Clairton conquers Sto-Rox to win 14th WPIAL championship
Saturday, November 16, 2019 | 2:24 PM
It’s a good bet, in recent years, that if Clairton reaches the WPIAL championship game, it’s going to win.
The Bears won their 10th consecutive championship game by rolling over Sto-Rox, 41-19, on Saturday in the Class A game at Heinz Field.
It’s the 14th WPIAL championship for Clairton, second-most in district history. Aliquippa has won 17.
Playing at Heinz Field has been kind to Clairton. The last time the Bears lost a championship game was in 2004 to Rochester, 15-14. The Bears are 9-1 at Heinz Field. They also defeated Jeannette at Robert Morris in 2016.
Clairton (11-2) will get a week off and begin the PIAA playoffs on Nov. 29 or 30 against the winner of the Farrell-Coudersport game, which will be played Nov. 22 or 23.
Wide receiver Kenlein Ogletree caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Brendan Parsons, and Dontae Sanders returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown as Clairton built a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. The Bears, thanks to a 35-yard touchdown run by Sanders, led 28-7 at halftime.
“It’s been a great season, but we still have some work to do,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said. “The first drive was extremely important.
“I didn’t think they’d kick off to us when they won the toss. With the offense they have, I thought they’d want to try to take it in first. That was huge.”
Clairton took the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards for the score as Parsons, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 201 yards, hit Ogletree for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Sto-Rox got into scoring position on its initial possession when quarterback Eric Wilson connected for 43 yards to Jaidon Berry to the Clairton 19. But the Bears defense didn’t allow another yard and forced a punt after pushing Sto-Rox backwards.
Even though Clairton didn’t score on its next possession after driving to the Sto-Rox 12, it capitalized on good field position after a poor punt.
On the second play of the second quarter, Parsons and Ogletree connected on a 17-yard scoring strike.
A little later, Sanders picked off a Sto-Rox screen and raced 69 yards for a score.
“They were able to jump on us early and it took away some of the things in the run game,” Sto-Rox coach LaRoi Johnson said. “Then we were playing catch up. It was a tough game.”
Sto-Rox was able to crack the scoreboard later in the second quarter when quarterback Eric Wilson, who surpassed the 8,000 career yardage mark, connected on a 21-yard scoring strike to Berry.
The Vikings hurt themselves with numerous encroachment and false-start penalties that slowed their momentum.
“I have to admit, I was nervous,” Sto-Rox linemen Myeir Woodard said. “I could feel it in my stomach.”
But Clairton responded when, on fourth-and-1, Sanders, after stumbling a little in the backfield, raced 35 yards for a touchdown.
“We faced a lot of adversity early in the season,” Wade said. “It prepared for this occasion and we responded well.”
In the third quarter, Sto-Rox cut the lead Clairton lead to 28-13 when Wilson and Amhad Pack turned a bubble pass into a 70-yard touchdown.
But Clairton quickly responded when Parsons hit Wayne Wade III on a 42-yard touchdown pass to make it 34-13. Parsons hit Ogletree on a 69-yard scoring strike to make it 41-13 in the fourth quarter.
Ogletree, who should have been awarded an interception when he was mistakenly ruled out of bounds after making an apparent one-hand grab in the end zone, had three catches for 108 yards, all touchdowns.
“If you watch Kenlein on the field, he thinks every pass play should go through him,” Coach Wade said. “When a play doesn’t go through him, he’s upset.”
Parsons said he and Ogletree have a long history.
“We came up through little league together,” Parsons said, “and it continued through high school. I trust that any time I throw the ball towards him, he’s coming down with the ball.”
Ogletree said: “I’m going to catch it if Brandon puts it up to me.”
Wilson, who completed 12 of 41 passes for 266 yards and three interceptions, connected with Pack for a 13-yard touchdown late in the game. Pack had six catches for 152 yards.
“The one thing I remember about this season is the brotherhood we developed,” Wilson said. “It’s a memorable season, and I was part of it. For my career, I feel I had a good one and thank God for all the talent around me that helped me be successful.”
And with only four seniors on the roster, Clairton should be the early favorite in Class A in 2020.
Check out the archived broadcast of this game on the TribLive High School Sports Network.
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .