Boyd powers Bears to 39th straight win
Clairton wasn’t as overwhelming as usual for a second consecutive week.
But Tyler Boyd was on the field, so defeat was never a concern.
Boyd scored four touchdowns and made a number of spectacular plays to lead Clairton to a 35-6 victory over Fort Cherry on Friday.
The Bears (8-0, 6-0) did see their streak of shutouts end at six games.
“We knew going in how great of a football team they have,” Fort Cherry coach Tim Garry said. “They can just beat you in so many ways.”
Boyd can beat you in a lot of ways, too.
The spectacular junior rushed for 126 yards on 11 carries, but those numbers tell only part of the story.
In a game when Clairton put together only one drive of substance, it was Boyd’s big-play ability that made the victory a blowout.
â¢ On Boyd’s first touch of the game, he rushed for a 36-yard touchdown.
â¢ On Fort Cherry’s next possession, Boyd picked off Fort Cherry quarterback Tanner Garry and returned it 40 yards to the Rangers 5.
â¢ Boyd hit Terrish Webb on a trick play for a 46-yard gain.
â¢ Boyd later scored on touchdown runs of 30 and 11 yards and scored on a 28-yard screen pass.
“He’s as good as it gets,” Garry said. “And we know that going in. He’s very special. He’s just a phenomenal athlete. He can do it all.”
Although Boyd had a number of spectacular plays offensively and defensively, it was a play he made on special teams that made most jaws drop.
In the second quarter, Clairton led 22-0 and Fort Cherry was in punt formation. The Rangers, desperate to register some offense, called for a fake punt. Garry, also the team’s punter, fired a pass deep down the right sideline that seemed destined to produce a big play.
However, Boyd came to the rescue.
Lined up 40 yards down field to catch the punt, Boyd recognized the play and bolted toward the sideline. As he almost always does, Boyd arrived at the same moment as the ball, slapping it away.
“It was obviously a great play,” Garry said. “I feel like the play might have worked if Tanner had put more air under the ball. But give Boyd credit. He’s great.”
Other than Boyd’s virtuoso performance, there were some other positive developments for the Bears.
Quarterback Capri Thompson, who endured a tough game against Bentworth, rebounded with a solid performance. Thompson was especially good in the second half and completed his last five passes. He finished by completing 9 of 12 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
“He was so good on that drive to start the second half,” Nola said. “It was good to see him settle down and play well.”
With star wideout Trenton Coles still hobbled by an ankle injury and Titus Howard leaving the game in the second quarter with a possible concussion, another weapon emerged in Clairton’s offense. Junior wideout Terrish Webb caught three passes for 77 yards.
“He’s really good,” Nola said. “When we get Trenton healthy, we’re going to have all kinds of good receivers. It will help the offense.”
The Clairton defense certainly played well, holding Garry, one of the WPIAL’s more talented passers, to pedestrian numbers. Garry completed 5 of 12 passes for 80 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked six times.
“They’re just so fast,” Garry said. “I’m proud of my kids, though. They played hard. They did some good things.”
The Bears were extremely disappointed to see their shutout streak end. They had last allowed a point in Week 1 against Washington.
“I guess we’ll have to run now,” Nola said with a smile.
The Bears have to run extra in practices on the rare occasions they lose.
It wasn’t a perfect performance from Clairton, which failed to mercy-rule an opponent for a second straight week.
Still, it’s all relative.
“I actually thought we played pretty well,” Nola said. “Fort Cherry’s a good team. We won by a lot.”
NOTES — Clairton has now won 39 straight games, which is the longest streak in school history, the second-longest streak in WPIAL history and currently the nation’s fourth-longest streak.