Clairton's Boyd makes quite an impression in Big 33 victory
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HERSHEY — Clairton's Tyler Boyd reached Hersheypark Stadium with a motivation just as passionate as his first four visits.
“I want everybody to know who I am and what I can do,” Boyd said before scoring four first-half touchdowns four different ways in Saturday's 58-27 victory over Maryland in the Big 33 Football Classic.
Despite more than 5,000 career rushing yards, 117 touchdowns and four state championships won here, the Pitt recruit often has heard how he played “only” Class A football. Here, with many of the best from Pennsylvania and Maryland, Boyd shed that label for good.
“I don't just do what I do (because I play) Class A ball,” he said. “I could do it in double, triple, quad, it doesn't matter. That's why they picked me to be in this game. I'm going to show everyone what I'm made of.”
By halftime, everyone was convinced.
Actually, it likely took only 15 seconds.
Boyd returned the opening kickoff 90 yards, sprinting down the left sideline for the touchdown.
“I told everybody on the bench that I had a feeling my bro was going to take this to the crib,” Clairton teammate Titus Howard said. “He had that look in his eye.”
Boyd reached the end zone again 20 seconds later on a 16-yard touchdown catch from Mack Leftwich, one of three touchdown passes by the North Allegheny quarterback. Boyd added a 4-yard touchdown run and a 68-yard touchdown pass to Bishop McDevitt's Brian Lemelle as Pennsylvania built a 37-20 halftime lead.
The wideout added a 5-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. He finished with five catches for 89 yards, earning him the Pennsylvania team's MVP award.
Boyd could play in any classification, said Pennsylvania coach Art Walker, who led North Allegheny to the Class AAAA title in December.
“He could have played for or against anybody and excelled,” Walker said. “Pitt has got a weapon; we used him a bunch of different ways.”
Maryland recruit Shane Cockerille was named Maryland's MVP. The Gilman, Md., quarterback threw two touchdowns and rushed for another.
For varying reasons, the WPIAL's other four-star recruits did not attend the all-star game with a decades-long tradition. But Boyd was among the nine WPIAL players who did.
“Basically, I love football,” he said. “If I get any opportunity to play a game, I'm going to play. And one of my teammates is here playing, too, so why not come play with him and represent for Clairton? That's why I chose to play.”
The setting was certainly familiar. Boyd ended all four of his high school seasons with a state championship victory here.
Maryland's luck stopping him wasn't much better than any other of his opponents. Boyd and Clairton teammate Howard scored the first four touchdowns to give Pennsylvania a 27-0 lead.
Howard had a 40-yard interception return.
“It felt like a Clairton game,” Boyd said, “because I've been here four years straight. It's like another championship game for me.”
Not just a Class A championship, either.
Chris Harlan can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @Charlan_Trib.
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