Clairton takes care of business against Imani Christian
Clairton capped an unbeaten regular season with its 56th straight win, a 52-0 rout of Imani Christian on Friday night at Neil C. Brown Stadium.
It was the eighth straight mercy-rule win for top-ranked Clairton (9-0, 9-0), which won the Black Hills Conference and awaits a likely No. 1 seed in the WPIAL Class A playoffs.
Armani Ford was 5 for 6 for 139 yards, including touchdown tosses to Robert Boatright for 61 yards and Terrish Webb for 44. Tyler Boyd rushed nine times for 127 yards, including touchdowns of 21, 12 and 67 yards.
“Clairton is a well-deserved state champion, a quality football team,” Imani Christian coach Harvey Smith said after he lost several starters, including one on a stretcher to Children's Hospital in Lawrenceville.
Smith said receiver Troy Simon lost consciousness briefly after a tackle in the second quarter. Quarterback Khari Hicks went out with a hamstring pull, and running back Ron Brown also was hurt for No. 7 Imani Christian (6-3, 5-3).
“It was an emotional game, since our players know their players,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “Our players were on time. They did everything well … and with a lot of aggression.”
After a pair of 4-yard gains and a procedural penalty on Clairton's first possession, Ford threw to Boatright, who stumbled at the first-down marker but recovered and rolled down the sideline for the game's first score.
The two-point bid was squelched by a fumbled snap, after which Imani was pinned deep in its own territory and moved back another 10 yards on a pair of penalties.
Bryon Clifford returned the subsequent punt to the Imani 21, after which Boyd took a lateral and ran it in. An incomplete conversion pass made it 12-0 after one quarter.
Clairton's next drive began with a fumbled punt return to the Bears' 32. Boyd scored from 12 yards, and Clifford completed the first of four extra points to make it 19-0.
Damond Flowers blocked a punt and returned it 15 yards for Clairton's next touchdown, and a 44-yard pass from Ford to Webb gave the Bears a 33-0 halftime lead.
Boyd's 67-yard run 24 seconds into the third quarter and Clifford's kick made the score 40-0. Key players came out, but some linemen stayed in — and Nola conceded that could be a weakness in the playoffs.
“We're short on linemen,” he said. “If someone gets hurt, it will be (a problem).”
Three minutes later, Tyus Booker ran 62 yards to make it 46-0, but the extra-point snap was fumbled, and Clifford had to fall on the ball. Clifford then carried the ball in from the Imani 2; his kick hit the upright to keep it 52-0.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 Ext. 1967 or firstname.lastname@example.org.