Archive

Unbeaten Clairton not taking Avonworth lightly | TribLIVE.com
News

Unbeaten Clairton not taking Avonworth lightly

PTRCLANesh1114148
Ronald Vezzani Jr. | For Trib Total Media
Clairton's Lamont Wade races toward the sideline to celebrate after scoring the winning touchdown in overtime to defeat Neshannock in a WPIAL Class A semifinal game Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at Canon-McMillian.

While Clairton’s overtime victory over Neshannock in the WPIAL Class A semifinals sent a thrill through the Bears’ locker room, it didn’t last long.

After limiting opponents to an average of less than four points per game, giving up 42 points just wasn’t their idea of a fun night.

Clairton won the see-saw battle 48-42, when Lamont Wade, who rushed for 281 yards, scored the winning touchdown on a 10-yard run after Neshannock had rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to tie it at the end of regulation.

“Being in that situation wasn’t the best thing, but you need moments like that to test your heart,” Clairton senior quarterback Ryan Williams said.

“Every fight just isn’t going to be a cakewalk.”

Though you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Clairton community who wouldn’t have thought otherwise.

“You’ve got to work hard, no matter who you’re playing,” Williams said. “You’ve got to have the same mindset every time out.”

Williams, who has engineered the WPIAL’s top-scoring offense this season, has benefitted from a number of quick-strike threats, from running backs, such as Wade, to wide receivers to his very own ability to eat up huge chunks of yardage at a clip.

Williams and his skill-position mates have been at it for some time now, including another very productive offseason of 7-on-7 competition prior to Clairton’s current unbeaten run that reached 12 games with its semifinal-round victory last Friday at Canon-McMillan.

“Really, all we’ve known is winning,” Williams said. “We saw it growing up, and we’ve been very successful as high school players.”

Other than its most recent game, Clairton pounded every team it faced this year, averaging 65.7 points per game on the season.

“Neshannock had the best coaching staff of any we face this year,” Clairton coach Wayne Wade said. “I knew they were going to be a better team than anyone else we had played so far. They were very well prepared to handle what we had to give them.”

Wade said his players have convinced him this week that they, too, believed that Neshannock would be a tough test.

“They were a good football team,” Wade said. “They took advantage of our turnovers, and we had a lot of them (six). Give that team credit. They were not the least bit intimidated.”

Second-seeded Clairton (12-0) will play fifth-seeded Avonworth (11-1) in the WPIAL championship game at 11 a.m. Friday at Heinz Field, and Williams is excited for another round of competition.

He isn’t worried about the whispers that Clairton had been running up scores against weaker competition or that the Bears’ narrow victory last week was a possible signal of their demise.

“Me, personally, I don’t think that any of my teammates look at it that way at all,” Williams said. “We’ve all just wanted to accomplish the same thing that the teams before us did, and that’s beat our opponents. All of them.

“It’s like if you aren’t the best, there’s something wrong. The pride of Clairton is so deep, if you don’t win a state championship, you let people down.”

Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected].

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.