Clement named Gatorade Player of the Year

Martinsburg wide receiver Hudson Clement battles for a pass during the Class AAA state championship game against Huntington. Clement has been named as the recipient of the Moss Award as the top wide receiver in West Virginia. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICK KOZLOWSKI

MARTINSBURG — You might say Hudson Clement “Mossed” a two-time Kennedy Award winner and “Parade” All-American this season.

The standout Martinsburg wide receiver eclipsed the Martinsburg receiving yardage record set by Brandon Barrett in 2003. He pretty much obliterated it this season. Barrett caught 91 passes for 1,491 yards, and Clement, a senior, checked in with 87 catches for 1,708 yards.

With that particular record out of the way, it only figured that Clement would finish his scholastic career in another record-setting way as Martinsburg won its fifth championship in six seasons, counting the abbreviated 2020 campaign, by defeating Huntington 62-21. Clement caught four touchdown passes and ran for four touchdowns, establishing a record for most touchdowns and points scored in a Class AAA final and equaling the mark for most receiving and rushing touchdowns.

“It was definitely crazy,” he said. “I obviously didn’t go into the state championship game thinking I was going to score eight touchdowns.” Who would?

“I thought we could win and knew we could win, but I never knew the impact I was going to have,” Clement said.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Clement had an impact all season long for Martinsburg and has been awarded as the Randy Moss Award winner as the state’s top wide receiver as named by he West Virginia Sports Writers Association for the 2021 season.

“You don’t go into the season planning to get records,” Clement said. “You just play hard, and those things will happen.”

He caught eight passes for 175 yards in the championship game and ran seven times for 41 yards. For good measure, he also threw a two-point pass against the Highlanders. It enabled him to amass 2,367 all-purpose yardage, 30 touchdowns and 186 points for the season as the Bulldogs went 13-1.

“Hudson is a fierce competitor that has great hands and became our leader in the playoffs,” Martinsburg coach Britt Sherman said. “He showed that he was the best player in West Virginia in Wheeling.”

While Clement’s appreciative of being labeled as the top wide receiver in the state, he said winning the state championship is what really mattered.

“My focus was a championship,” Clement said.

Still, it was hard not to notice No. 3 as he shined in the afternoon sun of Wheeling Island Stadium in the state final.

He made a one-handed grab at one point, something he had pulled off a few weeks earlier in a playoff win over Parkersburg South -- a catch that resembled an infielder gloving a low line drive.

Asked to name his favorite touchdown in the championship game, he said, “They all helped us out, were all great.”

Then he zeroed in, saying, “The one in the corner of the end zone. I went up with two people on me and came down with it.

“It got everyone going.”

He’s had his Moss moments. 

“I like to think I did maybe a few times,” Clement said. “The state championship game, I went up and got that one.

“Parkersburg South, I had one. I don’t know if I ‘Mossed him,” but it was a great catch over a defender.”

His catches mattered, though. A defensive back on the other side of the football, he used his hands well enough to knock away nine passes and intercept a team-best five, including one in the state championship game. He also recovered a team-high three fumbles. It added up to a championship season for his team and a sterling senior year that included him being named as the Gatorade Player of the Year. He will be honored during the 75th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 1, at the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

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