Reporting Dave Crawley
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Heinz Field. Playoffs. Tiny Clairton takes aim at their fifth straight WPIAL title, and a Pennsylvania high school record: 60 consecutive victories.
More than half the boys in the senior class play for the Bears.
The annual love fest at Heinz Field has given the players and their fans a glorious, if temporary, respite from the empty streets of a city that has fallen on hard times.
Yesterday’s players cheer on the team of today.
Paris Carr, class of ’06, says, “There’s a lot going on in our city, but we stay really close, and we support our city.”
Former Bear, Corey Wright, class of ’00, coached the young men on the field when they played midget football.
“All those dudes are just like me,” he says. “That’s why I feel so good about what I’m doing. It’s just a blessing for me to help out Clairton.”
Jean Hull’s stepson played for Clairton. Her niece, Leah Shoski, has her future all mapped out.
“I cheer for them because they’re really good,” Shoski says. “And I want to cheer for them when I get older.”
“We’re number one. Not two, not three, not four…” Robin Bush repeats the chants she once led, as a cheerleader, 30 years ago. “Everybody used to come out into the street, like out of their houses, just to see us march,” she recalls. “It’s not like that anymore.”
Melissa Gambino cheers the team, and her husband, the line coach.
“We’ve gotten phone calls and text messages from people everywhere that are praying for these boys to have this success,” Gambino said. “You know, it’s such a great time for their city.”
Game over. Clairton defeats Sto-Rox, 58-21. Sixty wins in a row.
Though bad news is all too frequent, this Clairton story has a happy ending.