Clairton underclassmen have big shoes to fill next season
By Keith Barnes
Published: Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 8:02 p.m.
For most of the season, the Clairton seniors had their eyes focused on 60 consecutive victories.
It was a lofty goal, one that would break the all-time state record of 59 set by Central Bucks West from 1997-2000.
Once the Bears reached 60 — in a 58-21 victory over Sto-Rox in the WPIAL Class A championship game at Heinz Field — they reset their sights on finishing with 63 consecutive wins and ending their high school careers with their fourth state championship.
Now those players can walk away knowing they ended their careers with a fourth consecutive PIAA Class A championship thanks to a 20-0 win over District 2 champion Dunmore and, more importantly, with the streak intact.
“We definitely didn't want to be the one to have the streak snapped,” Clairton senior Robert Boatright said. “(The coaches) beat that into our head.”
Now that the Class of 2013 finished with a record of 63-1, with their only loss a 15-8 defeat at Laurel in the first game of their freshman year, the seniors can walk away knowing they did something no team in Pennsylvania ever accomplished.
But because of that lone defeat, they also left the returning Clairton players something to shoot for next season — 64-0.
“You always want to keep it positive, and we've got to keep the streak going,” junior running back Brandon Murphy said. “We can't be the ones our senior year to lose the streak, so we've got to go hard all year.”
This junior class has never lost a game, and the players will enter next season with a record of 48-0 with three state championships. And, as that loss to Laurel motivated the current crop of seniors, extending the nation's longest current winning streak will be the carrot dangling in front of the Class of 2014.
If they can finish next season undefeated, the Bears will extend their streak to 79 games and become only the second team (Southern Columbia 2002-06) to win five consecutive state titles.
“We want to just get better, and we just want to keep going,” junior defensive end JoJuan Bray said. “Everything we do is a big story, so we just want to keep going for the city and, most likely, everything is going to go good next year.”
It's not only the returning juniors who have a stake in this. No player who will be on next season's roster has lost a high school game, and they really don't want to know what that feels like, they said.
“We just have to get the younger guys that didn't start this year to get them on track with what's going on, which is a lot of preparation and a lot of dedication,” sophomore center Vance Gibson said. “I don't know what's going happen if we lose.”
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Deer Lakes hires former NFL lineman
- New WPIAL hall of famer Yannessa cherises the process
- Gateway pair selected for all-star game
- Jenkins stepping down at Charleroi
- Norwin hires Brozeski; Charleroi coach resigns
- Norwin names longtime assistant Brozeski football coach