The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

December 14, 2009

CORY ISENBERG | State title on McCort's wish list

While the rest of us are rushing around preparing for the upcoming holidays, the Bishop McCort football team is focused on making its Christmas a holly, jolly one with a state championship title in hand.

The Crimson Crushers (14-0) used a strong second-half surge to defeat District 11 champion Tri-Valley 42-27 on Friday and now face a tough Clairton squad. The District 7 team got by Farrell 13-7 to earn the other berth in the Class A title game, set for 1 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.

It is Bishop McCort’s first appearance in the championship while the Bears are making their second-straight trip. Clairton lost to Steelton-Highspire 35-16 last year.

“This is what we've wanted the whole time from the beginning,” Clairton coach Tom Nola said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after the win over Farrell. “This was one of our goals, to get back to Hershey to try to redeem ourselves from last year. Hopefully, we can do that and be on the other end this year.”

Just as Bishop McCort has played strong defense throughout the season, the Bears (14-1) also rely on their defensive prowess.

The stingy Clairton defense has shut out eight opponents and allowed 58 points in its

15 games, an average of

3.9 points per game.

Bishop McCort has just one shutout and has held opponents to 14.6 points per game.

Clairton’s lone loss came in the season opener, a 15-8 setback to Laurel.

In the state polls, Bishop McCort is top-ranked by the Pennsylvania Football News and was third in last week’s Harrisburg Patriot-News rankings while Clairton is on top in the latter and second in the former.

Another District 6 champ, State College, will be joining the Crimson Crushers in Hershey, trying to win the state championship in Class AAAA on Saturday at 7 p.m. against District 12 LaSalle College. The Little Lions bested Cumberland Valley 35-13 while LaSalle crushed Ridley 35-7.

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