Tuesday, September 25, 2007

City League Preview Week 5

It's the 5th week of the season and Your City League Advocate is a very happy man. And no, it's not just the lingering effects from the Birthday Bacchanal and Clam Bake which is still drawing rave reviews from participants, bystanders and law enforcement personnel alike. What has gotten the Advocate's heart all aflutter is that his beloved Allderdice Dragons are the talk of the City League these days.

One does not generally hear the words: high scoring; first place tie; defeating Perry; and Allderdice football in the same sentence. This is just not something that normal, rational people can understand, but who ever accused the Advocate of being normal much less rational? These are heady times at 2409 Shady Ave and with good reason. For the first time since 1982, The Dragons beat the Perry Commodores 29-6 last Friday night to share first place with Brashear in the City League. The Advocate knows that in this region where the WPIAL is considered the kings, the City is equivalent to the court jester, but to those of us who sport the Green and White, this was a very big ugly monkey that had to be pried off the back of this football team.

64-0, 49-0, 78-6. These were past scores by which Perry had humliated the 'Dice. The last time the 'Dice beat Perry, The Advocate was in crackerjacks in Nawfulk, VA on the USS Carl Vinson prepping for our first world cruise. A lot has happened in that time. But last week, The 'Dice got a bit of redemption. The Advocate had the privilege to see the game in person, and let's just say, I have never seen an Allderdice team that focused, that confident, and that in command. The Dragons jumped out to a 21-0 lead off of TD runs by Robere King who rushed for 127 yds off 12 carries. All three of the Dragons first half scores were set up by huge plays. The first came from a fumble recovery off Perry's opening drive by the 'Dice followed by a 25 yd pass from Robert Travis to Taj Robinson to set up the 2 yd TD by King. The second score came from an 8yd scamper by Anthony Irvin set up by a tremendous 69 yd run by King to put the 'Dice up 14-0. The third score came off a blocked Perry Punt recovered by the 'Dice on the Perry 27, A 25 yd pass from Travis to King, followed by a 5 yd offside penalty against the Commodores set up the 3 yd TD run by Travis calling his own number. Perry got their lone score on the first drive of the second half when a Commodore defender picked up a 'Dice fumble and ran 29 yds for the TD. But the 'Dice got that score back with a 3 yd TD run by King to close out the scoring. Perry could not stop the Dragon running attack at all. Even the passing game which admittedly is a weak spot for Allderdice was having some success, but it was the Dragon defense that was showing its teeth, shutting down Perry's running game completely. And while the One Stars were having early success with short passes over the middle, the 'Dice's d-backs were committed to stopping the long ball, totally covering Perry's receivers like a blanket. Perry has always prided itself on having a complete passing game, but it wasn't happening this week.

The Advocate has seen Perry play many times, and he's used to seeing the Commodores destroy opponents with a confidence bordering on arrogance. This bunch was not the usual One Stars. They coughed up the ball three times to Allderdice, two of which lead to scores. By the fourth quarter, this team was dejected, frustrated and uncharacterstically undisicplined. On the other side, Allderdice was a team possessed. They sensed they had Perry on the ropes and would not let up. The 'Dice seniors finally got it. They now know what it is to lead. This was a big win for the Dragons not only because of the end of the 25 year jinx, but in a league where head-to-head results are the main tie breaker, if Allderdice can run the table except for their expected loss to Brashear, they can finish no lower than second place for the playoffs. This can be a huge thing for the 'Dice because this can provide a slightly easier road to Heinz Field. And given the state of the League thus far in the season, It's very possible that the 'Dice could end up 7-1 in the City. This week, Dragons finish their non conference schedule traveling 46 miles west to Wellsburg, West-by-gawd-Virginia to take on the Brooke Bruins. Perry jumps from the frying pan into the fire when they take on the other first place team in the City, the Brashear Bulls.

Oh, the Advocate almost forgot that there were other games in the City League this week, but frankly none of them could hold a candle to 'Dice-Perry. The Brashear Bulls extended their record to 3-0 in the City and 4-0 overall with a 40-0 smackdown of Carrick. Quamane Bryant scored four touchdowns on runs of 15, 6, and 47yds and a 38 yd reception for TD. He rushed for 122 yds on 11 carries. Jermaine Robinson went 9 of 12 for 202 yds in passing and two TD passes to Eric Hemmingway and Ed Tinker for 38 and 22 yds respectively. DaBulls just keep on rolling, and the thought that this may finally be their year is becoming more of a reality every week. The Carrick Raiders will to win their second in their last three when they host Peabody.

Speaking of the Pride of East Liberty/Highland Park, the Highlanders lost an important game to the Schenley Spartans 14-6 to drop to 1-2 in the City. The Kilties scored first, but Schenley (2-2) came back on a 21 yd TD pass from Greg Blair to Deandre Kane, and finished Peabody off with a 2 yd TD run in the fourth quarter run by Jeremy Hawkins. Peabody will look to snap their two game losing streak with a win against the Carrick Raiders, while Schenley trys to solidify their playoff hopes against Westinghouse.

Da Big Bad Bulldogs broke out of the City League dungeon with a 27-3 beatdown of the Langley Mustangs, and the Oliver Bears continued to go winless losing to Sharon of District 10 36-22.

Predictions:

Your City League Advocate went 4-1 last week to extend his record to 22-2 after 4 weeks.

Thursday September 27
7pm

Brashear vs Perry: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once, Perry dominated teams like Allderdice and Brashear with stunning regularity, but what goes around comes around and this time it's the Commodores that are on the receiving end of blowouts. Perry was manhandled by the 'Dice and this week will be further hammered by the high-flying Brashear Bulls who have only given up 8 points against City League opponents in '07. Brashear has been licking their chops for years to humiliate the One Stars and DABulls should be sending the 'Dice a present for hadning them a disheveled and discouraged Commodore squad. Brashear by 20

Friday September 28
3:30pm

Schenley vs Westinghouse: The Spartans can go 3-1 on the season and jump into 3rd place with a win over the 'Dawgs and a Perry loss. Schenley by 10

7:30pm

Oliver vs Langley: Someone has to win this game, And actually games like this are just as hard to pick as a game between two unbeaten teams because both teams have such bad records, but Oliver has not stunk as badly as Langley has, so they get the nod here. Oliver by 10

Allderdice vs Brooke (WV): According to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference website, Brooke is 4-1 and in a four way tie for second place in the AAAA race in the OVAC. Last year they were 7-3 and went to the state playoffs. Last year, the Bruins edged the 'Dice 17-14. I checked out their roster, not a lot of size, 18 seniors. Both teams are improved. This game will be a good test for the 'Dice. The most important thing is that the Dragons don't get any costly injuries and can maintain the momentum they've built up. Not having a lot of info about Brooke beyond what I was able to find and considering the 'Dice's past history with teams from WV, IThe Advocate will give Brooke the nod here. Brooke by 7

Friday September 29
12:00pm

Peabody vs Carrick. Peabody needs this win to get back into the playoff race. This is an improved Raider team, but not enough to overcome a hungry Peabody team that hasn't won sinc week one. Peaboy by 10
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