Trio of signal-callers poised to lead Clairton offense
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The names of recent quarterbacks in Clairton are almost as big as the school's football tradition.
A trio of players, though, isn't shying away from the pressure of being the signal caller for the team with a 47-game winning streak.
Armani Ford, Bryon Clifford and Tyler Boyd — yes, that Tyler Boyd — will all see time under center for the Bears.
Most coaches prefer one player to become the unanimous quarterback, but Clairton's Tom Nola seems at ease with this season's plan.
“Armani Ford is going to start our first game at quarterback because he's earned that, and because he's really been able to take control of the offense and the huddle,” Nola said. “But we're going to do a lot of different things.”
Here's how the Bears' quarterback situation figures to shake out:
Ford, who missed most of last season with an injured knee, will see the majority of snaps under center. He reminds Nola of last year's quarterback, Capri Thompson, in that he isn't an especially gifted athlete but that his intelligence and understanding of the offensive scheme make him the ideal player to run Clairton's powerful offense.
“He's really impressed me during camp,” Nola said. “He's gotten better and better. He's been better than I expected, to be honest. He can really play.”
Clifford, though, could play a significant role in Clairton's offense this season, and Nola isn't afraid to use the senior in any situation.
Although not as accurate as Ford, Clifford is a better runner. Assistant coach Eric Fusco calls him “electric, a deadly option quarterback.”
Clifford is convinced he is even more than just a good option quarterback.
“I pretty much feel like I can do it all,” Clifford said. “Yeah, I can run and we'll do the option. But I can put the ball in the air, too.”
Nola said that “everybody loves when there's only one quarterback,” but said he isn't troubled by the realization that no one has claimed the responsibility of handling 100 percent of the snaps. Rather, Nola feels like he simply has too many weapons at his disposal to use only one quarterback.
“Armani will see many of the snaps but whether he's struggling or not, Clifford is going to play some quarterback,” Nola said.
And then there is Boyd.
Being recruited as a wide receiver by schools such as UCLA, Michigan State, West Virginia, Penn State and Pitt, Boyd will see most of his time this season at running back.
Of course, Nola will make sure he gets snaps at quarterback, too.
“He's got the best arm on the team,” Nola said matter-of-factly of the player he has called “by far” the best Clairton player during his decade-long stint as head coach.
A wildcat package is in place for Boyd, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season. The catch is, he isn't always going to run out of that package.
“Not at all,” Nola said. “We'll have him throw a lot out of it. You watch. He's capable of being a great quarterback.”
Clairton is no stranger to those.
Starting with Andre Carr in 2004, Clairton's starting quarterbacks have been among the most prolific in school history. Leroy George, Andrew Currington, Troy Webb, Desimon Green and Thompson have all led Clairton to WPIAL titles under Nola.
“We'll be just fine,” Clifford said. “You'll see one guy in on one play, and then somebody else. And it's going to be hard to defend.”
Nola has two primary concerns entering the season: The conference is more difficult than any point over the past decade, and his offensive line is suspect.
The quarterback position, however, appears to be in good hands.
“They've all done well,” Nola said. “I'm confident in what they can do.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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.
- Steelers RBs Bell, Blount to face drug charges
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting; woman says male victim her son
- Ex-Titans, Penn St. LB Shaw says he has ALS
- Pitt sophomore Coles leaves football team
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Gymnast Biles alters path, emerges as one to beat at championships
- Stocks shake off Fed’s talk of stepping up interest rate hike
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Grand jury that heard testimony from Ravenstahl aides ends work
- MLB notebook: Giants win protest, will get to resume game against Cubs