Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bears Do It Again!


Oh those Bears: One year ago to the day I wrote about the Clairton Bears defeating Bishop McCort to win their first state championship. I could have added the old Jimmy Durante line, “You ain’t seen nothing yet! The 2010 Bears whipped Washington (41-0), blew out Beaver (55-6) crashed Carlynton (60-6) chased Chartiers-Houston (48-0) crushed Carmichaels (42-0), caved in Bishop Canevin (47-0), and were well on their way to smashing Springdale (26-7) before a single point had been scored against them. For their mid-season menu they ruined Rochester (12-0), annihilated North Star (52-0) and on and on throughout the regular season and playoffs until the championship game. By that time the Bears offense scored had 702 points and their stingy defense had allowed but 34. They had won 15 consecutive games in the regular season and playoffs so they decided to do what bears do during the winter…. hibernate.

Hibernations began a little early: Somebody forgot to tell the Clairton Bears that although it is ok to spend the winter in their Clairton Bear cave, they first had a stop in Hershey for the final championship game of the season. The bus rolled up to Hersheypark stadium and the hibernating Bears rolled onto the field and slept right through the kickoff, the first quarter, and partway through the second quarter. When they finally woke up, stretched, and scratched themselves after their long nap they discovered they were behind 24-0. Any normal football team would have crawled right back into the sack and continued their sound sleep. But the Clairton Bears are no ordinary team. They took their big Bear paws and swatted the once-beaten Riverside Vikings with 36 unanswered points. Then they went back to sleep and with 90 seconds left in the game the Vikings bedraggled staggered across the Bear goal line for one meaningless touchdown. Final score: Clairton Bears 36, Riverside Vikings 30. I’m told that snoring could be heard on the bus ride back to their den.

Some interesting stats: The comeback victory of a 24-point deficit was the largest in the history of PIAA championship games. The victory also stretched the Clairton Bear win streak to 31 – eighth longest in state history. Among the final stats from their second championship game: “Clairton outgained Riverside, 324-256. Clairton's Tyler Boyd finished with 58 yards on eight carries. Karvonn Coles had 53 yards on 13 attempts, Desimon Green completed 4 of 10 passes for 135 yards.For Riverside, Nick Rossi had five attempts for 61 yards. Quarterback Corey Talerico completed 17 of 36 for 223 yards”

An amazing run: Coach Nola, who just a couple of years ago was a bum who didn’t know how to coach and who was taken to task for his team not having proper shoes to play in, is now a legend. His teams have not lose a league game since 2005, he has won more games (46) than any other team in the state since 2008, and is on track to set a record for the longest win streak in state history. We are not predicting that record will be broken or a state championship three-peat at this early stage, but Coach Nola nad his staff have done a wonderful job with their charges both on and off the field. We’ve mentioned in this space before of the community businesses and leaders who have contacted us to share stories of the way Coach Nola’s teams have conducted themselves. The accolades will continue for many Bears who will go on to play in college and perhaps beyond, but the memories of gentlemen who represented our city will remain long after the trophies have become forgotten. Well done Bears.

A letter to the editor: Former team manager for the Bears football team, Tom “Grantland Rice” Nixon, wrote the following letter to the local newspaper. As an avid reader of our blog he was kind enough to send us a copy:

“It was a cold winter afternoon in Hershey, Pa. The Clairton High School Bears Football Team lined up to play Taylor-Riverside for the state PIAA Class A Championship. Two years ago, they lost their opener to a rural team because the officials assessed them 45 yards in penalties on the last drive. That drive led to Laurel’s winning touchdown. The Bears didn’t disintegrate into the vulgarities of sore losers in the gutter. They instead focused their steely eyes on playing better football, working harder and smarter and perfecting their sport.

"These underprivileged young men growing up in a socio-economically depressed neighborhood never lost another game. Their defense was incredible, holding scoreless 10 of 15 opponents….allowing only 34 points scored against them all season. Now, in the big game of the year, they relaxed and let Taylor-Riverside score 24 points in the first half. Their wily, foxy coach Tom Nola called time out. Boys, this is not Clairton football…”let’s run at ‘em hard”. Ten straight running plays and a touchdown. Taylor-Riverside adjusted to the run, so they passed and passed and did they pass ?? In the second half, a quick two touchdowns and the Clairton Bears’ solid defense returned.

So, chiseled in stone for posterity, these proud young men stood up to the challenge and became the CLAIRTON BEARS ll, the second consecutive PIAA Class A Champions. The Post Gazette best described it as a game for the ages.

As the cold winter winds swirl around and the ground is frozen over, all over the world a warm glow stirs in the hearts of Clairtonians !!”

A little blogging music Maestro… The Clairton High School fight song played by the Clairton Band.

Dr. Forgot

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