Friday, September 30, 2011

This Week in the City League Week 5

     Your City League Advocate is lamenting the end of his favorite month, September once again for another year. Fall is officially here, and the days are getting shorter, The Advocate has to pull out his thick jammies. No more going commando on those hot summer nights.
     A nip of cool breezes is in the air, and depending on where you're reading this, the trees are starting to shed their leaves. Football in the City League is in full swing. The haves are starting to separate themselves from the have-nots, but there is still plenty of jockeying for playoff positions as the City enters the fourth week of league play.

Standings

Brashear 3-0, 3-1
Perry 2-0, 2-2
University Prep 3-1, 4-1
Westinghouse 1-1, 2-2
Allderdice 1-1, 1-3
Langley 0-1, 2-2
Oliver 0-3, 0-4
Carrick 0-3, 0-5

     The Brashear Bulls are at the top of the table, as the Brits like to say. Last Friday, the Herd shut out the Westinghouse Bulldogs 31-0. And this week, they're taking a bye. The next two weeks will have them facing bottom feeders Carrick and Oliver to build up momentum for a pivotal matchup against archrival Perry on Oct 21, which could be a prelude for yet another Brashear-Perry City Championship final.

     Speaking of the One Stars, they pulled out a squeaker of a win against the Oliver Bears 14-12 in the North Side Derby. The Advocate saw video of this game, and Perry did not look good. Missed tackles, interceptions, generally sloppy football. Not the kind of play that The Advocate was used to seeing from the Commodores. Not sure whether Perry is still reeling from the beatdown in Maryland two weeks ago, or if they are suffering injuries to key players, but you have to think that the rest of the league is feeling that Perry could be vulnerable. The One Stars have three important games against playoff contenders coming up in October and November: Allderdice on the 7th; Brashear on the 21st; and the season ender against U-Prep on Nov. 4th. Tonight, Perry goes up against Langley at 7pm at the George.

     University Prep keeps rolling along as they pick up where their predecessor, Schenley left off. The Panthers have won three in a row against the lower half of the league, and they only lost to Brashear by nine points in Week Two. They rolled over a hapless Carrick Raider squad 48-0 last night. An interesting fact. In their four wins, U-Prep has scored an increasing amount of points. 20 against Summit Academy; 25 against Oliver; 36 against Langley; and 48 against Carrick. And in those four wins, they have only given up six points, and a miserly 22 points for the season. The next game for the Panthers will be the 14th of October against Allderdice.

     The Advocate is not exactly sure what to make of the Westinghouse Bulldogs this season, as they have only played two City League games. They destroyed Carrick 36-0,(who hasn't, thus far?), but got their butts kicked by Brashear 31-0. This afternoon in the No Man's Land time slot, they'll be playing a team that is in a similar boat, the Allderdice Dragons. The 'Dice rolled Oliver 35-0, but lost to Brashear 13-10 on a failed fake field goal attempt late in the game. The Advocate gives the 'Dice marks for innovation, but a fail in execution. Last week, the Dragons faced the same Fort Hill team that steamrolled Perry down in Terp-land. But this time, the Sentinels came up to the George. And while the score wasn't nearly as lop-sided, the result was still the same, The Sentinels ran all over, under and around the Dragons 27-9. Ft.Hill scored three of its four touchdowns off running plays, and held a 14-3 lead at halftime. The Dragons finally got into the end zone on a Patrick Ferguson 3 yd run, but the game was in the bag by then. Both teams have big games coming up against U-Prep and Perry. The 'Dice takes on the Commodores next week, while the Big Bads get them on the 27th.

     Langley played its first City League game of the season last week after three straight road games against non D8 teams, and they got crushed 36-0 by U-Prep. Tonight, they go against a Perry team that is looking to regain their swagger. The Mustangs have yet to play the two bottom squads Carrick and Oliver, but wins against them and an upset of one of the big boys might give the Ponies a shot at the playoffs.

     Carrick, give them credit for putting a team on the field. They've only scored 15 points in five games and have been held scoreless in their last three. Then again, look at the competition they've faced: WPIAL powerhouse Seton La-Salle in week 1; Perry in week 2; Howland (OH) who is undefeated thus far in week 4, and U-Prep yesterday. It's like being shot, stabbed, put on the rack, and then drawn and quartered one after the other. Even Westinghouse put a smack on the Raiders. Can they ever catch a break? Umm, not next week. They have Brashear on the 6th . They might have a chance against Langley, and then it's on to Ft. Hill. They have a legit shot at Oliver and mercifully, the season drags itself off to die in the corner against Allderdice. Sometimes, the Advocate wonders how teams like Oliver and Carrick can even keep their players motivated enough to play. It's easy to come out to practice and watch film and endure the bumps and bruises when you're winning, or if you even have a chance for the playoffs, but when you're getting smacked week in and week out, and the only way you're going to the playoffs are if you buy a ticket, and you're still willing to go out and work? That takes guts. The Advocate's heart goes out to the Carrick Raiders and the Oliver Bears.

     Speaking of the Bruins, they will head down to Wheeling to play the Maroon Kinghts. This will be the first of two straight games against non-conference opponents. Next week, the Bears will host a very strong Mercyhurst Prep squad from Erie, PA. Like their fellow bottom feeders from the South Side, the Bears haven't won all season, although they hung tough against Perry in a losing effort 14-12. Oliver has the fortune of having the majority of their toughest City games out of the way, with only Brashear left. The rest of their league games are very winnable. And while the playoffs are all but unreachable DaBears have a chance to get out of the doghouse, which is more than the Advocate can say about Carrick.

Friday September 30 3:30pm
Allderdice vs Westinghouse. Both teams are looking for a win to get their seasons moving. The 'Dice haven't won in three weeks, the 'House in two. Allderdice has the running game and the size to push the 'Dawgs around. But the 'House can score points. In their two wins, they scored 36 points each. But the Dragons played a tougher schedule thus far. Look for the Dragons to prevail in this one.

Friday September 30 7:00pm
Perry vs Langley The Commodores need to get the ship righted, quick, fast and in a hurry. With critical games coming up against playoff contenders, the sooner they get squared, away the better. The march to the playoffs starts now with a win against the Mustangs.


Friday September 30 7:00pm
Oliver at Wheeling Central Catholic The Advocate has often wondered, in all the games City League teams have ever played against Wheeling Central, they have never made a trip from West By-Gawd Virginia up to the George. It's always been the City team that had to travel down there. Is it because they don't know how to use GPS's in West Virginia, or maybe that they don't know how to drive? The Advocate doesn't remember any West Virginia team ever coming up to Pennsylvania to play a City squad. Maybe they have a law down there forbidding them from leaving the state because they might end up defecting. Who knows? But the Bears will make the 40-odd mile trip down to the Dog Track to play the Knights, and if form follows, they'd probably be better off going next door and laying a fiver or two on the pups.