Defending WPIAL champion Clairton motivated, loaded with talent

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Saturday, September 5, 2020 | 11:04 PM


Wayne Wade doesn’t need any motivation to prepare his football team for the 2020 season.

That’s because the Clairton Bears have a chip on their shoulder.

“Our season ended a little early last year,” Wade said. “We lost to Farrell in the PIAA Class A semifinals in a game we dominated in every phase except the scoreboard. It left a bad taste in our mouths.

“We have 15 seniors back, and we won’t let their heads get too big. They’ll be motivated.”

Clairton captured its 14th WPIAL title in 2019 when it defeated Sto-Rox, 41-19. The next week, Farrell celebrated a 13-10 victory over the Bears. Farrell defeated Bishop Guilfoyle, 10-7, to win the state title.

Clairton lost only four seniors from the 2019 squad: quarterback Brendan Parson, wide receiver Kenlein Ogletree, wide receiver Wayne Wade and linebacker Tyrunne Harvey.

There is still a lot of firepower remaining.

Heading the list is senior running back Isaiah Berry, who rushed for 1,042 yards and 15 touchdowns. Senior Dontae Sanders is back after rushing for 553 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Senior Jonte Sanders will try to replace the big shoes of Parsons, who was a four-year starter, at quarterback.

Parsons completed 114 of 222 passes for 2,012 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.

He also rushed for 1,097 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jonte Sanders caught 31 passes for 429 yards and six touchdowns and saw time as a backup quarterback. He rushed for 210 yards.

“Jonte is doing a good job picking things up,” Wade said. “He’ll get the job done. He knows the offense.”

Other players Wade is counting on are senior linebacker Don Napper, Cannon and Andre Henderson.

The offensive line is pretty much intact, led by 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle Dametrius Weatherspoon.

“Our goals remain the same,” Wade said. “It doesn’t bother us that we’re ranked No. 1. I know Steelton-Highspire and Bishop Guilfoyle return a lot of players. But our kids are up for the challenge.”

Wade added that the conference has improved with Greensburg Central Catholic adding seven transfers and Jeannette having a solid squad.

He also feels that the addition of Burgettstown and Shenango makes Class A strong.

“I know Cornell and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart have improved,” Wade said.

“West Greene returns a lot. We’ll be ready for anyone.”

Clairton will find out a lot about itself when it meets Jeannette to open Eastern Conference action on Sept. 11.

“I always liked the game at end of the season,” Wade said.

“We’ll have to be ready earlier for them.”

Schedule

Coach: Wayne Wade

2019 record: 9-2, 5-1 in Class A Eastern Conference

All-time record: 756-318-48

Date, Opponent, Time

9.11, at Jeannette*, 7

9.18, at Leechburg*, 7

9.25, Riverview*, 7

10.3, at Bishop Canevin*, 7

10.9, Imani Christian*, 7

10.16, at Greensburg Central Catholic*, 7

10.23, Springdale*, 7

*Class A Eastern Conference game

Statistical leaders

Passing: Brendon Parsons*

114-222, 2,012 yards, 24 TDs

Rushing: Brendan Parsons*

121-1,097 yards, 11 TDs

Receiving: Kenlein Ogletree*

47-963 yards, 20 TDs

*Graduated

Fast facts

• Former Clairton grad Tyler Boyd is a starting wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals.

• Clairton is six wins from the 700-win milestone.

• The Bears have made the WPIAL playoffs 34 times. They played 90 games and own a record of 67-23.

• Clairton has played in seven PIAA championship games, winning four times (2009-2012). They are 0-2 since then, losing to Bishop Guilfoyle (19-18 in 2014) and (17-0 in 2016).

• Clairton opened the 2019 season with consecutive losses to Aliquippa (35-14) and McGuffey (42-27). Then they won 11 consecutive games before falling to Farrell.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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