Clairton rallies to claim 2nd straight Class 2A title

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by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier

At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Desimon Green is a large human being.

But his game time presence for Clairton over the course of the past football season—according to its coach, Tim Nola, has been even larger at times.

Ironically, it was not a one-man show when Clairton (16-0) climbed back from being down 24 points in the first half and rallying to claim their second consecutive Class AA PIAA football championship, 36-30, at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.

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SOPHOMORE SENSATION—Clairton’s Tyler Boyd, center, dives into the end zone for a touchdown past Riverside’s Nick Rossi, left, and Kyle Walsh, right, during the first half of the Class A Championship football game at the PIAA High School Football Championships in Hershey, Pa., Dec. 17. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Sure, he scored on a 2-yard score that began a string of 36-unanswered points from his Bears—one of the most dramatic comebacks in the history of the PIAA championships.

And yes, he recorded the 64th sack of his career, from the defensive end position, in what would be his last, and perhaps, most satisfying game.

But according to Nola, it was their ability to play as a team and not let their perfect season come to a screeching halt.

“Once we began this playoff run, for us, it was do-or-die,” Nola said. “We knew that we had to do it together—as a team. And that’s exactly what we did.”

Clairton sophomore running back Tyler Boyd was on the receiving end of two touchdown passes of 37 and 82 yards from Green. He also ran in and caught two-point conversions to help his team to its 31st consecutive victory.

Also, senior wide receiver Josh Page, who is getting Division I consideration, caught a 19-yard pass from Capri Thompson with 0:33 left in the second quarter.

“The athletes that we have are outstanding,” Nola added. “They played a heck of a game to put an exclamation point on a great season for us.”

In the glow of this record-setting season for Clairton, Green also seems excited about his future. After learning that Pitt’s head coach, Dave Wannstedt had resigned recently, he decided to look into other options for his upcoming college football career.  He’d committed to play for the Panthers, prior to this year.

He has several official visits that are scheduled over the month of January including: Cincinnati on the 7th, Michigan State on the 16th, Illinois on the 21st, and Texas Tech on the 28th.

“I’m really excited about some things that I’ll be doing in the upcoming month,” Green said. Michigan State and Cincinnati have me listed as an athlete, meaning that I can play at tight end, linebacker, quarterback—pretty much anywhere. I honestly just want to play and help them win. I’m not picky.”

As one of the elite players in the area, he has been named to All-star teams by local newspapers and has accepted an invitation to represent Pennsylvania in the Chesapeake Bowl, a multi-state high school tournament, next month in Baltimore.

Not to mention, to go with 15 sacks this season on defense, he’s passed for nearly 2,000 yards and has scored 43 overall touchdowns (28 passing and 15 rushing), only throwing 3 interceptions all year.

“He’s had a great year on offense,” Nola said. “There’s been many times this year where he’d say: give me the, give me the ball and he would get the job done every time.”

Green expressed gratitude for those opportunities, while acknowledging their difficulty.

“It feels great to have accomplished those things over my career,” Green said. “(Playing on both sides of the ball) wasn’t easy. It’s not like I played a position on defense like safety or D-back; getting your fingers stepped on and then having to throw the ball on the very next series. But it was definitely worth it.”

(Malik Vincent can be reached at malikvincent@gmail.com.)

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