Bishop Canevin pulls away from Clairton, advances to Class A semifinals

Friday, November 11, 2022 | 11:55 PM

Bishop Canevin outlasted Clairton on Friday night at rain-soaked Dormont Stadium. The Crusaders battled the remnants of Hurricane Nicole en route to beating the Bears, 29-6, clinching a spot in the WPIAL Class A semifinals.

“I’ve never coached in a game like this,” coach Richard Johnson said. “It was just wild. I’m happy we were able to come out with a win.”

After an onside kick recovery to start the game, the Crusaders struck first with a 50-yard touchdown run by Marquis Carter. The scoring run, which took play on the game’s first play from scrimmage, was the only score of the first half.

After an early third quarter touchdown from Clairton quarterback Capone Jones, the Crusaders responded with 22 unanswered points. A turning point in the game was a 45-yard punt return for Bishop Canevin’s Xavier Nelson, which helped to put the game away in the fourth quarter.

“Any time you give up special teams touchdowns, it’s hard to beat a team,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said. “When you give up those types of big plays, it’s hard to win.”

Wade was proud of his team’s effort in the game and was complimentary of the 11-1 Crusaders.

“Nobody has played this team this hard expect Steelton (Highspire),” Wade said. “My hat is off to Bishop Canevin. Coach Rich is a great coach and a great guy. I hope they can go all the way and win it.”

In addition to Nelson’s punt return, Bishop Canevin quarterback Jason Cross also had a big second half. He ran for a 10-yard touchdown in the third quarter then threw a late-game touchdown pass to Nelson.

“We can win in different ways,” Johnson said. “Today it wasn’t pretty, but we were able to come together. We were able to pull this one out.”

The loss ended the season for the Bears, who finish with a 6-6 record. Wade was proud of his team’s effort against Bishop Canevin and throughout the year.

“We had a great season,” he said. “We played some very good teams. We had probably the hardest schedule in Class A this year.”

He also remained optimistic for the future.

“We have a young team,” Wade said. “I had three freshmen and three sophomores starting. The future is always bright at Clairton. We’re always in the mix.”

Bishop Canevin will play South Side next week with a spot in the WPIAL championship game on the line.

“We have to stop the run,” Johnson said. “When it starts getting cold, people want to run the ball more. We have to stick together and be unselfish.”

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