Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

CLAIRTON vs. MONESSEN BEARS' WIN STREAK FACES A CHALLENGE FOOTBALL

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

CLAIRTON vs. MONESSEN BEARS' WIN STREAK FACES A CHALLENGE FOOTBALL

Article excerpt

In one aspect, it's only a regular-season game.

No championship will be won and the loser will not see its season end. Neither team will clinch a conference title, either. But when Clairton travels to Monessen tonight, the stakes will be high, and one of the most amazing streaks in WPIAL history will find itself in a position it might have never been.

More than bragging rights will be on the line when Clairton and Monessen square off on ROOT Sports at 7:30 p.m. The Bears and Greyhounds are both 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the Class A Black Hills Conference. Although the contest will play a significant role in determining the conference champion, much of the focus will be on the potential end of "The Streak."

Unless you've been confined to your house with no access to the outside world for the past three years, you know that Clairton has been on a special run. The Bears have won 50 games in a row. It's the lengthiest winning streak in WPIAL history and the longest active streak in the nation. The Bears last experienced defeat on Sept. 4, 2009.

Since then, Clairton has won three WPIAL and three PIAA titles, but outside of a handful of playoff games, the Bears might not have had a bigger challenge than it has tonight.

"I can't think of any regular-season game with as much focus on it as there is on this one," Clairton coach Tom Nola said.

Monessen is the underdog, but the Greyhounds are very talented. The Greyhounds have had some excellent teams in recent years, their best coming in 2007 when they won the Tri-County South championship with a perfect record and advanced to the WPIAL semifinals. The Greyhounds have played in multiple playoff games since then, but nothing like this.

"This game, especially with it being a regular-season game, is the biggest we've played in at least five or six years," said Monessen coach Andy Pacak.

As far as big-game experience goes, Clairton has a gigantic advantage. The Bears are 21-0 in playoff games during the streak, and have won 27 postseason games over the past four seasons.

Pacak said he doesn't expect nerves to be a major problem with his team this week, but admitted Clairton's mystique will be on the minds of his players. …

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