Clairton wins third-consecutive WPIAL Class A title
Penalties, turnovers and sandy turf at Heinz Field slowed Clairton’s high-octane offense Saturday in the WPIAL Class A championship game.
But all of that couldn’t prevent the Bears from winning their third consecutive title and their fourth in five years.
Quarterback Desimon Green accounted for two touchdowns, and the defense posted its ninth shutout, as the Bears blanked Rochester, 12-0, for their eighth WPIAL title.
This was the second consecutive season that Clairton defeated Rochester in the title game, and the victory is the Bears’ 28th in a row. Clairton (13-0) has won the teams’ past five meetings, including three in the WPIAL final.
Clairton, the defending PIAA champion, next plays District 5 champion North Star (9-3) at 7 p.m. Friday at Somerset High School.
Clairton limited Rochester to 64 yards: 43 rushing and 21 passing.
“It was a typical Clairton-Rochester game,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said. “Both teams played hard, aggressive defense. It was hard to score points. We squandered a couple scoring opportunities, but we made a few more plays than they did.”
Clairton, which came in averaging nearly 50 points, managed 253 yards, but 10 penalties and three turnovers slowed its offense.
“We were our own worst enemy,” Nola said. “We’ve been pretty good this year keeping our penalties down. We weren’t against Rochester.”
After Clairton’s first two possessions ended with interceptions, the Bears finally got things going on their third. Green hit Tyler Boyd for 32 yards to the Rochester 30; two plays later, Green raced 26 yards for a touchdown to make it 6-0.
“They blitzed us the entire game,” Green said. “They blitzed us more than anyone this season. We caught them on a zone read on my touchdown.”
Rochester stopped a Clairton drive in the third quarter when defensive back Nick Tapia tipped a Green lateral, picked up the ball and raced 25 yards to the Rochester 40 before being tackled by Green. Rochester’s offense failed to gain a yard on six possessions in the second and third quarters, but defense kept the Rams in the game.
“Tough defense is what you expect when you have two big heavyweights coming together,” coach Gene Matsook said. “It could have gone either way. If we could have put together a drive, we could have won.”
In the third quarter, Rochester caught Clairton in a blitz, but running back Devon Glass, who had four blockers in front of him, dropped a screen pass that might have gone for a touchdown.
Rochester drove to the Clairton 18 early in the fourth quarter and faced second-and-3. But running back De’Andre Moon was tackled for a 12-yard loss, then quarterback Jasson Adamson lost 5 more when he was sacked.
Rochester never threatened again.
“Clairton’s defense is good, fast and it gets to the ball,” Matsook said. “They did a good job taking us out of things. I thought if we held them under two touchdowns, we’d have a good chance. Our defense played as well as they did.”
Clairton iced the victory with 37 seconds left when Green threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Trenton Coles.
“If we wouldn’t have won, it would have been disappointing,” said Green, a senior. “The previous two titles were nice, but this one is ours. We were just part of the others.”
WPIAL Class A Championship Clairton vs. Rochester
Clairton defeats Rochester, 12-0, to claim the WPIAL Class A championship Saturday November 27, 2010 at Heinz Field.