, it's tough because even where we're at in the state, that's what everybody talks about and we told our kids that they have absolutely nothing to lose in this game,” Berlin-Brothersvalley coach Doug Paul said. “Besides themselves, there's probably nobody in the whole state of Pennsylvania that thinks we have a chance, and we're definitely going into this with a ‘David versus Goliath' mentality and just play ball.”
And even that might not be enough.
Clairton has been at its best when it uses a Wildcat running attack featuring Tyler Boyd, who eclipsed 2,000 yards for the season with 144 yards and a touchdown against Sto-Rox in the WPIAL championship game. But in the last two weeks the Bears have diversified their attack and complemented Boyd with a devastating passing game that has scored eight touchdowns through the air, one on an option pass from Boyd to Santeaun Sims and the other seven from the right arm of quarterback Armani Ford.
“This whole year, I've been saying that I hope these boys don't think they're going to stop me because, if they do stop me, they're not going to stop all of us,” Boyd said. “We're loaded with athletes and they're going to have to stop all of us as one, so it's going to be tough for them.”
KEYS TO VICTORY — C: The Bears' defense has allowed just 131 yards per game this season. Their play will be key against RB Drew Glotfelty. B-B: Force turnovers. Sto-Rox forced two Clairton interceptions in the WPIAL championship and held close in the first half.
PREDICTION — Clairton, 42-7