Monongahela River has much to be grateful for when it comes to its inspirational Bears. The last time Clairton was on the national map was when the potent Vietnam-era film,The Deer Hunter, nominally was set here in 1978.
Perhaps another movie is in order. In a city that mandates a curfew, and where Clairton High students must pass through a metal-detector each morning, the predominately black football team soldiers on despite numerous challenges. The Bears serve as a torn city's respite from issues involving high unemployment, crime, drugs and racial strife.
"For a lot of (players), it is a hard life," says head coach Tom Nola. "They may have only one parent — or no parents. It's difficult sometimes, but they rise above it. Some people think we just throw out a ball and play. But there's so much extra that goes beyond the Xs and Os, especially at a school like this. The streak is a prideful thing for this community."