Clairton wins 3rd straight title with 35-19 win

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HERSHEY, Pa. (AP)—Two long touchdown passes from Capri Thompson to Terrish Webb and two late touchdown runs by Tyler Boyd led Clairton High School to its third straight PIAA Class A football championship Dec. 16 with a 35-19 triumph over Southern Columbia at Hersheypark Stadium.

StateChamps
STATE CHAMPIONS—Clairton players celebrate with the trophy along with an oversized chocolate bar after defeating Southern Columbia 35-19 in the PIAA Class A high school state football championship game, Dec. 16, in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)

The victory was the 47th straight for Clairton, the longest active high school football winning streak in the nation.

Clairton finished the season 16-0 for the second straight season. The Bears lost their season-opening game in 2009 to Laurel, but won the remaining 15 games that season.

Southern Columbia, which won a PIAA record five straight Class A championship games from 2002 through 2006, finished its season at 14-2.

Webb opened the scoring with an 88-yard pass from Thompson — a PIAA Class A championship game record — just one play after a Southern Columbia punt with 3:55 to play in the first quarter.

The play ignited a scoring battle between the two teams, which have nine PIAA Class A football championships between them. Southern Columbia made it 8-6 on a 5-yard run by Tyler Levan at the 5:57 mark of the second quarter, but Webb responded with 65-yard score from Thompson exactly one minute later.

Southern Columbia closed to 14-12 on the first of two scores by Matt Moore, a 5-yard run with 1:47 to play. But a 55-yard run by Boyd to the Southern Columbia 1 set up a 1-yard score by Reuben Kelley with 29 seconds left in the half.

That enabled Clairton to carry a 21-12 lead into the half.

Southern Columbia closed to two points, 21-19, on Moore’s 5-yard pass from quarterback Brad Fegley on the final play of the third quarter. But Boyd’s scoring runs of 78 and 68 yards in the game’s final six minutes secured Clairton’s victory.

“The coaches just wanted me to make a play, and the ball was coming my way,” said Boyd. “(Southern Columbia) is a lot like us, coming in undefeated with all of these state championships. But we wanted them to know we weren’t intimidated by their success.”

Clairton compiled 436 yards of offense, including 218 yards rushing on 14 carries by Boyd, a junior. Thompson was 4 of 9 passing for 165 yards.

The Clairton defense sacked Fegley eight times for 55 yards.

Moore rushed 16 times for 136 yards for Southern Columbia.

“This is obviously devastating for our kids,” Southern Columbia head coach Jim Roth said. “But (Clairton) is a very talented team. I’m proud of the way we matched their level of play for most of the game.”

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