No. 1 Clairton routs Bishop Canevin
It's not very often that a team comes out of the gate, slaps Clairton in the face and challenges the four-time defending WPIAL Class A champions to a duel.
Bishop Canevin tried it when the two teams met at Dormont Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. In the end, though, the Crusaders ended up exactly where the last 53 Bears opponents finished.
Clairton (7-0, 7-0) overcame a surprising early deficit as senior Tyler Boyd scored three first-half touchdowns to lead the Class A No. 1 Bears to a 53-15 running-clock victory over the No. 5 Crusaders in a Black Hills Conference game. Boyd finished with 12 carries for 171 yards and five touchdowns.
“Them boys definitely came out ready and anxious to play and they didn't want to go out like the rest of the teams, as a failure,” Boyd said. “They came out strong, but they just didn't finish.”
With the decision, Clairton extended its WPIAL-record and nation's-best winning streak to 54 games and moved to within five of tying Central Bucks West for the state record of 59.
Unlike most of Clairton's opponents this season, Bishop Canevin was unfazed by the winning streak or the No. 1 ranking. Instead, the Crusaders (5-2, 5-2) took the opening kickoff and pounded running back Jim Tersak at the Bears' defensive front. They had great success with the formula, as Tersak carried nine times for 27 yards on the team's first possession and, helped by a 36-yard pass from Nico DiPaolo to Tyler Reddy, Bishop Canevin moved the ball to the Clairton 2. It took two runs, but Tersak finally pounded the ball over from the 1 and the Crusaders had a rare 6-0 lead over the Bears.
“We're not used to that and they played hard,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “They played hard the whole game, but they took it to us and they ran right down the field. Obviously, we don't like that and we scored 39 straight after that.”
Clairton did it by doing exactly what it does best. It gave the ball to Boyd and allowed him to take over the game.
Boyd carried only three times for 20 yards on the team's first drive, but capped it with a 7-yard touchdown run. On the Bears' second possession, helped out by a Bishop Canevin pass interference call on the first play, he ran for 12 yards and then a 48-yard touchdown run to give them their first lead of the game.
Boyd scored his third touchdown of the half on Clairton's next possession, breezing into the end zone on a third-and-10 from the Bishop Canevin 15.
While Boyd took over offensively, the Clairton defense woke up after the initial challenge. Bishop Canevin picked up 67 yards on their opening touchdown drive, but on their next five possessions in the half, they gained only 21 yards and were tackled for a loss eight times.
Clairton's Vincent Moody took away any doubt when he returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Terrish Webb also chipped in with a 102-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter.
“I think they realized that we weren't throwing the ball that much and they began to bunch up at the line and shut down the running game,” Bishop Canevin coach Bob Jacoby said. “You can drive, drive, drive, but if you don't come up with anything, they're going to score in two or three plays. After the first drive, we couldn't put anything together consistently.”
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.