Clairton rolls into PIAA semis, Pitt recruit Howard hurt
SOMERSET — Clairton's game plan against undermanned Berlin Brothersvalley in the PIAA Class A quarterfinals was quite simple.
The Bears wanted to get Tyler Boyd a pair of touchdowns to surpass Rushel Shell for the all-time WPIAL touchdown record; get him 117 yards to move into seventh place on the all-time rushing list; extend the state record winning streak to 61 and, more importantly, don't get anybody hurt in the process.
Well, there goes that.
Boyd rushed for 244 yards and five touchdowns as Clairton rolled into the PIAA semifinals for the fifth straight year with a 53-0 win at Somerset High School, but the Bears will likely be without star wide receiver/cornerback and Pitt recruit Titus Howard for next week's game against Port Allegany (13-0).
Howard dislocated his left elbow in the second quarter when Berlin Brothersvalley's Drew Glotfelty fell on top of him while blocking far away from the play.
Howard was taken by ambulance to nearby Somerset Hospital and released. It was feared Howard also broke his humerus bone, but X-rays revealed only a dislocation. Howard could return if the Bears reach the championship game.
“It's his senior year, and he is one of our best players,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “It was just awful. We hope to get him back.”
Howard is one of the top two-way threats for the Bears (14-0), and together with Terrish Webb and Boyd, call themselves the ‘Killer T's.'
“That's my bro,” Boyd said. “We are with each other every day. We need him. He is a big part of our team. He is a Killer T, so we need him.”
Against the Mountaineers, nothing was needed much more than Boyd.
Boyd scored on runs of 17, 1, 19, 8 and 78 yards to raise his season total to 47 and his career total to a WPIAL-record 114. Boyd has 95 touchdowns over the past two years.
“It means a lot to me,” Boyd said. “Rushel Shell is one of the greatest players in WPIAL history, so that's great for me.”
Boyd also moved into seventh place on the WPIAL all-time rushing list, surpassing Charleroi's Darrell Harding and Aliquippa's Chico Williams. Boyd has 5,546 career yards and needs 37 to move past Julian Durden of Montour into sixth place.
“Phenomenal,” Berlin Brothersvalley coach Doug Paul said. “He is the best I have ever coached against, I will say that right now and I coached (current Arizona Cardinals running back) LaRod Stephens-Howling in an all-star game.”
Paul was amazed with what he saw out of Clairton.
“We don't see that kind of athleticism in this conference (District 5),” Paul said.
The Mountaineers played keepaway, and Clairton led only 6-0 after one quarter. The Bears ran one play, while Berlin Brothersvalley ran 14.
“We were moving the ball, but we weren't able to finish and you have to be able to finish,” Paul said.
Boyd's interception on the first play of the second quarter led to an Armani Ford-to-Webb 47-yard pass play down to the 1. The next play, Boyd made it 14-0.
Two more Boyd second-quarter touchdowns gave the Bears a 26-0 halftime lead and the rout was on.
“It is state playoff time now, and our goal is like it always is — go 3-0 in our third season,” Nola said. “That is what it is and our guys know that.”
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org