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Clairton rolls to 50th straight win

| Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, 10:50 p.m.
Photo by Ronald Vezzani Jr./For The Daily News The Clairton Bears defense sacks California QB Malik Jackson (2) during the first quarter at Clairton Stadium Friday evening.
Photo by Ronald Vezzani Jr./For The Daily News Pre-games festivities during the Clairton-California football game Friday evening included the raising of the banner signifying Clairton's three time PIAA state championship tittles.
Photo by Ronald Vezzani Jr./For Clairton's Tyler Boyd (23) races towards the end zone in second quarter action against California Friday evening at Clairton Stadium.

Clairton became the ninth team in WPIAL history to reach 600 wins, but coach Tom Nola is more impressed with a lesser number: 50.

On a night when the Bears celebrated their three consecutive state championships by unveiling a banner, Clairton became just the ninth team to reach 600 victories and just one of a handful to win 50 consecutive games.

The Bears added to the nation's longest current winning streak with a 54-6 Black Hills Conference victory over California at Neil C. Brown Stadium.

“It is more impressive that we won 50 games,” Nola said. “That is unbelievable. Fifty? It's not like we aren't playing good teams. It is hard to say how difficult of a feat that is.”

Clairton is 10 games shy of surpassing the Central Bucks West state record of 59. Entering the state playoffs undefeated would accomplish that feat.

As for last night, the Bears we able to overlook 50 for a night and concentrate on 600.

“It is important for us just to put it in the record books,” Tyler Boyd said. “No other Clairton team can say that. But other than that, we just come out and ball out and get the win.”

Clairton is now 600-347-41.

“We are glad to be a part of it,” Pitt recruit Titus Howard said. “It is important for us, as is the 50 games. Getting 600 is something we will all never forget.”

Clairton flexed its muscles against an outmanned California team that was down to 21 healthy bodies by the end of the game.

Boyd rushed for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns, added two catches for 54 yards and returned a punt 55 yards for a score.

Armani Ford completed 6 of 7 passes for 176 yards and threw two touchdowns, including a 91-yarder to Titus Howard. Terrish Webb added a pair of catches for 101 yards.

“We still have to clean up some things,” Nola said.

Cory Adams gained 84 yards rushing for California.

Clairton got on the board early following a blocked punt by Sedrick Nash. Boyd took a pitch 27 yards to the 3-yard line, then made it 6-0 on the following play.

Nash intercepted Malik Jackson on the following series to set Clairton up for another score. Ford raced around left end for a 31-yard touchdown run on the ensuing play and, following a 2-point conversion by Boyd, the Bears took a 14-0 lead.

After a three-and-out by Cal, Boyd struck again, returning a punt 55 yards for a touchdown to make it 20-0.

Clairton scored three times in a span of 5:34.

“We sort of stopped a little bit,” Howard said. “That is something that we have to work on.”

Cal finally put some offense together with a time-consuming, 11-play, 65-yard drive that was finished off with an Adams 13-yard run, but the Trojans got help from the Bears.

A personal foul after an incomplete pass on fourth down kept the drive alive, and the Trojans took advantage.

Clairton was penalized 60 yards in the first half.

Boyd added a third touchdown late in the second, and following an interception by Webb deep in California territory, Ford connected with Howard from 12 yards out to give Clairton a 34-6 lead.

Webb caught a 91-yard touchdown pass in the third, and Bryon Clifford and James Hines added late touchdowns.

“This all doesn't mean anything unless we keep winning,” Boyd said. “We are taking it game by game. If we slip up and lose one week, it is all lost.”

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com.

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