Sonny Wade - Quarterback/Punter - 1969-78 - Emory & Henry
Sonny Wade was a 1968 All-American out of Emory and Henry College a power-house football power based in Virginia. When he joined the Alouettes in 1970 the team had sustained 9 straight losing seasons, legendary quarterback Sam Etchevarry returned to the team as Head Coach. Along with a new general manager in Red O'Quinn the attitude of the team instantly changed.
Etchevarry named Jesse "Sonny" Wade as the clubs starter and he led the team to a 7-6-1 record. The Alouettes defeated Toronto 17-6 in the Eastern semi-final. Then over a two game total Montreal defeated Hamilton first 32-22 and then 11-4. The Alouettes then faced Calgary who had finished 9-7 in the Grey Cup.
***excerpt CFL legends Sam Etchevarry - cfl.ca***
The memorable play was an alert improvisation by Montreal half-back Moses Denson. Down 7-0, the Als gambled on 3rd and one, deep in Calgary territory. Montreal pitched to Denson and he became trapped in the backfield.
Montreal linebacker Mark Kosmos explained, "The pitch went to Moses and we thought he was going to take it in. All of a sudden he was trapped in the backfield. Somebody had him by the leg, but it was such a sloppy field the guy couldn't get up. Moses cocked his arm and threw it. Ted (Alfin)'s back there and it's the biggest play of the game. Today he'd be ruled in the grasp, and the play would be whistled dead."
Following an exchange of field goals, Montreal scored following a Calgary interception and then on a pass play from Wade to Gary Lefevbre. The quenching final score was 23-10.
Both O'Quinn and Etcheverry would leave in 1972 after 6-8 and 4-10 seasons. Marv Levy joined the club as head coach in 1974 and the club returned to the Grey Cup. After a first place finish in the East and 9-5-2 record Montreal would defeat Ottawa 14-4 in the Eastern final to face the Edmonton Eskimos. Wade led Montreal again to victory 20-7 over Edmonton and captured his second Most Outstanding Player award. Often under appreciated by Montreal fans and across the league CJAD announcer and voice of the Alouettes in the 1970's Marc Charlebois summed up the overriding feeling of Wade.
"He is the only quarterback in the Canadian Football League who is put together with crazy glue because he keeps coming apart. He has had a lot of hard luck with injuries. He is perhaps the most criticized quarterback in Canada and he is just a super courageous guy, he has demonstrated that and he has the ability too- he has won a couple of Grey Cups." Charlebois said in 1977 for YARDS magazine.
Wade would have another outstanding Grey Cup performance in 1977. In the famed staples bowl the Montreal Alouettes overcame a slick forzen surface at Olympic Stadium with the aid of staples to defeat Edmonton 41-6. Wade was amazing completing 22 of 40 attempts for 340 yards as he was named the games Most Outstanding Player for a record 3rd time. No one can argue that Sonny was a big game performer. The face of victories for the team in the 1970's he retired after the 1978 season.