JEANNETTE, PA.--Each and every offensive down that Lamont Wade played in during the first half of Clairton's 32-13 win over Jeannette Friday night, an odd spectacle unknown to the high school football scene stared him directly in the eye--it was Pitt's 30-yard-long equipment truck.
The new truck, parked behind an end zone just outside Jeannette's McKee Stadium, has a giant Pitt script logo painted across its side, and the logo is surrounded by photos of Pitt players and representations.
Call it a "Come to Pitt" billboard of sorts.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi and his children were some of the truck's passengers. They patrolled the sidelines during the game, shaking hands with Wade's cousin, Wayne, who is the Bears' head coach, prior to kickoff and watching intently.
Lamont Wade would rush for just 74 yards on 9 carries, stats that were marred by a knee injury he sustained that sidelined him for parts of the first and second halves.
Ask anyone in attendance at the standing-room-only contest which plays stood out in the game, and that person will likely mention two that involved Wade.
With 2:26 remaining in the first quarter and Clairton knocking on the door of Jeannette, Wade took a handoff at the Jayhawks' 8 yard-line. He found a hole on the left side of his offensive line and picked up five yards before meeting a handful of Jayhawks defenders at the 3-yard-line. The defenders turned Wade around but he wouldn’t go down. With the back of his jersey and no. 38 directly facing the end zone, Wade back-pedaled and powered through the defenders before leaping in the air and spinning frontwards, extending the ball beyond the goal line for 6 points.
It was a brilliant display of power, will and physical unfairness.
Then, a quarter after Wade hobbled off the field, slammed his helmet on the ground and lay on Clairton's bench in visible pain as trainers examined and stretched his right leg, Wade took a handoff, bounced through a hole on the left side of his offensive line and found nothing but green pastures ahead. The 56-yard touchdown run ultimately put the game out of reach.
After the game ended and as Wade was set to walk off the field, he saw Narduzzi out of the corner of his eye walking through the exits with his daughters.
Standing near midfield about 100 yards away from Narduzzi, Wade yelled, "Alright, Coach 'Duzz!"
"Hail to Pitt!" Narduzzi replied.