Clairton seniors ready to extend record 47-game win streak in football
All summer long the Clairton football team has been in shells and shorts getting ready to once again defend its WPIAL and PIAA Class A titles.
But there was nothing better for the Bears than what happened on Monday when they finally donned shoulder pads and stepped onto the field for contact drills.
“It feels great because everybody's been waiting to get the pads on and start hitting,” Clairton running back Tyler Boyd said. “It feels good because all summer it was the same thing, but now it might just start going fast because it's my senior year.”
Clairton did have some adventure on its plate after the 2011-12 school year ended. Not only did the Bears compete at several 7-on-7 tournaments in the area, they traveled to Dallas for the Red Bull Gamebreakers 7-on-7 National Championships for the second consecutive year to hone their skills while engaging some of the best programs in the country.
If that weren't enough, defensive back Titus Howard committed to play collegiately with his cousin and 2010 Clairton alumnus Kevin Weatherspoon at Pitt while Boyd, one of the most coveted prospects in the WPIAL, has fielded more than 30 Division I college offers.
When they got on the field Monday, though, thoughts of scholarships went away and the only future the players were thinking about was preparing themselves for their regular-season opener Aug. 31 against Chartiers-Houston and extending their nation's-best winning streak to 48 games.
This has been the most successful senior class in state football history. Members of the Class of 2013 have not lost a game since the first game of their freshman year — a 15-8 loss at Laurel — and have strung together a WPIAL-record 47-game winning streak. Clairton is the only team to win four consecutive WPIAL Class A titles and the only WPIAL squad to make four consecutive state finals appearances.
“We're very excited to see what we have when you put on those pads,” Clairton defensive coordinator Wayne Wade said. “On paper we're probably one of those teams (to beat) with Tyler Boyd and Titus Howard and (senior receiver) Terrish Webb, but we're trying to see what we have this week and the kids were really excited to put on the gear and get after it.”
Considering how Clairton plays, with a hard-nosed defense-oriented style that has allowed an average of 4 points per game since that loss to Laurel, it's no surprise the players couldn't wait to get on the field and hit someone for real.
“They love playing defense. They really do,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “A lot of times, they'd like to hit somebody more than scoring a touchdown.”
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.