HERSHEY, Pa. - The team that scored more points this season than any team in Pennsylvania high school football history, came up one point short.
Clairton, with an unstoppable offense through the first 15 weeks of the season, lost to Bishop Guilfoyle of Altoona, 19-18, in a thrilling PIAA Class A championship game that had an ugly ending.
With 22 seconds left, a small skirmish broke out on the field. Clairton’s players rushed the field. Helmets were thrown. The game was then called and Bishop Guilfoyle declared the winner. Clairton set a PIAA Class A championship record with 14 penalties.
Clairton (15-1) came into the game averaging 62.7 points and had scored a Pennsylvania record 940 points this season, which also was second-best all-time in the country. But Bishop Guilfoyle’s defense did a superb job of keeping Clairton from making big plays.
Clairton came inches away from winning the game. On fourth down at the 7, James Hines caught a pass from Ryan Williams. But Hines was out of the end zone and Bishop Guilfoyle took over with 47 seconds left.
Clairton’s Lamont Wade rushed for 212 yards on 35 carries and set a WPIAL record for single-season rushing with 2,762 yards, breaking Rushel Shell’s mark of 2,740 set in 2009.
The game was scoreless after the first quarter, but both teams scored two touchdowns in the second quarter. But Bishop Guilfoyle held a 13-12 halftime lead, thanks to an extra-point kick.
Clairton receiver Aaron Mathews had a hand in both Bear touchdowns in the second quarter. He made a great catch on a pass from Ryan Williams for a 20-yard touchdown play. Later in the second quarter, Mathews threw and end-around pass to Wade, who fought off two defenders, caught the ball and ran for a 61-yard touchdown play.
Clairton has never attempted an extra-point kick this year and missed both attempts at a two-point conversion.
Running back Sam McCloskey scored Bishop Guilfoyle’s first touchdown when he came out of the backfield, caught a short pass from Brandon Chadbourn and turned it into a 22-yard touchdown play.
Later in the second quarter, Chadbourn ran a quarterback keeper for a 13-yard touchdown. Josh Trybus kicked the extra point that broke the tie.
In the third quarter, Bishop Guilfoyle extended its lead to 19-12 with McCloskey scored on a 12-yard run.
Bishop Guilfoyle’s defense did an excellent job of not giving up a big play until Wade broke loose for a 64-yard touchdown run. But Harrison Dreher was stopped short of the end zone on the extra-point run and Clairton trailed, 19-18, with 10:29 left.