Been there, done that…’bout dat! The WPIAL Champion Clairton Bears wore down the District 9 Champion Port Allegany Gators at a rainy and foggy Deer Lakes High School to post their 62nd straight victory, a 44-12 win that send the Bears to Hershey for a shot a 4th consecutive PIAA Class A championship.
It might not have as easy as it looked for Clairton, especially in the first half.
Neither team would score on their first four possessions even though both were handed great opportunities. Tyler Boyd intercepted Gators quarterback Matt Bodamer’s first pass attempt of the game at the Port Allegany 40-yard line, but the Bears turned the ball over on downs.
After a scoreless first quarter, Boyd went back to punt for Clairton and when he fielded a low snap; his knee was ruled down at the Bears 27-yard-line giving Port Allegany a great opportunity. But the Clairton defense was up to the task forcing the Gators to turn the ball over on downs.
On the ensuing drive, Clairton scored the game’s first points. Boyd would get the touchdown on a 16-yard run only after having a 62-yards screen pass for a TD negated by a penalty.
Terrish Webb, who had an outstanding game for Clairton caught a big 43-yard pass from Armani Ford on the drive which Boyd capped off with his 48th touchdown of the season and the ensuing 2-point conversion run with 5:50 left in the second quarter to make the score 8-0.
Port Allegany’s answer was quick and impressive, a 2-play 65-yard drive for a score. On the first play, Bodamer hit wide receiver Nick Conway for an impressive 59-yard catch and run to the Clairton 6-yard line. On the second play, running back Trent Neal barreled into the end-zone for the touchdown. Webb tackled Tyce Miller on the two-point conversion try, but the Gators got on the board and trailed by two points at 8-6.
The Bears answered back 1:28 before the half as the Killer T’s hooked up on a 4th and goal play from the 3-yard line. Boyd took the direct snapped, rolled right and found Webb in the front of the end zone for the touchdown. Boyd ran in the point after and Clairton led 16-6 at the half.
As much as the first half was a struggle, the second half was all Clairton and typical Bears fashion as they scored on all four of their second half possessions.
1:05 into the 3rd quarter, Boyd struck again with an amazing 33-yard jaunt to the end zone. Boyd started right and broke a tackle, danced around two others and then cut back to the left at the 25-yard line. He outraced three defenders and dove towards the goal line, barely touching the near pylon for his 116th career touchdown. Ford hit Brandon Murphy with the two-point conversion pass and Clairton took a 24-6 lead.
The Bears would make it 31-6 on their next possession, again on a great individual effort, this time from Webb. Webb caught a slant pass from Ford near midfield and outraced the Gators secondary to the far side of the field. Webb dove for the end zone and barely touched the far pylon for a 61-yard TD reception.
Murphy upped the score to 37-6 with a 15-yard TD run just :07 into the fourth quarter and Vinny Moody capped of the Clairton scoring by bulling into the end zone from 2-yards out to make the score 44-6 Clairton and to put the mercy rule in effect.
Port Allegany would have one last hurrah in a great 2012 season and the Gators stars provided the game’s final score, as Bodamer found Conway in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard TD pass with :47 left in the game.
Bodamer, who already owned the state career record for passing yards, set a single season state record in the game and tied another in the loss. The first 10,000-yard passer in Pennsylvania history finished his 4-year career with 10,945-yards. He also set the single season mark of 3,953-yards after his 195-yard performance against Clairton. The touchdown pass to Conway was his 52nd of the seasons, which tied South Fayette’s Christian Brumbaugh for the single-season state record. Conway’s TD grab was his 24th, which is the highest single season touchdown reception total in the history of District 9.
Ford, the senior quarterback for Clairton, continued his impressive play, completing 8-of-12 passes for 195-yards and the touchdown to Webb, who finished with 5 catches for 132-yards and two scores. Boyd was held under 100-yards rushing but ran for two scores, threw a TD pass and added 2 two-point conversions in the win. The Bears rushed for 286-yards in the game while holding Port Allegany to -10 yards on the ground.
The Gators season ends at (13-1). Clairton is now (15-0) and will take on the District 2 Champion Dunmore Bucks in the title game next Friday afternoon in Hershey. Dunmore improved to (14-1) with a 40-19 win over the Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils.
Odds & Ends
* The 13 wins are the most in school history for Port Allegany, topping last season record of 12. The Gators were trying to become only the second District 9 team to reach the state finals. Smethport made the championship game in 1992 but lost to the Scotland school 24-7.
* Boyd now has 5,639 career rushing yards, moving past Montour’s Julien Durden into 6th place on the all-time WPIAL list. Boyd is 110-yards shy of McGuffey’s Jason Barr who finished with 5,749-yards. Boyd’s 116 career touchdowns are second all-time in Pennsylvania history. Bryan Bellas of Bishop O’Reilly High School in Wilkes-Barre scored 123 touchdowns from 1995-98.
* Armani Ford has now thrown for over 100-yards in 6-of his last-7 games. Terrish Webb has caught a TD pass in 4-straight games and 6-of his last-7 contests.
* The game was the 1,000th game in Clairton football history. The Bears have an all-time record of (512-347-41).
* Clairton has outscored its opponents 2,797-296 during the 62-game winning streak.
Clairton 44 – Port Allegany 12
Port Allegany : 0 – 6 – 0 – 6 = 12
Clairton : 0 – 16 – 15 – 13 = 44
Clairton: Tyler Boyd 16-Yard Run (Boyd Run)
Port Allegany: Trent Neal 6-Yard Run (Pass Failed)
Clairton: Terrish Webb 3-Yard Pass from Boyd (Boyd Run)
Clairton: Boyd 33- Yard Run (Brandon Murphy Pass from Armani Ford)
Clairton: Webb 61-Yard Pass from Ford (Byron Clifford Kick)
Clairton: Murphy 15-Yard Run (Kick Failed)
Clairton: Vinny Moody 2-Yard Run (Clifford Kick)
Port Allegany: Nick Conway 10-Yard Pass from Matt Bodamer (Pass Failed)