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Clairton steamrolls past Wilkinsburg

| Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, 12:15 a.m.

It's hard to imagine improving on a 70-0 Week 1 victory, but Clairton managed to outdo itself in Week 2.

The second-ranked Bears (2-0, 1-0) rolled to an 86-0 Class A Eastern Conference win over Wilkinsburg on Friday night at Clairton's Neil C. Brown Stadium.

“That's our goal each week, to get better,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said. “It doesn't matter who we're playing, we want to get out there and execute our stuff, and tonight it just worked for us.”

Clairton jumped to a 32-0 lead after a first quarter highlighted by touchdown runs from Lamont Wade, who had two, and Harrison Dreher, whose 21-yard run capped a 64-yard opening drive. Noah Hamlin provided a big play when he caught a 74-yard strike from Ryan Williams.

The offense sparkled because the linemen were fighting hard in the trenches. Williams never was rushed to throw, and the Bears' runners more often than not found themselves several yards downfield before contact.

“Our line held it down all night,” Williams said. “That's what we preach at practice is to get the blocks, and everything will pay off.”

Wilkinsburg had a chance to close the gap early on. With Clairton leading 16-0 after Wade's first touchdown run in the first quarter, sophomore Robert Higgenbotham returned the kickoff 47 yards to the Bears' 18. But the Clairton defense stepped up and, with the help of a procedural penalty, forced the Tigers to punt four plays later on fourth-and-15.

“We made mental mistakes early, and we just couldn't rebound,” Wilkinsburg coach Michael Fulmore said.

In the second quarter, the Clairton defense put on a clinic. Hamlin and Dreher returned interceptions for scores of 45 and 42 yards, respectively, while linebacker Vance Gibson had a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery.

“It's never a one-person effort,” Hamlin said.

The mercy rule went into effect in the second half, but Clairton still managed two more scores. Raymone Clifford broke free for a 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Jjuan Jackson added a 32-yard run in the fourth.

Clairton won its opener 70-0 at California and has outscored its opponents 156-0.

“You can see from last week to this week improvement, and that's what we're looking for, to get better as a football team,” Wade said.

Dreher finished with 142 yards rushing, followed by Wade with 124.

Williams threw for 153 yards, including 104 to Hamlin.

“We worked so hard all week, and it paid off,” Jackson said. “We're trying to get back to where we were two years ago.”

Ed Phillips is a freelance writer.

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