Clairton and Farrell prepare for another high-profile matchup in PIAA semis

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019 | 3:14 PM


Clairton and Farrell have a storied history in the PIAA Class A football playoffs.

But for their past four meetings, the Bears have gotten the better of the District 10 powerhouse that has made five straight PIAA semifinal appearances.

On Friday, the No. 1 ranked Bears will look to make it five in a row and knock off the defending PIAA champions to book their ticket to Hershey next week, but it should be an interesting one.

“It’s a football game. They are the defending state champs. They do have the trophy,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said. “Even though we’re ranked No. 1 in the state, we gotta prove it, just like they have to go prove it. So it should make for a good matchup.”

Heading into Friday night’s contest at North Allegheny, both teams have won their past 11 games. Clairton (11-2) is coming off its first WPIAL championship since 2016 and the Steelers (12-2) are coming off a PIAA first-round shutout victory over District 9 champion Coudersport, which was its ninth shutout of the season.

Two heavyweights will meet on the field, but only one will come out victorious. So what will it come down to for two teams in search of a state title?

“We just need to win all phases of the game. It’s pretty much what we try to win every game,” Wade said. “It kinda doesn’t change. Limit the big plays, make the big plays, control the offensive and defensive lines and you usually come out on top.”

“If we can limit the penalties and not turn the ball over, I think we’ll be fine,” Farrell coach Anthony Pegues said.

The Steelers will enter the game with a running game that has been unmatched this season. Sophomore running back Anthony Stallworth is having a breakout season with 1,552 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 146 carries. Junior back Jaden Harrison has added to that production with 976 yards and 13 touchdowns on 77 carries.

Farrell quarterback Raymond Ravey Jr. has also been crucial to his team’s success this season. He’s thrown for 854 yards and 13 touchdowns, while also adding 529 yards on the ground with seven touchdowns.

The Steelers present threats all over the field, but Wade believes no matter what opponents throw at his team, they’ll be ready for it.

“We played against all different types of offenses this year — double-wing, wing-T, spread teams, full-house backfields, and the best running back in single-A — so we have kind of seen it all,” Wade said. “We’re going to break down the film, see what they like to do, evaluate them and hopefully come up with a way to exploit their weaknesses.”

On the opposite sideline, the Bears have a few weapons of their own.

Quarterback Brendan Parson has thrown for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns in his senior season and his favorite target, Kenlein Ogletree, has caught 39 passes for 754 yards and 12 touchdowns.

On the ground, a combination of Parsons (999 yards), Isaiah Berry (989 yards) and Dontae Sanders (524 yards) gives Pegues and the Steelers a lot to prepare for. But the Steelers just want to focus on the little things heading into Friday.

“Playing against a team like Clairton we know all too well, very familiar with them,” Pegues said. “We just want to gameplan for … the little things. Not hurting ourselves, limiting turnovers and penalties, just the little things. That’s the gameplan for us, nothing special, nothing new. Just be us.”

The teams will kick off at 7:00 p.m. Friday for a chance to play the winner of District 6 champion Bishop Guilfoyle and District 2 champion Lackawanna Trail on Thursday, Dec. 5 at Hersheypark Stadium.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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