Schoolboy pick of the week: Clairton
Folks in Monessen have been saying that if the Greyhounds don't beat Clairton this year, they never will.
That's because the 2013 Greyhounds are considered by many to be the best team the school has had in recent years.
And that point is hard to argue with.
The only problem is, as veteran high school sports observer Lawrence “Deuce” Skurcenski would say, “The Bears ain't too shabby,” either.
Clairton has only won 66 straight games without a loss. That's all.
The truth is, the talent level between the two teams is very similar, although Clairton's talent is younger than Monessen's.
Both teams have superior talent in the skill positions on offense.
And before last week's 49-33 debacle against Fort Cherry, there was strong sentiment that the Greyhounds have the talent on defense to slow down the Clairton scoring machine.
Maybe the talent of the two teams is similar, but there are other intangibles that help determine a winner and a loser when two titans collide.
One is confidence, edge. Real swagger.
That is Clairton when the Bears play everybody.
That is Monessen when the Greyhounds everybody ... except Clairton.
Looking back at the most recent Monessen-Clairton matchups, all were lopsided scores in the Bears' favor even though Clairton did not always have such a large advantage in talent over Monessen.
Since 2008, the teams have met four times and Clairton has outscored Monessen, 189-7.
Some teams just have another team's number.
The difference is the Bears always know they will win, and when these two teams meet, the Greyhounds seem to struggle at the first sign of adversity.
Monessen coach Andy Pacak hit the nail on the head earlier this week when he said the team that finally ends Clairton's amazing nation's best winning streak will be a team that actually believes deep inside it will win.
My dad used to tell me, “Until you've done it, you haven't done it.” Who am I to argue with my dad?
The pick: Clairton, 26-12.
Best of the rest
• BV Area at Elizabeth Forward. The Leps have lost two straight and may not have ability to answer the kind of firepower the Warriors have. Pick: EF, 28-24.
• Uniontown at Ringgold. Something tells me the Rams are going to make a move up in the Big Nine. Pick: Ringgold, 41-20.
• Charleroi at Mt. Pleasant. If there is one team that could use a break, it is Charleroi. But this isn't the week. Pick: Mt. Pleasant, 28-0.
• Yough at Washington. The Cougars are closing the gap, as evidenced by last week's close loss to Jeannette. But even without Shai McKenzie, the Prexies are still potent. Pick: Washington, 28-20.
• West Greene at Frazier. Commodores won't be caught looking ahead to Jefferson-Morgan next week. Pick: Frazier, 41-7.
• Bentworth at Beth-Center. If there is another team that could use a break, it is Bentworth. Again, not this week. Pick: Beth-Center, 42-6.
Last week: 6-1. Season record: 20-3.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.