Black Friday turned into an historic Friday for the Clairton Bears. Not only did they defend their WPIAL Class A title, their fifth straight, but broke the all-time state record with their 60th win in a row. And they did it in convincing fashion, with a 58-21 win over the Sto-Rox Vikings at Heinz Field.
With the win, the Bears stand all by themselves in Pennsylvania history, eclipsing Central Bucks West record of 59 wins in a row set back from 1997-2000. Clairton’s last loss came in the 2009 season opener and the Bears currently hold the longest win streak in the country.
(Above Photo: Tyler Boyd scores on 14-yard run that put Bears up 35-13 in 3rd qtr)
Clairton would get the scoring started on their first offensive drive of the game. After converting on a fourth down past midfield, QB Armani Ford hit his senior wide receiver, Titus Howard for a 35-yard touchdown pass along the right sideline. Clairton took the early 6-0 lead after a failed two-point conversion.
The Vikings would get on the board thanks to a Clairton miscue. The Bears’ senior standout, Tyler Boyd, was set up to punt deep in his own territory, but the snap was low and Boyd could not handle it right away. When he did pick up the ball, he opted to run instead of kick on the run. He was stopped at his own 23. From there, Sto-Rox took 53 seconds to get the ball in the endzone. Lenny Williams hit Elisha Bonner on an 18-yard TD pass. Bonner also kicked the extra point to give Sto-Rox 7-6 lead with about a minute and a half left in the 1st quarter.
That was the only time Sto-Rox would lead in the game, as Clairton would turn on the jets from there. With 7:25 left in the 2nd quarter, Ford found Terrish Webb on a 22-yard touchdown pass on a jump ball where Webb beat Sto-Rox’s Ben Shackelford and put up six. The two-point conversion made it 14-7.
But Clairton was just warming up, as Boyd, took a double reverse, wound up and found Santeaun Sims all by himself downfield for a 74 yard TD pass. After a two-point conversion, the Bears would lead 22-7.
Sto-Rox got on the board right before the half after a Clairton pass interference call on 4th down. A few plays later, the Vikings Brendan Blair would hit paydirt to cut the deficit to 22-13 at halftime after the missed extra point.
In the 2nd half, Clairton looked like they were from another world. They would outscore the Vikings in the third quarter 28-8. The Bears took the ball 73 yards in 2 and a half minutes on their first drive of the half. After a couple nice runs from Boyd, Ford would hit Webb for their second hook up of the day to make it 28-13. The two-point conversion was no good.
The Vikings would go for it on 4th down in their own territory on their next drive, and Clairton made them pay as Dryan Davenport intercepted Williams and returned the ball to the Sto-Rox 14. On the next play, Tyler Boyd scored on a 14 yd TD run. An extra point would put the Bears up 35-13.
Sto-Rox would work the ball up to midfield on their next drive when Williams took over and ran 52 yards for a Vikings TD to cut the deficit to 14 after a two-point conversion, but that was as close as the Vikings would get.
On Clairton’s next play from scrimmage, Tyler Boyd showed why he is one of the best in the WPIAL, gliding downfield for a 77-yard touchdown. The Bears weren’t done, adding two more touchdowns, one on a 26-yard run from Bryon Clifford near the end of the 3rd quarter, and another on a Ford TD run from one yard out with 3:19 left in the 4th quarter. Simply put, it was Clairton’s day.
Tyler Boyd is being recruited by a number of Division I colleges and for good reason. He hit another gear in Friday’s title game, carrying the ball 16 times for 144 yards and also throwing the ball for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Bears quarterback Armani Ford had a very nice outing as well, going 9 for 16 for 180 yards for three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground.
Sto-Rox’s QB Lenny Williams struggled to find time to throw with that Clairton defense barreling down on him. The Vikings dual threat quarterback finished 7 of 22 for 106 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 103 yards and a touchdown as Sto-Rox falls for the second consecutive year the Class A title game.
The Clairton Bears, under head coach Tom Nola, who has now won his sixth WPIAL title in 11 seasons as head coach, will now head to the PIAA state playoffs and in hopes of defending their state crown. The Bears get the winner of the District 5 championship game between North Star and Berlin Brothersvalley next week at a site and time to be determined.
Clairton Bears 6 – 16 – 28 – 8 = 58
Sto-Rox Vikings 7 – 6 – 8 – 0 = 21
Clar: Titus Howard 35 pass from Armani Ford(pass failed) 7:27
S-Rox: Elisha Bonner 18 pass from Lenny Williams(Bonner kick) 1:45
Clar: Terrish Webb 22 pass from Ford(Tyler Boyd pass from Ford) 7:25
Clar: Santeaun Sims 74 pass from Boyd(Boyd pass from Ford) 4:05
S-Rox: Brendan Blair 8 run(kick failed) :42
Clar: Webb 24 pass from Ford(pass failed) 9:25
Clar: Boyd 14 run(Bryon Clifford kick) 7:17
S-Rox: Williams 52 run(Ben Shackelford pass from Williams) 4:29
Clar: Boyd 77 run(Robert Boatright pass from Ford) 4:09
Clar: Clifford 26 run(Clifford kick) 1:08
Clar: Ford 1 run(Brandon Murphy run) 3:19