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Clairton’s Lamont Wade named Daily News Football Player of the Year

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, December 24, 2014 10:06 p.m
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Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Clairton's Lamont Wade celebrates his touchdown reception against Bishop Guilfoyle during the second quarter of the PIAA Class A championship game Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey.
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Sidney Davis | Trib Total Media
Clairton's Lamont Wade drives through a pile of Berlin Brothersvalley defenders during the PIAA Class A quarterfinals Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, at Elizabeth Forward High School.
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Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Clairton's Lamont Wade carries past Avonworth's Paul Heflin during the second quarter of the WPIAL Class A championship game Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, at Heinz Field.

At 15, WPIAL rushing champion Lamont Wade is getting an education beyond the classroom, where he’s maintained at least a 3.5 grade-point average as a sophomore at Clairton.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Wade, who turns a year older Jan. 14, already seems to know the routine of a high-profile athlete, such as those in his family before him.

“I’m blessed to come from a family from Clairton that has had athleticism,” said Wade, next in the bloodline for greatness.

He wore No. 38 to honor his late grandfather Charles, a former Clairton football star; his father is Carlton Wade, a WPIAL scoring champion in basketball while at Clairton and a college player at Marist and Cal (Pa.); his cousin is his Clairton coach, Wayne Wade, another former Bears football star who went on to play in college at Akron and later in the Arena Football League with Milwaukee.

“That influence that Lamont has had is real. He’s had people around him that have experienced the media,” Wayne Wade said.

The bar already has been set high for Lamont Wade, who after rushing for a WPIAL season-record 2,762 yards — breaking former Hopewell star Rushel Shell’s mark by 22 yards — was named The Daily News high school football player of the year for 2014.

Full of optimism, the youngest Wade can’t forget the influence he’s had for as long as he can remember.

“My family has always been there for me,” he said. “They’ve helped to mold me into the person I am today, not just the ones who played sports, but my aunts and uncles and other relatives, too. I’ve had plenty of talks with them.”

Perhaps it is why Wade showed his class in a chaotic situation near the conclusion of Clairton’s 19-18 loss to Bishop Guilfoyle in the PIAA Class A championship game Dec. 5.

While others bickered and battled in the final minute, Wade and several of his teammates went on to congratulate their opponents in spite of an order by the PIAA to forego an official postgame handshake.

“That meant a lot. That kid showed so much character and great class,” Bishop Guilfoyle senior running back and Lehigh recruit Sam McCloskey said afterward.

“He’s a great player with a great future,” added Bishop Guilfoyle coach Justin Wheeler.

Soon to be just 16, Wade already has claimed a place in Clairton’s rich football history. His sophomore season took on more responsibility when he became the Bears’ primary back early in the year following a knee injury to Harrison Dreher, the team’s leading rusher in 2013, when Wade himself, as a freshman, was sidelined with a knee injury.

Wade, while helping Clairton to finally open its boys basketball schedule on Tuesday night at Winchester Thurston, already is looking ahead to next year’s football season.

He said he received congratulatory tweets from Shell, among others, after Clairton’s one-point loss in the state title game, and it kept him hungry.

“My goal is always to get better,” said Wade, who already holds Division I offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Old Dominion and Temple. “Next year, if I don’t get 2,000-some rushing yards, then maybe I can get 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving. Or maybe I can help in other ways. The idea is to grow and get better.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at dmackall@tribweb.com.

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