Erik Walker said it felt good to be back celebrating the Clairton Bears’ win of the PIAA/WPIAL Championship.
“It felt good because we worked hard to get 16-0 this season. After the seniors left last year, people thought we wouldn’t be able to pull this off but we’re here,” said Walker, a defensive end and offensive lineman for the team. “Hopefully we’ll be here next year and do the same thing.”
Clairton Bears football players, cheerleaders, proud parents and supporters of the team turned out for a second year in a row to celebrate the team’s subsequent wins of the 2009 and 2010 PIAA and WPIAL championships during a banquet held at the Ascension Hall in Clairton.
2010 STATE CHAMPION CLAIRTON BEARS (Courier Photos/J.L. Martello)
The team only allowed 34 points all season. Although they were behind by 24 points early in the first quarter of the championship game, the Bears came back and won their 31st straight game and second consecutive Class A title.
However, this year was different for the Bears.
“They dismantled all of their opponents and I’m proud of the players because they were not fighting,” explained Richard Livingston, president, Clairton City School District Board of Directors. “I’m proud of what the team has done and the character they showed. They are champions in every sense of the word.”
Defensive Back Trenton Coles agreed with Livingston.
“It was a great season because we didn’t lose a game and we enjoyed being able to play with our teammates,” Coles said.
During the banquet, football players, coaches and managers received rings to commemorate their efforts.
The rings were presented to the players by Clairton Bears Head Coach, Tom Nola.
“These guys are special. Their leadership and stick-to-it-ness is one of the reasons we did so well this season,” Nola said.
That’s why Paulette Bradford, vice president of the Clairton City School District and president of the Clairton Athletic Champions Club, and others got together to plan a celebration for the team.
The day began with a parade through the streets of Clairton, which ended at the Clairton Educational Center on Waddell Avenue. Inside the school an assembly was held. The whole day culminated with the banquet.
“We love the kids and the people in Clairton care about kids. Clairton does not have a lot, but what we have we value and what we have is our children and we’ll do what we have to do to support them,” explained Bradford. Remondo Williams, a member of the Clairton Bears coaching staff felt the day of festivities for the team spoke volumes about the pride the city felt for the team.
“The festivities were a testament to the people and how they don’t mind coming out and helping and supporting the kids in Clairton,” Williams said.
Defensive Linebacker Donte Thomas enjoyed the banquet and the day of celebration and is confident that his team will be celebrating another successful win next year.
“It was nice and I appreciate everyone that came out and celebrated this with us. It was a good experience and I’m looking forward to next season,” Thomas said.