Clairton Slips By Farrell, 24-21, in Western FinalWritten by: William Albright on Saturday, December 6th, 2008
Western PA Writer
WEXFORD — One win short of playing for the state championship.
That is where the Farrell football season ended Friday night at Newman Stadium as the Steelers fell to the Clairton Bears, 24-21, in a PIAA Class A semifinal matchup.
With a win and a trip to Hershey next week for the state championship in their hands while holding a 21-18 lead with time running out, the Steelers saw all hopes of playing in the Big Show slip through their fingers in the final 67 seconds of the game.
Any defeat is tough to take, but when it happens as it did Friday night to the Steelers, it makes it that much more difficult to deal with.
Taking over on their own 25, Clairton (15-0) needed only 24 seconds to cover the distance.
Quarterback Troy Webb hit Kevin Weatherspoon for 16 yards and a first down, then found Lance wide open behing the Steeler secondary for a 53-yard connection to the Farrell 6.
With the first-and-goal, Deontae Howard did the honors as he ripped up the middle for the final six yards to score what would be the winning touchdown.
The conversion attempt was no good, but with only 43 seconds left, the Steelers couldn’t get anything going and they saw their outstanding season come to a screeching halt.
“It is frustrating and I really feel bad for our seniors,” said Farrell coach Jarrett Samuels. “I am so proud of these guys to come back from everything they had been through and any way you look at it, this was a great game. All I asked of our guys in the pre-game was to leave it all on the field and they did just that.”
Although his team came out on the short end of the final score, Samuels had a lot of respect for the Bears.
“That is a good team over there,” said Samuels. “That experience they went through (last year) helped them out, while for us on the other hand, we have a young team and we’ll work hard and be back. It is a real tough loss for us, but out guys don’t have any reason to hang their heads.”
After the two teams exchanged four punts to begin the game, Farrell found themselves with their backs to the wall at their own 4-yard line.
Unable to pick up the first down, the Steelers (12-3) punted to the Bears and Kevin Weatherspoon picked up the kick at the Farrell 35 and sprinted down the left sideline for the score. The PAT failed, but the Bears held a 6-0 lead.
Trailing for one of few times in the season, the Steelers took the ensuing kickoff on their own 38.
Sparked by a 53-yard run by Terrrell Jackson, the Steelers only took five plays to score, Malcom Hailstock bulling in from one yard out. Ramon West’s PAT made it 7-6 Farrell one minute into the second period.
Again the two teams traded punts following the Hailstock score, and the Bears jumped back on top as they marched 50 yards on seven plays.
Big plays in the march were a 37-yard pass connection from quarterback Troy Webb to wideout Weatherspoon.
On the seventh play of the drive, Deontae Howard broke three tackles while reversing his field twice as the shifty running back covered the final 27 yards for the score. The conversion attempt failed, but the Bears regained the lead as they took a 12-7 advantage to the locker room at halftime.
Down by five, the Steelers wasted two golden opportunities on their first two possessions of the second half.
After holding the Bears at the Clairton 40, Farrell drove to the Clairton 17 where the drive ran out of gas. Two plays after the stop, Robert Trudo pounced on a Clairton fumble at the Bear 12.
However, with their backs to the wall, the Bear defense rose to the occasion and held the Steelers out of the end zone.
Proving that the third time can be a charm, the Steelers regained the lead at 14-12.
Taking over on their 49, the Steelers put on a textbook drive of 51 yards, the march culminated by an 18-yard run by Terrell Jackson for the score. West’s point made it 14-12 Farrell.
But here come the Bears.
Taking the ensuing kickoff at their own 32, Clairton only took five plays to go back on top, Webb calling his own number for the final 17 yards and the score. The PAT was no good, but the Bears had gone back on top for the final as they held off the Steelers on their final possession.
Down, but not out, the Steelers went on top again when they marched 70 yards 10 plays, Odem hitting Kevin Brodie for 18 yards and the score with 1:07 left on the clock before the Bears came up with the final second heroics to pull out the win.
The Steelers had a lot of success running the ball as they racked up 239 yards rushing to go along with 68 yards through the air for a total offense of 307.
“We came in wanting to go right at them, you know, running north and south,” said Samuels. “We had a couple of big plays in the first half, but in the second half, we got things going.”
While the Steelers used more of a ball-control offense to put their points on the board, the Bears, as expected, relied on the big plays.
Most instrumental for Clairton was Weatherspoon who caught six passes for 107 yards while also scoring the game’s first
touchdown on a punt return.
“We just had no answer for Weatherspoon,” noted Samuels. “He is an outstanding athlete and their is no other way to explain it. It was nobody’s fault, it was a team effort and we are going to have to deal with it.”
Farrell 0 7 0 14 — 21
Clairton 6 6 0 12 — 24
C — Kevin Weatherspoon 35 punt return. (rush failed)(:55 first
F — Malcolm Hailstock 1 run (Ramon West kick) (10:52 second
C — Deontae Howard, 27 run. (pass failed). (2:38 second quarter)(7-12)
F — Terrell Jackson 18 run (West kick)(7:55 fourth quarter)(14-12)
C — Troy Webb 17 run (rush failed)(5:43 fourth quarter)(14-18)
F — Kevin Brodie 18 pass from Odem (West kick)(1:07 fourth
C — Howard 6 run (kick failed)(:43 fourth quarter)(21-24)
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