Clairton awaits word on RB Wade, who sprained ankle in 72-6 rout of Wilkinsburg
The Clairton express steamrolled through Wilkinsburg on Saturday afternoon and recorded a 72-6 victory.
But the Bears hope a main cog in the machinery won't be missing for too long.
Lamont Wade, who set a WPIAL record with 2,762 rushing yards last season, was set to score a third touchdown in the first half Saturday at historic Graham Field.
But Wade was hit near the goal line, the ball popped into the air and was pulled down by Wilkinsburg defender Dimitrius Gray, who returned the ball to the Tigers 14.
Wade suffered a sprained ankle and sat out the remainder of the game.
“We'll evaluate him again Monday and see how he feels,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said moments after the game. “Hopefully, we don't have to send him anywhere to get any X-rays. It doesn't look too bad right now.”
Lamont Wade's day ended with 109 yards on just eight carries. Personnel from the Eastern Area EMT unit rolled a gurney toward the Clairton bench where Wade was being treated, but the 5-foot-11, 185 pound standout quickly waved off the first responders.
A junior, Wade has 3,630 career yards. If he stays healthy, and if Clairton makes it to the PIAA finals then plays nine regular season games next year, Wade would have to average 97 yards rushing per game to catch Tyler Boyd's school record of 5,763 yards.
It was the Eastern Conference opener for the Bears (2-0, 1-0). Wilkinsburg slipped to 0-2, 0-2.
Clairton uses a quick-strike, no-huddle offense, and Saturday served as an example of its success.
The Bears scored four touchdowns in their first 14 offensive plays.
Those four touchdowns were scored with a time of possession of just 3 minutes, 48 seconds.
Clairton scored 50 points in the first half, while possessing the ball a little more than 6 1⁄2 minutes.
“We have a pretty good football team,” coach Wade said. “But we try to get better each week. We're going no-huddle on offense, and we put pressure on you on defense. It kind of wears teams down.”
Senior Harrison Dreher set the tone early, scoring on Clairton's second play from scrimmage. Dreher was hit low at the Tigers 2 and vaulted into the end zone.
The Bears come into each game as a heavy favorite, tops in the Trib Total Media WPIAL Class A rankings and first in at least two statewide polls. However, the Bears seem to thrive on being a weekly target.
“We have a big target on us, and we have to play good, physical and fast,” Dreher said. “We've got to keep moving during the week and we've got to get ready to play.”
Dreher rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns.
“If you want to say we're ranked No. 1, that's OK, now we want to go out and prove it,” Wayne Wade said. “We just look at it one game at a time.”
Senior quarterback Aaron Mathews passed for 339 yards, including three scoring strikes to Noah Hamlin.
The 6-5 senior also scored on a 3-yard run and picked off a Tigers pass to end the first half.
Tigers quarterback Dremar Everette scored the lone Wilkinsburg touchdown on a 13-yard run, set up by Tim Robinson's 75-yard interception return.
Clairton's longest possession was a nine-play drive in the fourth quarter that culminated with a 3-yard run by freshman Corey Johnson.
The Clairton defense held Wilkinsburg to 41 net offensive yards, 16 rushing and 25 passing.
“We knew coming into this game that they were a little light on their sidelines,” Wade said. “They only had 15 players dressed, and it's tough going against a team like us. A truly valiant effort from them today. They played hard, and my hat's off to Wilkinsburg.”
Next up for the Bears is a visit from perennial playoff contender Greensburg Central Catholic to Neil Brown Stadium.
“Greensburg's next,” coach Wade said. “That's all we're worried about.”
“It's only week three,” Dreher said. “You've got to get ready and play for this week.”
George Guido is a freelance writer.