Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bearly Winning


Bad news for opponents, that is: The Bears and their fans must have been singing “Don’t Let Your Heart be Snowbound” as they ambled up to the football field at Slippery Rock University’s Mehilak-Thompson stadium (not sure whether or not the stadium was named after Capri and Carvan Thompson) to challenge the undefeated Sharpsville Blue Devils. While the Blue Devil fans bedeviled CHS boosters with their taunts, the bush league radio announcers who egged on the situation by repeatedly disrespecting CHS fans, some of whom had the audacity to sit on the wrong side of the stadium (Don’t you people know your place?). Of course, according to the talking mouths on the radio, not a single Blue Devil fan said anything untoward. They just sat there with their hands folded on their laps.

WRONG! Our fans, like our team, takes not quarter and gives none. They don’t look for trouble but neither do they back down. Like the players on the field, they will not be intimidated by foul-mouth bullies. They will give just as good as they get. And they did.

The game started and the Blue Devils were destined to fall just as the snowflakes were falling on the field. Admittedly I was not at the stadium but it seems to me that 11 penalties for 75 yards while the other side got, (let’s see… I’ll get my calculator out…. Hmmmm…. Ok, got it) zero flags for zero yards…. I wonder when the refs last had their eyes checked. It appeared to be 1-2-3-4. Who’s the referee for? But the Bears did as they’ve done for the past 46 football games…. they overcame the hostile fans, the partial announcers, and the questionable calls and non-calls, and tied a 50-year old Braddock record for consecutive wins.

CHS records: The Clairton Bears’ victory gives them a 15-0 record for the season and ties a school in New Jersey and eclipses a Nevada school record for the longest win streak in the nation. Next up, District 4 champ Southern Columbia at Hersheypark next Friday December 16 at 1:00 pm. There will be a tailgate before the game, beginning around 10:30. Hoping to see plenty of Orange and Black at the game.

Back to the Sharpsville game: Scoring machine Tyler Boyd ran for two touchdowns, one and four yards, and caught a 70-yard pass from Capri Thompson for a third. But in the fourth quarter CHS tried a trick pass play to Brian Clifford. The ball was tapped into the air and retrieved by Capri who went down and stayed there until he was carried off the field. After sitting out a few plays, Capri pulled a Ben Roethlisberger and came back into the game, ankle sprain and all. He (Capri, not Ben) will be good to go for the Hershey game.

Blue Devil quarterback Henwood made the mistake of trying to force a pass over linebacker Devante Gardlock inside the CHS 20. Gardlock tipped it and Carvan Thompson snatched it and headed for the goal line 80 yards away. But Carvan, who holds a record for the most consecutive games started, is a lineman, not a running back or wide receiver, and linemen just don’t run that far. After 50 yards he got tired and handed the ball to Terrish Webb who did the honors and scored the final TD. The Bears could have scored again in the final moments but with the game already in hand they let the clock expire.

How amazing are the Bears? This will be the fourth consecutive year they will have played for the State Championship. In 2008 they lost a heartbreaker to Steelton-Highspire. In 2009 they defeated Bishop McCort, and last season after being down for most of the game, they staged a thrilling comeback victory over District 2 champ Riverside. A victory next Friday will set even more records, but regardless of the records, we congratulate the students. teachers, coaches, parents, boosters, and administrators who have worked so hard to support our hometown.

Keeping the Student in Student Athlete: For the most part the Bears perform as well in the classroom as they do on the field. More than half the team has a 3.0 (B) or better grade point average. One team member, I am told, is on track to finish first or second in the class. These are students who have earned respect and deserve our support. But not every CHS student has the good fortune to have his future helped along by his athletic ability. Too many graduate and are slapped with the reality of poverty and lack of employment.

CHS graduate Terrence Fort has helped put together a mentoring program for CHS students. The program needs successful CHS alumni who have the time and willingness to take a high school student under their wing and offer support. The ideal candidate would live near enough to Clairton to drive to the school, but even for those of us who live thousands of miles away but are willing to come home for a first face-to-face visit, can continue a mentorship electronically. I urge you to become involved in this worthwhile program. Email me at the email address below and I will forward your email to Terrence. Go Bears.

A little blogging music Maestro… how about the Clairton High School fight song once more..

Dr. Forgot

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