Clairton crushes Sto-Rox for 9th WPIAL football championship
Written by: Josh Funk on Saturday, November 26th, 2011
PITTSBURGH – Clairton’s junior star Tyler Boyd told the gathering of reporters in the Heinz Field media compound that Clairton was a close team.
“We call each others ‘bros’ – we’re a family, we’re close,” Boyd said.
If Clairton is like a family, then it treated unbeaten Sto-Rox like the ugly step-sister.
Clairton (13-0) raced to 24 second quarter points and forced five Sto-Rox (12-1) turnovers to win its ninth WPIAL football championship, 42-6, via a mercy rule Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.
With the victory, the four-time defending WPIAL champion Bears will face District 5 champion North Star next weekend in a PIAA Class A quarterfinal game at a site and time to be determined.
The 42 points scored by Clairton were the most in the Class A championship game since 1994, when a dominant Western Beaver team, which eventually reached the PIAA finals, hung 42 points on Riverview in a shutout victory. The most points Clairton had previously scored in a WPIAL championship game, speaking in terms of 1985 to present, was 27, in 1989, against Laurel.
“The coaching staff and those people up in the stands – we couldn’t be happier and more proud of what these kids have done,” said Clairton head coach Tom Nola. “They (Sto-Rox) are a very good team, but they made too many mistakes. And we’re built to take advantage of that.”
Sto-Rox, meanwhile, was making its first WPIAL finals appearance since 2003, a 30-13 loss to Springdale.
“It was a combination of playing a very good team and a lot of turnovers and penalties, which were killers,” said Viking head coach Ron Butschle. “We’re a very good team, but they’re very fast athletically.”
Both teams battled to a scoreless tie through one quarter, but that all changed in the second 12 minutes. Boyd personally saw to that.
No. 23 broke the scoreless tie just 19 seconds into the second quarter on a 55-yard run and then added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 Bear lead. Boyd added a 6-yard run a little more than eight minutes of game clock later and another two-point conversion to boost the advantage to 16-0.
“It gets more and more awesome (with each win),” Boyd said. “We play hard and dominate.
“I give all the credit to my line,” Boyd continued, speaking of his first touchdown run.
Clairton’s third touchdown, a 10-yard pass from Capri Thompson to Terrish Webb, came out of an antiquated formation – the straight T – and ballooned the advantage to 24-0.
“We’ve run that before,” Nola said of the straight-T formation.
Clairton added three more second half touchdowns – Boyd rolled for a 47-yard run, Devante Gardlock scored from 20 yards out and Byron Clifford took his only rush attempt 14 yards to the house to make it 42-6 and invoke the mercy rule and a running clock with 4:08 left in the game.
While the orange and black were rolling offensively, they were just as dominant on the opposite side of the ball. Coach Wayne Wade’s unit was flying all over the field throughout the course of the game, forcing Sto-Rox sophomore field general Lenny Williams into four interceptions. Terrish Webb (two INTs), Boyd and Titus Howard all got involved with the picks.
The Vikings’ ground attack was limited to a microscopic minus-28 yards on 22 carries and, in 43 total offensive plays, the green and white managed just 99 total yards.
“Last year, we lost a lot of good football players off of last year’s team and there were people who were saying our defense would be down this year,” Wade said. “But I think we put that to bed over the summer (at our 7-on-7 in Dallas). If we continue to win and get shutouts, this will go down as one of the best defenses in Clairton history.”
“We made it go our way (defensively),” Nola added. “It didn’t just bounce our way….we forced it. We pressure our opponents a lot.”
Clairton didn’t get the shutout this day because Williams (12-of-20, 127 yards) hooked up with Marzett Geter on a 54-yard touchdown pass with 57 seconds left in the second quarter. It was Geter’s 11th touchdown reception of the season.
Boyd led all rushers with 141 yards on 12 carries. His 22 points scored this day give him a whopping 262 points scored on the season. Gardlock ran for 20 yards on three carries and Reuben Kelly added 34 yards on two totes.
Clairton’s latest WPIAL championship triumph is its sixth since 1989 and fifth in the last six years. Clairton also won a trio of WPIAL titles while a class AAA school between the 1930s to 1950s.
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