Clairton blasts Brentwood on alumni night
One-by-one, Clairton public address announcer Jim Wessel announced the names of former players who were at Neil C. Brown Stadium for alumni night.
Deontae Howard, Kevin Weatherspoon, Desi Green, Terrish Webb, Titus Howard, Tyler Boyd and others who were an integral part of Clairton's six WPIAL titles and 66-game winning streak were recognized before the Bears' Black Hills Conference game against Brentwood.
“Before the game, all those guys came up to us and told us to show them what we've got,” quarterback Aaron Matthews said.
Playing only days after being displaced from his house because of an electrical fire, Matthews rushed for 135 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 82 yards. Lamont Wade added a pair of scores, and Clairton (5-1, 5-1) stayed atop the conference standings with a 37-13 victory.
“Hopefully, the kids got some inspiration from all the former players watching,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “They went out there and played to make those guys proud.”
Wearing their 1954 throwback jerseys — arguably the best defensive Clairton football team of all time — the Bears smothered Brentwood (3-3, 3-4) from start to finish.
Clairton held the Spartans to 11 yards rushing and 144 total,with 105 of those coming on two plays — an 82-yard touchdown pass from Conner McWilliams to Tayron Kayser and a late 23-yard run by fullback Ryan Shortley.
“The defense is improving each week,” Nola said. “Coach (Wayne) Wade really has the guys playing well.”
Clairton put constant pressure on McWilliams, forcing the junior quarterback into quick, inaccurate throws.
“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on them, and that's what we did,” Nola said. “That was a big part of the game.”
And so was Matthews.
The sophomore accounted for 198 yards of Clairton's 332 yards of total offense.
“He always is the guy who makes big plays,” Nola said. “Aaron generates a lot of offense running and passing.”
With the Bears leading, 8-0, late in the first half, Matthews took a seemingly innocent quarterback draw 82 yards for a touchdown and a 16-0 lead.
“At first, I thought I was going to go out of bounds,” Matthews said. “But I saw somebody coming from my left and I cut back, and it was open field from there.”
After a fumble by McWilliams two plays later, Wade scored from 17 yards out to make it 22-0. Clairton got the ball back with 1:24 left in the half, and Ryan Williams led the Bears on a 45-yard drive that cumulated with a 10-yard touchdown pass to JoJuan Bray to make it 28-0 at the half.
“In past years, we have had a lot of big plays,” Nola said. “This year, it hasn't quite been like that. We have a young team and we make mistakes, but we are getting better.”