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Clairton grounds out 4th state title

Written by: on Friday, December 14th, 2012

Make it four straight for Clairton Area High School.  The Bears defeated Dunmore 20-0 to extend their winning streak to 63 games, and they did it in a very unfamiliar way.  “We did something we haven’t done all year, we controlled the line and had long time consuming drives” said Clairton coach Tom Nola.  “Those Dunmore guys were big and we knew if we were going to win the game we had to beat them up front.”  Beat them they did.  Clairton held Dunmore to 115 yards on the day while racking up 432 yards of their own. The Bears dominated in time of possession holding the ball for over 30 minutes.  Dunmore head coach Jack Henzes, when asked how you have to beat Clairton, said “you have to have speed. They have some talented athletes. Tyler Boyd is an outstanding player but they have others.  They just make you miss tackles, they got a very good football team. A VERY good football team. Hats off to them.”

Dunmore won the opening coin toss and elected to go on defense first.  The plan almost worked.  On the first play of the game Bear quarterback Armani Ford hit Tyler Boyd on the sideline, but instead of turning up field he headed back towards the middle of the field behind the line where he was swarmed by the Dunmore defense and dropped for a 10 yard loss. A penalty on the play made it first and 33 from the Bears 12 yard line.  But Clairton didn’t panic.  A quick pass from Ford to Boyd for 11 yards, Terrish Webb caught another for 10 yards then one more to Webb and the Bears had a first down.  Clairton Fullback Brandon Murphy ran for 22 yards giving the bears a first and goal at the five.  Boyd finished the drive on a 5 yard touchdown jaunt and Clairton led 6-0 with just 3:40 left in the first quarter.  “I don’t know what happened there, he was supposed to just turn up and go after the catch” said Nola.

Dunmore looked like they were going to match that drive.  Behind some power running by Daiqwon Buckley and Austin Seamon the Bucks drove from their 25 to the Clairton 42 but a motion penalty on third and 2 backed them up. Buckley only managed 2 yards on the next play and Dunmore was forced to punt. It would be the last meaningful drive Dunmore had until midway in the fourth quarter.

Following a Dunmore punt that pinned Clairton at their own one yard line, the Bears methodically drove 97 yards eating up over 7 minutes of time but on fourth down from the Bucks 2 yard line Boyd overthrew Webb in the endzone.

The Bears held Dunmore on three plays and took over at the 45 yard line with 2 minutes remaining in the half.  Ford maneuvered his offense with precision passing, first threading a pass through five Dunmore defenders to Webb (7 receptions for 100 yards and 1 touchdown)  for 15 yards. Then a 24 yard pass to Boyd. He finished the drive with a 21 yard touchdown pass to Webb.  Boyd then hit Webb for the 2 point conversion giving Clairton a 14-0 lead with just 40 seconds left in the half.

Clairton held Dunmore on the first possession of the second half and took over at their own ten following a 56 yard punt by Dunmore.  The Bears again ground out another long time consuming drive, going 76 yards to the Dunmore 14 but Ford was sacked for a 10 yard loss.  “That’s usually what they do. We watched film. We usually get big plays with Tyler and Terrish and the rest of our offense” coach Nola quipped.   “But we did it, and it shows we do have a pretty good team”.  “I put that all on our line, they came into this game more prepared than they ever were. Those guys remind us of the big boys from Riverside so we knew we just had to work hard” said Boyd of his line.

Dunmore gave it one more shot going into the fourth quarter. Bucks quarterback Brandon Kujawski hit John Rinaldi for an 11 yard gain giving Dunmore a first down for the first time since midway in the first quarter.  The then hit Josh Zilla for a 21 yard gain and Dunmore was in business with the ball at the Clairton 41 but the Bucks missed a big scoring opportunity when Kujawski just missed a wide open Mike Kolcharno heading into the endzone.  Jujuan Bray would then sack Kujawski on fourth down with 8 minutes left in the game, virtually ending any hope Dunmore had for a comeback.

Ford took the remainder of the game in his own hands, first running for 15 yards, then hitting Boyd on the sideline at the Bucks 29. Boyd made a great leaping catch landing with one foot in bounds. “Man, Armani just put that one up and I went after it. He’s a great teammate and when I went up for it I was just like I wanna make this catch” said Boyd.  One play later Ford went 29 yards to cap the scoring with 4:06 remaining.

“This ones a little bit more special, it continues the winning streak, but this is a really special group of seniors ” said Coach Nola of the win.

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