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October 3, 2011There were 20 shutouts throughout the WPIAL (District 7) this weekend. None stand out more than games won by Clairton, Chartiers-Houston, and Gateway.
The three schools combined to outscore their opponents 229-0. Clairton and Chartiers-Houston are both Class A schools and among the smallest schools in the district. Gateway is a Class AAAA school. All played teams in their own classifications, but all came away with people asking questions.
Chartiers-Houston has caught less interest for their 60-0 win over Bentworth, mostly because Clairton and Gateway are two perennial powers. Chartiers-Houston led 46-0 at the half, scoring one touchdown each in the third and fourth quarters.
Despite one of the smallest male enrollments in the district, Clairton is on a 36-game win streak. They've won multiple WPIAL titles in the last decade, and they've won two straight state titles.
Clairton beat Avella 84-0 in a conference game and did it without starters Devante Gardlock and Trenton Coles. Avella has struggled for years and publicly debated shutting down the football program a couple years ago during a long winless streak. The program rebounded a bit, and a new head coach was supposed to breathe life into the program. But Avella took the field Friday night with one of the smallest rosters in the district due to injuries.
"Nothing bothered me that Clairton did," Cecchini told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "The only problem I had was when it got to be 50-0, we asked the officials if they would just start the mercy rule and use a running clock. They told us they couldn't until the second half. I mean, it wasn't like we were going to come back."
Clairton ended up leading 76-0 at the half and Cecchini successfully convinced the coaches to cut the time in each quarter from 12 minutes to eight minutes. While the margin of victory was obviously larger than normal, the zero on the opposite side of the scoreboard is routine for Clairton. They were the stingiest defense in the WPIAL last year and they've shut out four straight teams since giving up 12 points to Washington in the season opener.
Gateway, meanwhile, played conference foe Norwin. Norwin is winless this year and had been shutout twice prior to losing 85-0 to Gateway. A perennial Class AAAA power, Gateway was coming off its first loss of the season, a 16-12 defeat at Penn-Trafford. Gateway led 62-0 at the half and quickly emptied its bench.
"It's really a great challenge this week as coaches to get these kids to bounce back," Norwin coach Art Tragesser told the paper. "I told them after the game, 'I still love coaching you.'"
None of the three teams has expressed any anger or negative reactions towards Gateway, Clairton, or Chartiers-Houston.