Monday, November 15, 2010

The City League Championship Preview

     Two old rivals will face each other across the new Fieldturf at the George on Saturday November 20, when the league leading Perry Commodores will face the Brashear Bulls for the City League Championship. Since 2003, Perry and Brashear have faced each other four times in the playoffs. The teams split the series 2-2 although Perry has won two titles while Brashear won one title game and one semifinal. Therefore these two programs know each other very well.
Brashear made it to the title game by squeaking past Allderdice 12-6 in overtime.      
     The 'Dice scored first on a Mike Pfleger touchdown pass to Jay Barlow in the second quarter. Brashear responded with an 16 yd touchdown pass from Adam Lynch to Ricky Gay in the third quarter. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter which sent the game into overtime. Brashear won the toss and elected to defend. Brashear's Delane Howard sacked Pfleger who fumbled the ball and the Dragons championships away. Brashear recovered the ball and Tre Gaines scored on a ten yard draw play on the Bull's first play on offense to send them into the Championship.
      Perry's regular season victory over Schenley required overtime and served to wake up the One Stars who may have been reading their press clippings and expected Schenley to roll over. After a scoreless first quarter, Perry scored 23 straight points to put the game away early. The One Stars got their points from All-City quarterback Greg McGhee who threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score. Chinelo Oparanozie ran for the other Commodore score. Schenley got on the board in the fourth with a DeAndre Black scoring pass, but, as they say, too little too late.
      With this loss, the Schenley Spartans have ended their 95 year run in the City League. The Spartans won eight football City Titles in their history: 1924-26, 1929, 1943, 1950, 1999, 2009. Notable football alumni include Larry Brown, running back for the Washington Redskins and Darnell Dinkins, tight end for the Cleveland Browns.

Alma Mater, God preserve thee
Dear Schenley High!
Through the years, we hope to serve thee,
Dear Schenley High!
We revere the spirit taught there,
Rev'rent minds that lived and thought there
Mem'ries of our Alma Mater,
Dear Schenley High!

Saturday November 20, 1pm
Perry vs Brashear
      The Advocate hopes that this game would live up to the hype that a City Championship game deserves, but somehow he doubts that it will. Perry dominated DaBulls in their regular season meeting 34-13. And while Brashear does have a chance for the upset, it is a very slim one. They will have to deal with far and away, the best quarterback in the City League, Greg McGhee. There are those who say that McGhee is the areas best kept secret, and that he could compete with the best of the WPIAL. With the disparity between the WPIAL and City being what it is, and considering that McGhee competes in the City League on a very good City League team that can compete with the WPIAL better than most City squads right now, his claim may have some merit. But he has dominated City League competition and the only exposure he had to the WPIAL this season didn't end well, a 28-7 loss to a very good North Hills Indian team in week 1. The Advocate generally does not put much stock in week 1 non conference games because both teams involved in most cases, haven't seen each other before and use those games as tune-ups for conference play.
      The Advocate could see McGhee doing well against mid-level WPIAL programs at the AAA level rather than the PIAA AAAA level that Perry is playing at this season. But McGhee hasn't seen the level of sophistication in the types of defenses that good WPIAL teams employ. Make no doubt about it, McGhee continues in that long Perry tradition of producing good quarterbacks that can think on their feet and have made it to Division I college ball. But competing against the best of the WPIAL? The Advocate has to respectfully disagree. This is a mostly rhetorical claim. Does he deserve inclusion in the PG's Fab 22? By all means. He has skill. He can run an offense and can create points with his arm and his feet. But given the level of competition he dominates, the Advocate doesn't see where his coaches claims are warranted. However, they do see him a lot more than the Advocate does, so maybe they are correct in their beliefs. Brashear has a few weapons of their own. Adam Lynch has directed the Bulls offense well, and Jawanza Bryant could be a factor. But unless they can find a way to shut down the most balanced offense in the City, Perry will be hoisting the hardware for a 16th time in their history. Perry

Monday, November 08, 2010

The City League Playoff Preview

     Well campers, It's playoff time. And the invites have been mailed, the dance cards have been set and it's time to see who'll be the belle of the ball and who'll be standing forlornly in the corner next to the wilted flowers and the bean dip looking like an abandoned puppy.

      For the first time this season, Perry was seriously challenged by a City League opponent. They needed a touchdown in overtime to defeat Schenley 30-28. The Commodores opened the scoring scoring only 14 points in the first half by a touchdown pass and a 3 yd run. But Schenley answered in a big way scoring 22 points off three straight runs in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Perry responded by scoring with a 24 yd pass from Greg McGhee to Devin Ghafoor to tie the game at 22. Schenley forged back ahead with a 8 yd pass from Calvin Blake to DeAndre Black to send the game into overtime. In the extra period, Perry put the game away with a Oparanozie 3 yd run. The loss put Schenley into a tie for third place with Brashear, but because Brashear beat Schenley 27-12 earlier in the season, The Spartans are put in the unenviable position of having to face Perry again in the Friday semifinal.
      Allderdice sealed its second place seeding by beating Carrick 36-22. The Dragons were paced by running back Patrick Ferguson who rushed for 142 yds on 23 carries and three touchdowns. The Dragons also scored off an 84 yard punt return from Sean Monroe and also a 3 yd run by Marlon Brown and a safety. Allderdice will play the Brashear Bulls who put the final nail into Langley's fading playoff chances beating the Mustangs 40-22. After spotting Langley an early first quarter touchdown, DaBulls went on a tear scoring 33 unanswered points to put the game away by halftime. The Mustangs outscored Brashear 14-7 in the second half, but it was too little, too late. Tre Gaines was the big scorer for the Bulls rushing for two touchdowns and returning a fumble 53 yards for a third. The Herd also got scoring from a 18 yard Jawanza Bryant pass to Manny Reed, as well as a 50 yard run by Joel Nesbit.

Thursday November 11 7pm
Allderdice vs Brashear
     Allderdice beat Brashear 12-0 back in week 3. That was an eternity as far as high school football is concerned. The 'Dice is a team of streaks. After losing their opening game, they went on a four game winning streak, they cooled off suddenly with a three game stretch where they didn't score a point against either Perry or Schenley, the other two playoff participants. But they finished with a two-game run to enter the playoffs with a bit of momentum. Brashear won four of their first six games along with a three game midseason winning streak, then two straight losses, one against a rather bad Peabody squad, and the season ending win to propel them into the playoffs. Allderdice is pretty much one dimensional. They have a stud running back in Patrick Ferguson, but not much else. They can't convert extra points. They have a pretty good defense, but they are not an offensive juggernaut, averaging only 18 points a game against City competition. The 36 points scored on Carrick was the largest scoring total by Allderdice all season. Brashear scores more points, but they also give up more. Their offense is more balanced. It'll be that offense against the 'Dice defense that will decide this game.
     If it comes down to special teams, Brashear has the decided advantage. But if Allderdice can get a 100+ yd game out of Ferguson, they can win. The Advocate is making his pick purely along bias. He wants to see the 'Dice play for all the marbles. Allderdice

Friday November 12 7pm
Perry vs Schenley
     Schenley pulled up their big boy pants and smacked Perry in the mouth. Judging by the scoring, it didn't look like Perry was resting their starters unless they put them all in in the second half. But scoring 22 points off Perry's defense in one quarter can only give Schenley a ton of confidence. The questions are: 1) Can they do it again, this time in a playoff atmosphere?; And 2)How will Perry respond. Was this a wake up call for a Commodore squad that had their way with the City League all season long and had gotten a little complacent? Or did Schenley expose a weakness?
     One must remember that Schenley also has a little extra incentive. This is their last rodeo, so to speak. The Spartans will hang up the pads for good after the season, and they don't want to go out with anything less than a shot at the City Championship. They are the defending champs after all. Perry has only been held to less than 30 points twice all season, only once to a City opponent. The defense has given up 28 points twice this season, once to Wheeling Central, a Class A West Virginia school. So they can be scored on. But the Advocate has decided that even though it pains him to see the Spartans go out short of their goal of defending their title, this close call will serve to get the One Star's attention, you can bet that the Perry coaches will rip this team a new one in practice this week and they'll be coming out ready to prove that they can dominate. Perry

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The City League Week 10 Preview

      The final week of the regular season in the Pittsburgh City League is now upon us, and for right now, at least we know that there are three definite reservations to be mailed out, and one could be still up in the air.
      Your City League Advocate sussed out all the playoff scenarios prior to the Brashear-Peabody game on last Saturday assuming that the Bulls would take care of business. Well, the Highlanders decided that if they were to close their doors, they would go out with a very loud bang dealing a large upset to the Bulls to the tune of 34-24. So at least a couple hours work went out the window and you could hear the Advocate cussing a blue streak from two miles away. Lucky there were no kids nor little old ladies in the area, although there were a few very traumatized kittens and one puppy that will need serious therapy.

The Standings.

Perry 7-0
Schenley 5-2
Allderdice 5-2
Brashear 4-3
Langley 3-4
Oliver 3-4

This is what is known now.

      Perry, by virtue of their 40-6 win over Westinghouse, has clinched the regular season title and the top seed in the playoffs. They will face Schenley on Saturday afternoon.

      The Spartans can have second place to themselves with a win over Perry and an Allderdice loss to Carrick. If Schenley loses, and Allderdice wins, (the most likely scenario) then Allderdice takes over second. If both teams lose then they will stay tied at 5-3 and Schenley will take over second seed by virtue over their head to head win over the 'Dice.

      Brashear's loss to Peabody sets up an interesting situation. If The Bulls beat Langley, they are in at 5-3 and could either go into the playoffs in a three way tie at 5-3 if both Schenley and Allderdice lose or at least in a tie with either Schenley or Allderdice if one of those teams wins and the other loses.
      In the case of a three way tie, in the City League, it's all about the head to head. No Gardner Points, No tiebreaker points, just head to head. All three teams in a three way tie are then compared head to head with each other. In this case, Brashear has head to head over Schenley, but not Allderdice. Allderdice has head to head over Brashear, but not Schenley, and last Schenley has head to head over Allderdice but lost to Brashear. In short everyone is 1-1 against everyone else in the logjam. The next tiebreaker is the head to head record against the first place team, Perry. If Schenley pulls off the win against Perry, they'd win that tiebreaker because everyone else has lost to the Commodores. Which would leave just 'Dice and Brashear which would go in favor of Allderdice because of their win over Brashear. Go all that?? Don't make the Advocate repeat that again.
      If somehow Langley were able to beat Brashear, and Oliver who has finally decided to wake up and stick their nose in the door beats Westinghouse, which they should. In short, you'd have a three way tie for fourth place with Oliver, Langley, and Brashear all at 4-4. All three teams are 1-1 against the other teams in the logjam. All three teams lost to Perry. The next tiebreaker would be the head to head against the second place team which could be Schenley or Allderdice. If it's Schenley, then Oliver gets dumped because they lost to Schenley, and Brashear and Langley beat the Spartans. And if Langley beats Brashear in their head to head, they'd get the fourth place spot.
If the second place team is Allderdice, then the next tiebreaker kicks in against the third place team which would be Schenley because Allderdice beat Brashear, Langley, and Oliver. Now, does any of that make sense?? Good!!!

Thursday November 4th 6pm
Brashear vs Langley.
      If Brashear had beaten Peabody as they should have all the kerfuffle that the Advocate just mentioned would have been for naught. But they didn't and the Bulls have to win to insure a tie for at least fourth place. Langley has to win and hope that all the crap the Advocate mentioned above comes through. Too many variables have to go Langley's way for them to make the playoffs, but Brashear has shown that they are very beatable. The Advocate thinks that Brashear has more in the tank than the Mustangs at this point, but he looks for the Mustangs to give a strong effort. Brashear by 6

Friday November 5th 3:30pm
Westinghouse vs Oliver
      DaBears should win this game as Westinghouse has been terrible all season. Under the scenarios mentioned in this piece, they are pretty much screwed any way you slice it in terms of the playoffs, but as a consolation, they can still edge out Langley to represent the Class AA teams of the City League in the PIAA playoffs if they win and Langley loses. Oliver by 10.

Friday November 6th 7:30pm
Allderdice vs Carrick
      It should be easy, right? Just beat Carrick and second place is all yours. But this is the 'Dice we're talking about, and as Tina Turner sang in her timeless rendition of “Proud Mary”, 'We can do things easy / or we can do things “ROUGH”!' (Oh that gives the Advocate a warm and pleasant feeling down in his nether regions!!) Never count on the Dragons to do things easy. That said, look or them to pull out the win and go into the playoffs on a nice bit of momentum. Allderdice by 10.

Saturday November 7th 12:00pm
Perry vs Schenley
      Perry has nothing to lose, they have first place sewn up no matter whether they win or lose. You might think that they'd maybe rest some of their starters for the playoffs. They wouldn't do that against a bottom feeder, they sure as hell won't do it against a second place team. Perry by 20.

      And the Advocate must remind everyone that Peabody played their last football game ever against the Bulls and went out with a victory. A proud athletic institution of the City League will be hanging up the pads for the last time.
The Highlanders brought seven City League football Championships to 515 N. Highland Ave.
1933, 1953, 1971, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1994.

      Some of the famous alumni to come out of Peabody were: Pro Football players, Kevan Barlow, and Mike Barnes; baseball player, John Tudor; pro basketball player, Mel Bennett; actors Charles Grodin and Frank Gorshin; dancer and choreographer, Gene Kelly; writer John Edgar Wideman; Edith S. Sampson, lawyer, judge, and first black delegate to the United Nations.

Hail to the Maroon and Grey. Hail to the Highlanders!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Debut of the Tea Room.

     In an effort to insure that "Song of the Goddesses, The Test of a God, and The Eye of Heaven" are available for posterity and for public comment and criticism,  I've decided to post all three pieces, chapter by chapter in a new blog called The Tea Room.   It is located at   I intend to post each chapter every day or two until the 40+ chapters and 175 pages of both pieces are up.  I want to make sure that in case of something untowards happens, the pieces survive.  I put a lot of time and effort and burned up more than a few brain cells in writing this stuff and I have subjected it to public scrutiny on to mostly positive reviews.   And I just want to make sure that it's always available to anyone who wants to check it out.  Please leave comments and constructive criticism. 
     I figure that all this fan-fiction writing will provide with the training I need to eventually set out on a full-fledged writing project that includes characters and a world of my own creation.  Because the characters in the three pieces are fully baked in the Oh My Goddess franchise, I can concentrate on learning how to tell a story.   Once I get that part down, then I can work on developing my own characters and world.   I haven't quite figured out what I want to do yet.  It's safe to say that it will be a futuristic sci-fi piece, probably of the utopian/cyberpunk genre. I like sci-fi in general and futuristic works in particular.  Of course this will require a lot more work in terms of research and note taking.  And I don't know when I will start on this thing.  Probably after the completion of "The Eye of Heaven"  which is a very long way from being done.   But the Tea Room is a good way of allowing me to put together two activities that I love: Oh My Goddess, and writing. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

The 2010 RMU Men's Basketball Preview Video.

h/t to Nazari Dorosh  for producing this video previewing Robert Morris's 2010 Men's basketball campaign.  Nicely done and it gets me jacked up for the upcoming season.

The City League Week 9 Preview

     This is the penultimate weekend in the 2010 City League regular season, and for those who flunked English, penultimate means next-to-last. It's one of those sixty-five cent words, you can throw around in a bar in the hopes that you can wow your buddies and impress that hot chick at the end of the bar drinking the Cosmo and licking her lips suggestively. Although while you think she's sending you a message that she's ready to go off to a quiet place for some heavy breathing, she's actually signaling that you have a glob of nacho cheese on your upper lip and you need to get rid of it post haste.
      But on to this week's City League action. The playoffs are approaching and the jockeying for playoff positions is underway. Two teams could be playing for their playoff lives this week. While one team could clinch the regular season title on Thursday night. And if you need the Advocate to tell you who that is...well then, there really isn't that much hope for you then, is there?

The Standings

Perry 6-0 -
Schenley 5-2 1.5gb
Brashear 4-2 2gb
Allderdice 4-2 2gb
Langley 3-3 3gb
Carrick 2-4
Oliver 2-4
Peabody 2-5
Westinghouse 0-6

      As expected, the Perry Commodores ran over Brashear 34-13 to remain in first place at 6-0. The Commodores can lock up the regular season title and the top seed in the playoffs with a win over the 0-6 Westinghouse Bulldogs on Thursday night.
      Schenley beat Westinghouse 22-6 and remains all alone in second place at 5-2 and they have a bye week. Currently, the Spartans have a head-to-head win over Allderdice, but have lost to Langley and Brashear and will play Perry in their last game on November 6th.
      Brashear and Allderdice are tied in third place at 4-2 with Allderdice holding the head to head advantage over DaBulls. The 'Dice suffered their third straight loss with a 49-13 smackdown at the hands of Linsly School (WV) Brashear has a head to head advantage over Schenley, but losses to Perry and Allderdice and will play Langley in their last regular season game on November 4th.
       Langley lost their second game in a row to a non playoff bound opponent. This time is was Oliver who did the honors dealing the Mustangs a 12-8 defeat. Langley holds a head to head over Schenley and like everyone else, has lost to Perry, but they have two playoff contenders in a row in Allderdice and Brashear to finish out the season.

Here is the current playoff scenario for this weeks games.

Perry can clinch the regular season title with a win against Westinghouse.

If Brashear beats Peabody, as they should, they will go into a second place tie with Schenley at 5-2.

If Allderdice beats Langley, they will also tie Schenley at 5-2. Couple that with a Brashear win, and there would be a three way tie for second place. 

If Allderdice loses to Langley, they will fall into a tie with the Mustangs at 4-3, and will need to beat Carrick in their last game to insure a spot in the playoffs. 

Langley has to win against Allderdice and Brashear to make the playoffs.

Bear in mind, all of this will change in some way or another next week. 

Thursday October 28 6pm.
Perry vs Westinghouse.
      The only way that the Commodores can lose this game is if their bus gets lost from the North Side. And even in the unlikely event that the football gods do smile on the Bulldogs and hand them one of the greatest upsets in City League history, it won't affect the One Stars standing. Look for the Perry starters to see a half at the most. Perry by 28.

Friday October 29th 3:30pm
Carrick vs Oliver.
      Both teams are just playing out the string, and maybe trying to get some of their younger players some action. There will be more people on the sidelines than in either bleacher section. Oliver by 10.

Friday October 29th 7:30pm
Allderdice vs Langley.
      Here are two teams who, like a Roman candle,  started hot and have faded fast. At one time, The Dragons were on a four game winning streak and considered one of the darlings of the league. Since then they've lost three in a row including two shutouts against City teams and 40+ points hung on them in two of the three losses. Langley started out with some impressive wins, but three losses in the last four games have brought them back to earth with a resounding thud. 
     Allderdice could survive a loss in this game, because their last game is against a very beatable Carrick squad, while The Wild Horses have to finish out against Brashear, but why leave it to chance? Better for the 'Dice to get the win this week and approach their final game with a lot less pressure on their heads. Allderdice by 6

Saturday October 30th 12pm.
Brashear vs Peabody.
      DaBulls have all but secured a spot in the playoffs and a win over the Highlanders will seal that deal. Look for the Herd to get that win. Brashear by 14.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The City League Week 8 Preview

Last weekend posted the most intriguing results in the City League all season. A couple teams apparently decided not to read the script, and didn't do what they were expected to do. A good bit of shuffling occurred in the standings. And with the regular season inching towards completion, the head to head tiebreakers have started to become a factor.

The Standings:

Perry 5-0
Brashear 4-1 1gb
Allderdice 4-2 1.5 gb
Schenley 4-2 1.5 gb
Langley 3-2 2gb
Carrick 2-3
Oliver 1-4
Peabody 1-5
Westinghouse 0-5

     Let's start with the Advocate's Allderdice Dragons. The troubles with special teams yet again conspired to bite the Dragons on the backside. Schenley's Deandre Black returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and contributed for another Spartan score. The game was a defensive scuffle with Schenley only gaining 73 yards of total offense, which was a lot more than the 44 total yards gained by the 'Dice. The win placed Schenley back into the thick of the playoff race tied for third place with the Dragons and more importantly, the Spartans hold the head to head tiebreaker should that be needed to settle a playoff spot. This was the second week in a row that Allderdice was held scoreless. And while it's okay for the weather to get colder, it is definitely not the time for the offense to go cold with only two league games left in the season. The Dragons will be hosting the Linsly (WV) Cadets at the George on Saturday October 23rd at 3:30pm. As you gentle readers remember, Linsly was the school that blew out Westinghouse 48-14 in week 2 of the season. The Schenley Spartans will take on the Westinghouse Bulldogs on Thursday Oct 21 at 6pm.
      The league leading Perry Commodores headed down to Wheeling to take on the Wheeling Central Catholic Crusaders and they needed all their weapons to hold off a tough Crusader squad. After a 7-7 1st quarter, Wheeling scored the next 14 points in the second quarter off runs of 18 and 3 yds, respectively, to lead the game at the half 21-19 but Perry would not intimidated in the second half. After allowing another Wheeling touchdown, The Commodores Greg McGhee threw two touchdown passes of 71 and 25 yards and running back Chinelo Oparanozie finished the scoring with a 34 yd run from scrimmage. The Advocate thinks its safe to say that Greg McGhee has to rank as one of the better quarterbacks in Western PA. Unfortunately, playing in the City League hurts his exposure. The Advocate doesn't put McGhee in the same class as Rod Rutherford, but he's close. The Commodores return to City League action on Friday night on the big stage when they take on traditional rival Brashear.
      DaBulls needed double overtime to get past the Oliver Bears in the Grant St. Game. DaBears and DaBulls traded touchdowns in the first quarter, the only difference was that Brashear completed the extra point and Oliver didn't. Adam Lynch put the Bulls in front 14-6 in the 2nd quarter with a 24 yd pass to Ricky Gay. But The Oliver Bears, who have been a major disappointment all season decided that they wanted to make Brashear work for this win. They responded in the fourth quarter with a Tyree Mathis 4 yd run and successful conversion to tie the score at 14. The game ended in a tie and the first overtime period ended with no score. Brashear broke the tie in the second overtime with a 10 yard run by Lynch and a successful kick for extra point put The Herd up 21-14, but Oliver came back on their posession and scored on a 10 yard pass from Shkaeem Cox to Trevon Kendrick, but the Bears couldn't connect on the conversion pass attempt and the Bulls escaped the George with a much needed and very hard fought win. Brashear took advantage of both Allderdice and Langley's losses to vault ahead of the two into sole possession of second place a half game in front of Schenley and the 'Dice and a full game in front of Langley.
      The Mustangs had a chance to cement their playoff credentials with a win over the Carrick Raiders.
After a scoreless 1st period, Langley tackled Jujuan Thomas in the end zone to score a safety. Carrick responded with a Henry Myers 19 yard pass to Zach Roach and a successful two point conversion to leap ahead 8-2.
The Mustangs tied the score on a 5yd run by Stephon Faye, and Carrick finished the scoring with a 20 yd field goal by Robert Field. With the loss, Langley falls to 3-2 and fourth place in the league. The Mustangs next game is against the Oliver Bears.
      And while this game had no playoff implications, it signaled the end of an era. The final game of the Battle of the East End was played on last Saturday afternoon. After this year, Peabody will close their doors along with Schenley. The Highlanders and the Westinghouse Bulldogs laced 'em up for one last time, and in fitting form, they took it to double overtime. Peabody scored in the 2nd quarter on a 63 yd pass from Donte Forte to Jaylen Coleman to take the 6-0 lead. Tirrell Harris recovered a fumble in the end zone to tie the game 6-6. And in the second overtime, The Kilties secured the win with a Donte Forte 4 yard run to close out this historic series 12-6.

October 21 6pm
Schenley vs Westinghouse
Allderdice will be rooting for the Bulldogs to do the improbable and beat Schenley because a win by the Spartans will put them alone in third place all by themselves and the 'Dice can't do a thing about it until next week. Schenley's won three in a row, but they are down in head-to-heads to both Brashear and Langley. The Advocate sees the Spartans going on to 5-2. Schenley.

October 22 3:30pm
Oliver vs. Langley
Even though Perry-Brashear is the top game on the slate for the week, this game could be the intriguing. Oliver took Brashear to 2 overtimes. Maybe the Bulls took the Bears lightly, or maybe Oliver has resigned to their role of spoiler. Langley needs the win to keep pace with the leaders and they hold the tiebreaker over Schenley, but are down to Perry. And they still have their two biggest games of the season coming up. Allderdice and Brashear. If DaBears can put a scare into Brashear, they can surely give Langley fits. The Advocate sees the Mustangs pulling out the win, but it could be close. Langley

October 22 7:30pm
Whenever these two City League heavyweights get together, you know that sparks will fly. This game could be the prelude to the City Championship. Brashear has the best chance of any of the contenders to cool down what has been thus far a red hot Perry offense. DaBulls are riding a three game winning streak into this contest. But Perry has all the weapons. They can run, they can pass, and they have very good special teams. If Brashear can get an early score or two, and force the Commodores to come from behind, they might have a chance, but the last thing Brashear wants is to get into a track meet with the One Stars, because Perry will run them off the field. Perry

October 23 12pm
This is the last chance that the Highlanders will have to salvage a final win for their program before the curtain falls. Carrick has to be feeling good after edging Langley. This game could be mildly entertaining. But the Advocate thinks that Carrick, while not a good team has a little more in the tank than the Highlanders Carrick

October 23 3:30pm
Linsly (WV) at Allderdice
Beating the Cadets won't help the 'Dice's standing in the City League. But it will get them off this two game losing and scoreless streak. Allderdice needs to start building back their momentum to prepare for a playoff run. Linsly is on a six game winning streak and in those wins, they have scored 293 points total for an average of 48.5 points. Not knowing much about the level of competition that they've faced, it's safe to say that the Cadets can put points on the board. The Advocate thinks that Allderdice will have to put their big boy pants on and get ready for a Perryesque offense. Linsly

Monday, October 11, 2010

The City League Week 7 Preview

      The cream is rising to the top of the City League as the playoff picture starts to clear. Perry continues to hold the top spot at a perfect 5-0, while Allderdice is all alone in second place one game behind the Commodores at 4-1.

The Standings

Perry 5-0
Allderdice 4-1 1 gb
Langley 3-1 1.5 gb
Brashear 3-1 1.5gb
Schenley 3-2 2gb
Carrick 1-3
Oliver 1-3
Westinghouse 0-4
Peabody 0-5

      If there was any doubt in your minds, gentle readers, that the Perry Commodores were anything but the real deal in the City this season, last Friday's 40-0 dissection of the Allderdice Dragons should remove it , kick it to the curb and let the local stray dogs piss all over it. The Commodore victory was as close to perfect as could have been achieved. The Perry defense shut down the top rusher in the City League limiting him to only 33 yards on 17 carries. The defense also forced three sacks, three turnovers and stopped the Dragons for losses 13 times.
      The Commodore offense also made sure they weren't left out of the party. Greg McGhee, the top quarterback in the City League, and in his coach's mind, Western Pennsylvania went 11 of 18 for 198 yards and passed for 2 touchdowns of 11 and 37 yards. Chinelo Oparanozie ran for 2 touchdowns of 3 and 17 yards.
When asked about what he thought about the Dragons, McGhee said that he and his teammates thought they were overrated. Strong words indeed. Arrogant? Maybe. But Your City League Advocate believes that it's not arrogant if you can prove it, and by all indications, Perry did just that.
      The Advocate would rather think that Perry is just playing at a different level than the rest of the league than admit that his Dragons had been exposed. The Commodores have only given up 12 points to City opponents this season. They play more like a WPIAL team than a City team. One wonders whether they've gone back to their old tricks of using their city-wide magnet school status to poach players from other schools again. They are certainly not going there for the academics. But at the risk of the Advocate calling sour grapes, he gives the Commodores their props. The swagger is back on the North Side. 
     Perry takes a break from the City League to head down to West By-Gawd Virginia to take on Wheeling Central, who had their way with the other North Side high school, Oliver beating the Bears 41-18. DaBears fall to 1-3 in the City.
     Allderdice heads back into action on Thursday night when they take on the Schenley Spartans who are currently sitting at 3-2 in the league and are just a half game behind Langley and Brashear for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Greeks climbed back into the pack after dispatching the winless Peabody Highlanders 16-12.
     If there is anything that the hapless Highlanders can take away from this season, is that since their opening loss in Lancaster, they haven't been shut out by a City opponent all season. The most points they've scored all season is 16 against Allderdice, but at least they can claim no shutouts.
     The Langley Mustangs rebounded nicely from their loss to Perry with a 30-8 win over the Westinghouse Bulldogs. Jaquan Green continues to impress throwing four touchdown passes 11,9,9,and 25 yards to three different receivers. This kid is turning out to be one of the better QB's in the City this season. It makes the Advocate feel good to see Langley, long a bottom feeder in the City League earn a little respect. They have two very winnable games coming up against Carrick this Friday and Oliver next Friday before two tough games in a row against Allderdice and Brashear to close out the season. Depending on how the rest of the season shakes out there is a good possibility that the Wild Horses could face either the Bulls or the Dragons twice within three weeks.
      The final piece of the playoff puzzle, the Brashear Bulls climbed into a tie for third place with Langley with a 25-12 win over the Carrick Raiders. DaBulls 'Double J' show was in effect with Jawanza Bryant scoring twice with runs of 4 and 6 yards, while Jamal Smith snagged a 27 yard pass from quarterback Adam Lynch. The scoring was complete with Lynch connecting with Manny Reed on a 71 yard pass for a touchdown. The Bulls next opponent will be the Oliver Bears in the Grant Street Game on Friday afternoon.

Thursday October 14 6pm
Allderdice vs Schenley
     The Dragons return to playing on Thursday nights for the first time in a month when they face the Spartans. It is important that the 'Dice get the Perry game out of their minds as soon as...10pm last Friday night. What's done is done and unless Perry slips up down the road, and don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen, the best Allderdice can do is second place. The Advocate is concerned about this game against Schenley. Schenley is one of those teams that could sneak up and trip a team like Allderdice if they are not careful. The Spartans know that time is not on their side. Their last game of the season is against Perry. So their playoff hopes depend on beating Allderdice and Westinghouse, taking the inevitable loss to Perry and hoping for a little help. If the Dragons can take care of business, the Spartans are pretty much done. A very winnable game for the 'Dice, but Coach Hazlett has to get his boys focused and ready on the short turnaround. Allderdice by 7.

Friday October 15 3:30pm
Brashear vs Oliver
     DaBulls should have little problem with DaBears. Although their next game is against Perry, so this could end up being a trap game situation the Bulls aren't careful. Brashear by 14.

Friday October 15 7:00pm
Perry at Wheeling Central Catholic.
     By and large, Wheeling Central has had the better of the play against the City League. Over the years, they've beaten Allderdice, Oliver, and Langley and have split with Brashear. This may be the toughest City opponent the Crusaders have faced. Conversely, the Commodores have not been tested seriously since their week one loss to North Hills, so they may be happy to face a worthy opponent for once. This game could go either way. But the Advocate is going with Perry in a tight one. Perry by 7.

Friday October 15 7:30pm
Langley vs Carrick
     The Mustangs have a chance to go 4-1 in the City, 5-2 overall and pretty much lock up a spot as the AA rep for the City League in the PIAA playoffs. They have the best record of the teams designated as Class AA in the City League and as long as they continue to win, even though they may not make it to the championship, they can still rep the City at the state level. Carrick has some players who could give Langley a spot of trouble, but overall, the Mustangs are the better team. Langley by 10.

Saturday October 16 12pm
Westinghouse vs Peabody.
     This could be the final game between these two storied City League football powers. Along with Schenley, Peabody will closing its doors as a high school. And if the plan making the rounds of the local media allowing the City League to merge with the WPIAL as early as 2012-13 actually comes into fruition, Westinghouse will become part of a co-operative setup with University Prep and Pgh Obama to combine sports teams. This rivalry was the big deal until the 80's. Even though both programs are a shadow of their former selves, they still remain rivals. At one time, Peabody and Westinghouse ruled the City League, but no more. Both teams are winless in the league. At the most there may be about a couple hundred total to watch this game. Next to Allderdice-Schenley, this may be the most interesting game in the City this weekend because the rivalry still has some meaning between the two schools and because both teams are evenly bad. And sometimes two bad teams can combine to play a pretty good game. The Advocate is picking the 'House in this one. Westinghouse by 7.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The City League Week 6 Preview

     An abbreviated City League Preview this week as according to tradition, once the season reaches the halfway point, The Advocate's attention shifts to those teams who are legitimate playoff contenders.
     As this is week six of a ten week season, which even according to math as it is taught in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, is over fifty percent, The Advocate will focus on the top four teams as well as any team in fifth or even sixth place that has a shot at getting into the playoffs. The next week or two will start the serious playoff jockeying as the all-important head-to-head tiebreakers start rearing their ugly heads.

The Standings
Perry 4-0
Allderdice 4-0
Langley 2-1
Brashear 2-1
Schenley 2-2
Carrick 1-2
Oliver 1-3
Westinghouse 0-3
Peabody 0-4

      The biggest game of week 5 featured the undefeated Perry Commodores taking on the surprise team in the league, the once beaten Langley Mustangs. Perry came into the game on a three game winning streak only giving up 6 points in that span. Langley had won of two of their last three games including their week one non conference game. This game was to be the first significant test for the One Stars this season, as they have pretty much steamrolled their City League competition thus far.
     Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Langley Mustangs as they were pounded 28-6. Jaquan Green opened the scoring for the Mustangs with an 18 yd pass to Stephon Faye, but the Commodores scored 28 unanswered points to take the victory with Greg McGhee running for two scores and passing for one. Langley coughed up the ball 4 times while Perry's Chinelo Oparanozie rushed 10 times for 118 yds. The Mustangs get to turn things back around with a Friday afternoon showdown against the winless Westinghouse Bulldogs. This is the beginning of a three game swing through the lower half of the City League until they face Allderdice in week 9. If Langley is able to get through that part of their schedule at least 2-1, the playoffs are looking good for the Wild Horses.
      The Commodores go on to 4-0 and will face the other overachievers in the City this season, the undefeated Allderdice Dragons. (Yes, the Advocate still can't get his head wrapped around the words undefeated and Allderdice Dragons in the same sentence, at least when talking about football. Tennis, cross country, swimming, soccer? Yes, but football??)
      But the reality is that The Green Hats are atop the City League at 4-0. The 'Dice kept pace with the Commodores by pummeling the Westinghouse Bulldogs 26-6. The Advocate witnessed this spectacle first-hand and was impressed by some facets of the 2010 Dragons. Their league-leading stud running back Patrick Ferguson rushed for a little over 100 yards, and he's built like the proverbial fireplug. He doesn't possess the speed to turn the corner outside, but he's very good between the tackles. But the real hero of the Dragons in this game was quarterback Mike Pfleger. He connected to receiver Dominic Gardner on three touchdown passes of 42,37, and 20 yds, and ran one in from one yard out.
      He was picked once but looked okay in the pocket completing 8 of 17 passes, the o-line gave him pretty good protection. As the Advocate said before, while these numbers look absolutely average, remember, Allderdice has NEVER had a good passing game.
      Pfleger and his offense will have to be on their toes because they will have their hands full with Perry's defense. And the 'Dice's secondary did look suspect on a number of long passes by the Bulldogs. So look for Greg McGhee to be feasting on that aspect of the 'Dice's defense. And this season, Allderdice has no kicking game to speak off. They didn't make any of their extra points or field goal attempts.
      Brashear was off this week and will be expecting to pull themselves back into the playoff chase with a win over the Carrick Raiders on Thursday night.
And Schenley prevailed over those same Raiders last Saturday to pull even at 2-2. They will play the winless Peabody Highlanders in a noontime Saturday tilt.
This week, The Oliver Bears will taking the road trip down to beautiful Wheeling, West By-Gawd Virginia to take on a familiar foe to those of us in the City League, the Wheeling Central Catholic Maroon Crusaders.

October 7 6pm
Brashear vs Carrick
     Brashear will have some rust that needs to be shaken off, and what better way to do so than to take on your fellow South Side rival? Barring a miracle streak of phenomenal good luck, the Raiders are pretty much out of the running with Brashear, Langley and Allderdice amongst their remaining opponents, but they can play spoiler. But the Advocate isn't seeing it. Brashear by 10

October 8 3:30pm
Westinghouse vs Langley
     This will be an interesting test for the Mustangs. Can they come back from a painful loss to regroup against a team that should certainly beat? Westinghouse had their shots against the 'Dice, but penalties and lack of discipline did them in. Langley has a great chance over the next three weeks to cement a playoff berth, and it all starts here. Langley by 7.

October 8 7:30pm
Allderdice vs Perry
     How the Advocate really wants to see his Dragons win this game. The last time the 'Dice beat Perry in 2007, they went on to go to the City Championship. It was the first win over the Commodores in 25 years. Perry is riding high, and maybe straddling the line between confident and cocky. They have the best quarterback/wide receiver combo in the league. Their defense is very good but not tested since Week 1 . They aren't as dominating as the great Perry teams from 2000-05, but they're aren't far off. The Dragons, however have the better running game. They have a quarterback who isn't afraid to throw the ball, but he'll have to be very careful against that One Stars secondary. Special teams is an adventure for the Dragons this season. They have given up a few long kickoff and punt returns. It wouldn't kill the Dragons playoff hopes if they lose, the remaining portion of their schedule is very much in their favor, but it would be a major confidence builder as well as a big boost to the overall structure of the football program. Perry by 10

October 9 12:00pm
     An opportunity for the Spartans to creep back into the playoff picture against a team that has all but picked it in. Schenley by 14.

October 9 7pm
Oliver at Wheeling Central
     If this were last season's Oliver Bears that took Schenley to double overtime in the City Championship, I'd give them a chance. But these Bears are toothless and the Crusaders should have no problems.
Wheeling by 14.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The City League Week 5 Preview

      Your City League Advocate woke up this morning, looked at his cuckoo clock and said to himself 'Are we approaching the halfway point to the season already?, Damn the time flies when you get a year older!'
      For most of the teams in the City League, the end of this week's games will mark the halfway point of the 2010 season and the playoff race will begin in earnest this week.
      There have been a couple of pleasant surprises in Everyone's Favorite Little Football League this season. The emergence of the Allderdice Dragons atop the leaderboard is one, but The Advocate really wants to focus on the great job that the Langley Mustangs are doing so far this season. They are an amazing 3-1 on the season and have not lost a City League game yet. Their win against Schenley on Saturday was a close and penalty filled game, but they were able to come back from an 18-13 deficit with a 30 yd touchdown pass from Jaquan Green to Austin Turner. This was the kind of win that energizes a team and builds confidence. The kind of win that a team trying to earn respect needs.
      The victory came despite Langley being held to only 24 yards net rushing. This Mustang squad has some players on it that have made an impact during the season. Joey Bell is providing valuable senior leadership. Jaquan Green is a capable quarterback. The Mustangs have played stingy defense thus far. In three of their first four games, they've shut out their opponent once and limited the other two to six points each. Now it can be said that their early season schedule has benefitted the Mustangs. Thus far they've only played one playoff contender and that was last week against Schenley.
      This week, Langley takes on the Perry Commodores who are sharing the City League top spot with Allderdice at 3-0. Now it's highly unlikely that the Mustangs will be able to steal a game from the One Stars who are looking more and more like the old Perry teams from earlier in the decade, but after Perry, Langley can regain its momentum and make a strong case for the playoffs with three very winnable games against Oliver, Westinghouse and Carrick before closing out against Allderdice and Brashear. But just imagine what would happen if somehow the Mustangs were to upset Perry. That would rank as one of the greatest upsets in City League history. The Advocate is very happy to see fresh blood in the playoff hunt and will be rooting for the Mustangs to finish out the season strong and go into the playoffs.
      Meanwhile, The Advocate's other favorite team, the Allderdice Dragons improved their record to 3-0 in the City League with a 27-16 victory over the Peabody Highlanders. Patrick Ferguson rushed for 170 yards on 14 carries, and Mike Pfleger and Jaylen Wilkins scored on short TD runs. Ferguson is becoming the City League leading rusher with 536 yds after 4 games. The Dragons play the Westinghouse Bulldogs on Friday Oct 1 at 7:30pm. A win here will keep the Dragons on pace with Perry at the top of the standings. The Advocate thinks that the Dragons better not fall into the trap of looking past the Bulldogs and thinking about playing Perry on October 8th. However unlikely, the 'Dawgs could bite the Dragons if they aren't careful.
      The Brashear Bulls climbed back into the playoff race with a 41-6 clubbing over Westinghouse, and they are in fourth place all by themselves in the City League. They take on the Carrick Raiders, who ventured into Ohio to take on the Howland Tigers and came back with a 48-0 defeat for their trouble.
At the bottom of the league, The Advocate has to be surprised to see the Oliver Bears sharing a dungeon cell with Peabody and Westinghouse. Last season, Da Bears went to double overtime before losing to Schenley in the City Championship, this season the Bears have only scored 6 points in four games and their chances of making the playoffs are all but gone. The Advocate knew that the Bears lost a lot during the off-season, but he is floored at how badly this season has gone for Oliver. Last week, they were dismantled by their North Side neighbor, Perry 35-0.
      Speaking of the Commodores, they have that early to mid '00 swagger back. After losing to North Hills 28-7, Perry has ripped off three straight wins and has held City League opponents to a mere six points. Greg McGhee is the premier passer in the City League this season, coming into week 4 throwing for 476 yards and six touchdowns. He tacked on another 225 yards of passing and two more touchdown passes in the win against Oliver. And behind every great quarterback there is a great receiver, or in Perry's case, two in Devin Ghafoor and Eric Frye. Perry has always been one of the best passing teams in the run-happy City League and this season is no exception. The Commodores are the favorite to win their first City Title since 2005.

The Standings

Allderdice 3-0
Perry 3-0
Langley 2-0
Brashear 2-1
Carrick 1-1
Schenley 1-2
Westinghouse 0-2
Oliver 0-3
Peabody 0-3

Thursday September 30, 6pm
Langley vs Perry
      When was the last time that a Langley-Perry matchup held any significance in the City League? The Advocate has to figure it was back when he was still in diapers. Of course they played with leather helmets back then. But this is the first major test of the season for the Mustangs, and to be sure they will give the Commodores their best shot. If the Wild Horses can somehow pull out the win, what a boost it would give a program that is usually the City League doormat. Perry is red hot right now and they are firing on all cylinders, but the One Stars better not look past Langley towards the game against Allderdice, the 'Stangs could trip them up, but The Advocate thinks that Perry is too smart to lulled into the trap game scenario. Perry by 10.

Friday September 30 3:30pm
Peabody vs Oliver.
      Believe it or not if one of these teams could get hot right now, they could make the playoffs. But Oliver has been a complete train wreck scoring only six points in their four games played thus far. Peabody has been marginally better. Look for the Kilties to break into the win column and start their playoff drive. Peabody by 14.

Allderdice vs Westinghouse
      Like Perry, the Dragons cannot afford to look past the 'House on their way to October 8th. There is no reason why the Green Hats should lose this game unless it is because they take their eyes off the obstacles in front of them. Another great opportunity for the 'Dice to gain some needed momentum before what could be the biggest game of the season for them as well as the City League in general.
Allderdice by 14.

Saturday October 2 12pm
Carrick vs Schenley
      Carrick is still in contention for the fourth spot in the playoffs despite being held scoreless in their three losses. But their lone City win was a 42-0 shutout of Westinghouse, so for the Tribe it's either feast or famine. They will be going against a Schenley Spartan team that has come out of the gate flat losing to Langley and Brashear while beating up on Oliver. This game is could actually be mildly entertaining and The Advocate could go either way on this one. But in the PSB City pick 'em he went with Schenley. Schenley by 6.

     Finally a tip of the chapeau to the Wilkinsburg Tigers who with a 26-21 win over Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, finally entered the WPIAL record books with their 500th win in school history. Only 18 other schools can claim that distinction. The Tigers were stuck on 499 for almost two years and have only won 4 games in the last four years. The problems of the Wilkinsburg program are many and have been discussed ad nauseum. But It's good to see a ray of sunshine fall on the Wallace Ave school. The Advocate has always had a soft spot in his heart for the Tigers and hopes that one day that program can be resurrected to its former glory.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The City League Week 4 Preview

      Your City League Advocate is one hurting unit right now, boys and girls. As you may remember, The Advocate celebrated his 48th birthday by hosting his annual Birthday Bacchanal and Clambake. Everyone was having a hoot and a holler. There was much drunkenness and wreaking of havoc, and more than a few virtuous members of the opposite sex are...shall we longer so virtuous.
       And The Advocate is pretty sure that the undisclosed location where the Bacchanal was held may never recover from an environmental point of view. It was told to the Advocate that after all the mess was cleaned up, the local furry woodland creatures were seen dancing a jig, although he is sure that it wasn't as a result of drinking the Ragnarok that was dumped on the ground in copious quantities.
      Much of the event is no more than a haze due to the large amount of very lethal drinks consumed plus the Advocate's failing memory. Although he does remember waking up in the middle of a creek with a cheerleader, a llama and a rocket launcher. Hmmm...nah!!! Make of that what you will, gentle readers. But it was yet another astounding birthday Bacchanal and plans are already underway for the 2011 and 2012 editions. The Advocate will not disclose what he has in store for the next two years, but he will say that there will be explosions, drinks that sterilize small animals and humans and a lot of members of both the male and female persuasions losing a large amount of their virtue.
      But Your City League Advocate is nothing if not a trooper, so he roused himself from the rack, battling a screaming headache to bring you his Week 4 City League Preview.
      The big news this week is that The Advocate's Dragons of Allderdice have become one of the City's hottest teams right now. They are 2-0 in the City and passed one of their biggest tests this season by shutting out Brashear 12-0 on a rainy Thursday night. The Dragons forced DaBulls into six turnovers, five by fumble, and running back Patrick Ferguson scored both Dragons touchdowns on the way to running for 162 yards. Brashear was the Advocate's pick to oppose Perry in the championship game.
     And the fact that Allderdice beat them and also shut them out says a lot about the makeup of this Dragon squad. The 'Dice has a golden opportunity to further strengthen their case for a playoff berth because their next two games are against winless Peabody and a Westinghouse team that has had 90 points dropped on them since their week 1 win.
     At the risk of jinxing the Dragons, and The Advocate is sure that none of them reads his scribblings, the way it's looking, other than Perry and the non league game against Linsly, There is no City team on the Dragon's schedule that they can't beat. Now of course, knowing the Advocate's luck they'll lay an egg against their East End rivals and make him look like the big fool that he is. But considering the house of horrors that the George has been the last two seasons for the 'Dice, maybe this is the year that, The Advocate needs to just shut his piehole and let things play out. .
      The team that is tied for first with the 'Dice, the Perry Commodores continue to roll on destroying Peabody 40-6 for their second straight 40+ point scoring effort since their loss to North Hills in week one. The McGee-Ghafoor Show is getting it done for the One Stars. The pair hooked up for a touchdown as well as scored TD's on their own.
     Like Allderdice, The Admirals have two very winnable games against Oliver and Langley to tweak and tune their game before what looks like the biggest game of the City League season on October 8th at 7:30 a possible 4-0 Allderdice against a 4-0 Perry for first place in the City and the all important head to head tiebreaker. Now of course this is all subject to Oliver, Langley, Peabody and Westinghouse reading the script and rolling over and allowing Perry and the 'Dice to do what has to be done. Which of course in the City League is never a bet to put the kiddies college fund on.
      So beyond the big two, who else can make some noise in District 8? How about the Langley Mustangs? The Wild Horses have been a pleasant surprise in the City League this season going 2-1 overall. They jumped out to a 6-0 lead against Homer Center last week only to have the Wildcats score 20 unanswered points to seal the non league victory. Their only City League win was a 27-6 beatdown over Peabody, so the 'Stangs haven't really shown that they have what it takes to hang and bang in the City this season, but they can answer that challenge by taking on and beating Schenley who scored 6 points in each quarter to shut out the Oliver Bears 24-0. The Spartans raised their record to 1-1 in the City and can thrust themselves into the thick of the burgeoning playoff hunt with a win over the Mustangs.
      The Carrick Raiders bounced back from their 46-0 loss to Perry by administering their own slap fest to the tune of 42-0 over the Westinghouse Bulldogs. The Raiders are in the same position as Langley, so the Advocate thinks. They can make some noise to vie for a playoff berth, but they have to start beating opponents that count. But that will have to wait until next week because it's Carrick's turn to leave the reservation. (Sorry, it was just sitting there!)
     The Raiders will travel 85 miles northwest into Warren, Ohio to take on the Tigers of Howland High School. From what the Advocate has been able to glean from the Google machine, Howland plays in Ohio's Division 2 and is currently 4-0. Since 2007, the Tigers posted records of 10-2, 6-5 and 11-1 and have won two straight league titles. So this game looks like it will be a big challenge for the Raiders.
     One team that has the Advocate concerned is the Oliver Bears. DaBears are 0-3 overall and have had 48 points hung on them in their two City League losses. This was a squad that was supposed to contend for the title at the beginning of the season, and they still have time to get things squared away, but they still have Perry and Brashear left to play as far as contenders go and Allderdice already owns the head to head over them, so The Bears are going to have to get going if they want to make the playoffs. And they can do so by beating their North Side nemesis, Perry. Good Luck with that.
      The Peabody Highlanders are winless on the young season and the Bulldogs aren't much better sitting on one win. And this week won't get any easier as the 'Dawgs will be taking on a very angry Brashear Bull team and the Highlanders will battle the league leading Allderdice Dragons. (How weird does that sound?)
The Advocate hopes that Peabody can muster up at least one win this season. It has to be painful knowing that your school is about to close and many of your fellow students will be transferred to your biggest archrival. It is truly sad to see such proud and iconic City football powers like Peabody and Westinghouse reduced to a shell of their former selves.
       Most people these days don't remember how Peabody and Westinghouse used to terrorize the City year in and year out. The Peabody-Westinghouse game was an annual event in Homewood and East Liberty back in the day. Everyone who was anyone showed up for that game. It is hoped that the infusion of the Peabody students will make the 'House stronger in athletics overall, but that remains to be seen.

The Standings
Perry 2-0
Allderdice 2-0
Langley 1-0
Brashear 1-1
Carrick 1-1
Schenley 1-1
Westinghouse 0-1
Peabody 0-2
Oliver 0-2

Thursday September 23 6pm
Westinghouse vs Brashear
      The Bulls are angry that they had one of their worst performances against Allderdice. Six turnovers are unexcusable. They can't blame the rain because it rained on Allderdice too and they didn't cough up the ball. They will take their anger out on the Bulldogs and the result won't be pretty. Brashear by 14.

Friday September 24 3:30pm
Perry vs Oliver.
      The Battle of the North Side continues in this afternoon tilt. Oliver needs to get the ship righted, but it won't happen this week. The hardest task for Perry will be to keep from getting complacent. Perry by 21.

Friday September 24 7:30pm
Allderdice vs Peabody.
      The 'Dice has a great chance to build up momentum over the next two weeks before their big test against Perry on October 8th. The Dragons could do something that they rarely ever do and that is hang over 30 points on a team. Even more rare is a the 'Dice mercy ruling a team, and it could happen this week. Allderdice by 21.

Carrick vs. Howland (OH)
      The Raiders will be traveling into hostile territory against a team that is undefeated so far. The Advocate just hopes that Carrick can make a decent showing. Howland by 14

Saturday September 25 12pm
Schenley vs Langley.
      The surprising start by the Mustangs has many City League observers pleasantly surprised. But this is the first stern test in the City that Langley has faced, and if they want to send a message that they want to be considered a player in the City League this season, now is the time to so it. But the Advocate doesn't think so. Schenley by 10.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The City League Week 3 Preview

     Okay campers, for the first time ever, Your City League Advocate is reporting live from his 13th Annual Birthday Bacchanal and Clambake. Currently being held in an undisclosed location, The Advocate decided this year to host his City League Preview on the scene instead of after the event as in years past.
     The reason is, quite simply, that Your City League Advocate is getting a little long in the tooth, and his memory as well as his ability to bounce back from 24 hours of alcohol-fueled insanity involving hundreds of people in varying states of drunkeness as well as undress, is not what it used to be. These days it takes a full three days before the Advocate stops seeing pink elephants dancing on the ceiling and his head stops pounding like Keith Moon had been using it as a snare drum.
     And considering that the current week's slate of games starts in three days, it was decided that the Advocate should just do his reportage now while his head is still relatively clear.
     Let's get the bad news out of the way. The “Catch the Virgin” contest Sponsored by Extenze had to be cancelled this year not because of a lack of virgins, although they are becoming increasingly rare, but a lack of participants.
     Too many of the contest regulars are either too scared to sign up because their wives will divorce them in a hot minute, or they just don't have the wherewithal to complete both parts of the contest.
     As you may remember, in 2008, “Mad Mike” Muchacho had caught the virgin in record time, but he could not complete the second half of the contest, and The Advocate need not discuss what that part is. Only three intrepid souls signed up and we just decided that it wasn't enough to hold the contest.
     The Most Lethal Drink Contest sponsored by Jack Daniels is going well. The current leader going into the final round of judging is an interesting little potion called Ragnarok. The Advocate doesn't know much about this libation, but he saw one of the drink's creators feed it to one of the many furry woodland creatures that inhabit this remote location. The critter grew to the size of a tiger and ate the poor man.
     Currently we're using a few of the rocket launchers provided by the Army for use in the “Fun with High Explosives” event to fend the ravenous beast off. We were thinking of throwing it one of our spare cheerleaders, but cooler heads as well as those with law degrees and bar cards prevailed.
     At least no one grabbed one of the aforementioned rocket launchers and cooked off a round scattering patrons and scaring the animals to death...yet.
     This was just a taste of the fun and games that were going on during the Bacchanal, but The Advocate must not forget his first function and that is to provide the best in analysis of the Pittsburgh City League.
      For all but one team, this was the opening weekend of City League action. And the first game of the weekend did not disappoint. The Allderdice Dragons broke a 6-6 second quarter tie by scoring 18 unanswered points on the way to a 24-6 drubbing of the Oliver Bears. Considering that the Advocate picked DaBears to be one of the teams to make it to the playoffs this season, he believes that this qualifies as a mild upset.
      What was even more astounding was that Quarterback Mike Pfleger went 6 for 8 and passed for 119 yards and ran for 1 TD and passed for another. 'Big deal', you might say. 'Hell, there are a dozen QB's in the WPIAL that post better numbers in one quarter.' And you'd be right, Bunkie. But remember, this is the City League and Allderdice we're talking about.
     The 'Dice has never been a good passing team. And the last two years were especially horrible. When a 'Dice QB winds up to throw the ball, the fans cringe in fear because the results are often too painful to bear. Patrick Ferguson ran for 132 yds and scored two TD's in the 'Dice's win. Now this is only one game, and The Advocate can't tell whether Oliver just had a bad day or whether the Green Hats have improved that much in the offseason.
     The Dragons' mettle will be tested in their next game of the young season when they take on the Brashear Bulls, who dispatched the Schenley Spartans 27-12. The Bulls scored 14 points in the first quarter and never looked back. Bulls QB Adam Lynch ran for one score and passed for another while they scored two TD's off Schenley turnovers. The Greeks will attempt to right the ship when they take on Oliver
     The Perry Commodores bounced back from their stinging defeat at North Hills with a 46-0 blowout of the Carrick Raiders. Quarterback Greg McGhee went 13 for 23 and passed for 203 yards with three touchdowns and one pick. His favorite receiver on the day was Devin Ghafoor who was the recipent of eight of McGhee's passes for 102 yds and two TD's. This combo could be the best QB/WR pair in the City League this season. Perry's next opponent will be the winless Peabody Highlanders who dropped a big 27-6 decision to the Langley Mustangs who are 1-0 in the City and 2-0 overall.
     Don't look at the Advocate like heard him correctly. The Langley Mustangs are undefeated. The Advocate will give his gentle readers a few moments to wrap their heads around THAT development. Somewhere in the wide expanse of the City of Pittsburgh, heads are exploding all over the place.
     Details of Langley-Peabody game were not avilable to the Advocate at the time, but he has to guess that this recent turn of events has to have the folks over on Sheridan Road thinking playoffs. And even though the chase is still at least a month away, this hot start for the Mustangs can only give them a ton of confidence. Something that poor doormat of a program has needed for a very long time. The Wild Horses travel 55 miles down Rt 22 to play the Homer Center Wildcats for their final non conference game.
     And finally, the Big Bad Bulldogs of George Westinghouse High School traveled down to Linsly School in West By-Gawd Virginia to battle the Cadets. Any chance of the 'Dawgs bringing their non league schedule to a close by being the first City League team to win both of their non-league games was crushed by the prep school 48-14. According the account the Advocate received, the Bulldogs mustered 220 yds of total offense, but most of it came on four big pass plays. The House were outgained on the ground 262-6 and never forced Linsly to punt once. The next game for the Big Bads will be against Carrick for their City League opener.

The Standngs

Langley (1-0, 2-0)
Allderdice (1-0, 1-1)
Brashear (1-0, 1-1)
Perry (1-0, 1-1)
Westinghouse (0-0, 1-1)
Carrick (0-1, 0-2)
Schenley (0-1, 0-2)
Oliver (0-1, 0-2)
Peabody (0-1, 0-2)

6pm Thursday September 16th

Brashear vs Allderdice
This could be the most intriguing game of the week. Allderdice's dominance of Oliver last weekend raised a bunch of questions in the Advocate's mind. Was Allderdice really good , or did they catch Oliver on a bad night? This game will answer some of those questions. A win by the 'Dice could send a pretty strong message to the top half of the league that the Dragons are a player to be reckoned with. Brashear scored 27 points against the defending City Champs which means they have some firepower of their own. After the last two years, the Advocate has not been sold on whether the Dragons are the real deal yet. Brashear by 10

3:30pm Friday September 17.

Carrick vs Westinghouse.
Both teams are coming off very bad losses. Carrick has been hammered twice. The Bulldogs went 1-1 against non-league schools which is quite respectable given the City League's history against non City opponents. This will be the City opener for the Big Bads and they are gonna want show that they learned something the past two weeks. The Advocate likes the 'Dawgs in this one. Westinghouse by 7.

7:30pm Friday September 17

Peabody vs Perry.
This game will be over by the end of the first quarter. Peabody is a mess. Perry by 28.

Langley at Homer Center.
The Advocate doesn't know much about Homer Center other than they are 0-2 and were outscored 73-6 in their first two games. They are out of District 6 near the center of the state and they are a Class A school which should allow Langley to match up with them. The skinny The Advocate has gotten says that they have a lot of seniors back, but they aren't very big. They limped into the playoffs last season with a 5-5 record, but they got blown out in the first round. Not knowing much about the level of competition the Wildcats face in their conference, the Advocate will give Homer Center the benefit of the doubt. Homer Center by 7.

12pm Saturday September 18
Schenley vs Oliver.
Both teams are 0-2 and need to turn things around. The Advocate thinks that Oliver's loss to the 'Dice while not a fluke, was very much unexpected. The Bears will come out strong for this game. And the Advocate likes them to defeat Schenley, although look for a tight game. Oliver by 7.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The City League Week 2 Preview

       The first week of high school football in the City League is in the books and as expected, the City fell a little short. The City League went 2-7 against an assortment of WPIAL teams of varying levels and classes and a team from Lancaster. The closest game of the bunch was settled by 8 points. No losing team scored more than 8 points. The City was outscored 235-42, and the two City teams who were able to pull out wins, were the two least likely teams to succeed in games against the WPIAL, Langley and Westinghouse.
       Some of the teams faced were expected to leave the City on the short end. North Hills and Seton La Salle are perennial WPIAL playoff contenders. Shady Side Academy went to the WPIAL playoffs last season, and Central Valley, the new merger between Center and Monaca high schools, was made up of two teams that also made the WPIAL playoffs. But two games that the City lost and lost big have Your City League Advocate scratching his head.
      The Knoch Knights went 3-7 last year and were projected as being a contender in their conference for this season, yet they destroyed one of the top teams in the City League, Brashear by an eye watering 56-7. Is Brashear really that bad, or was this just the usual first game between two teams that had never played each other and didn't now what to expect? The Advocate will leave that question to the teeming masses to answer.
      But, to the Advocate, the most disturbing result was Schenley, the defending City League Champion losing big to Summit Academy. Summit Academy, for those who are not familiar with the school is a reform school in Butler County that takes delinquent boys that have been sentenced there by a judge as an alternative to serving their time at a juvenile detention facility.
      From a football point of view, the nature of the school is such that because the students don't spend more than a year there, the coaching staff has to literally create a new football team from scratch every year, and many of the players have never played high school football, and in some case, never played any level of organized football.
      As a result, the Knights are usually at the bottom of their conference, although they have come close to making the playoffs the last two years. But still, you'd think that a program like Schenley would be able to handle such a squad as Summit, right. Well apparently not. Because the Spartans lost 34-8.
      Now one reason could be that because Schenley is closing at the end of the school year, and only has 12th graders it can call their own, and they have to make up the rest of the team with players from the IB school at Reizenstein as well as the University Prep school in the Hill. Maybe some of their better players have decided to transfer to other schools. This may be a portent for what's to come down the road. Who knows.
      But The Advocate has to tip his chapeau to the two City League teams who defended District 8's honor when the big boys couldn't, and props are to be given to the Langley Mustangs and Westinghouse Bulldogs who won their games over Carlynton and Bentworth by 8-0 and 12-0 respectively. The Advocate believes that the coaches of those schools were smart in scheduling teams that they could actually have a legitimate shot of defeating. For programs mired at the bottom of the league year-in and year-out like the 'House and Langley, every win is important, and these victories could just maybe provide the spark to bring new life into these long suffering teams.
       Now that last week's games have been consigned to the pages of history, Your City League Advocate looks forward to this weeks matchups. For all but one team, the City League season opens in earnest, while Westinghouse has to play their second non-league contest against Linsly School from West-By-Gawd Virginia.
       No Thursday Night City games this week due to the 'House going on the road, so the the first game for your perusal will be the Allderdice Dragons going against the Oliver Bears at 3:30 on Friday the 10th. Last season, Oliver flattened the 'Dice 26-0 on their way to an appearance in the City Championship. DaBears are picked by the Advocate to make the playoffs yet again, but he doesn't think they quite have the,uh bears (?) to hoist the hardware. The Dragons, however, want to get back to the form that got them to the City final in 2007. The Green Hats participated in the Riverview passing league during the offseason, and they hope that the extra work will pay off this season, because those who have watched Allderdice football in the past know that passing for the Dragons, is an adventure at best and a disaster at the worst. Despite the renewed effort to improve the passing game, the Advocate still does not think that the Dragons are ready to beat the Bears. Oliver by 10
      The nightcap for Friday is the first significant matchup between potential playoff contenders this season when the Schenley Spartans and the Brashear Bulls face off at 7:30pm. Last year, the Spartans were destroyed by the Bulls 36-6 in the regular season, but got their payback by knocking the Herd out of the playoffs. Both teams were crushed by their WPIAL opponents last week, and are looking to get the foul taste out of their mouths. So this game will determine who will recover more completely from their embarrassment. The Advocate thinks that Brashear will take the measure of the Greeks. Brashear by 10
Saturday Sept 11 has the Peabody Highlanders going up against the Langley Mustangs. The Highlanders took the four hour trip to Lancaster McCaskey and were treated to Lancaster County hospitality in the form of a 47-0 welcoming beatdown.
      Now because of the Board of Education's plans for reforming the city's high schools, this means that Peabody will also be joining Schenley as one of the City League's “fallen flags” at the end of the school year, and many of their better players may have decided to transfer to other schools.
     According to a report the Advocate read from a Lancaster newspaper about last week's game, Peabody only brought 17 players up to the McCaskey game, so there is a possibility that the dismantling of the football program has already begun. This is the first league game of the season, so it is too early to tell as to how this season will shake out for the Kilties, but from the way it looks to the Advocate thus far, it could be a long and painful season for a once proud football program.
      Langley has the chance to open the season 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the league. Something that hasn't happened since the days of raccoon coats, 23-skidoo, and leather helmets. The Advocate figures that the Ponies better be making hay (or eating hay, as horses are wont to do) while the sun is shining on them. They will be playing the second of their non-league games against Homer-Center next week and then come back to face Schenley after that. And something tells the Advocate, who unlike his politics, is usually pretty conservative when it comes to picking high school games, that maybe this could the time for him to stick his neck out and pick Langley to win this game. Langley by 3.
      3:30 on Saturday the 11th brings the Carrick Raiders and the Perry Commodores together for a little tete a tete, but I don't think that tea and crumpets will be on the menu. More like knuckle sandwiches.
Both teams were slapped around by top level WPIAL playoff contenders in the first week. But the Advocate thinks that Perry will end up taking its frustrations out on the Raiders. Perry by 14.
      At 7:30 on the Friday the 10th, The Westinghouse Bulldogs will be taking the 64 mile trip down to Wheeling, West-By-Gawd-Virginia to face the Cadets of Linsly School. From what the Advocate has heard, Linsly is pretty deep in terms of returning players. Not a lot of size but but pretty strong on the lines. An interesting tidbit, Former Steeler and NFL Hall of Famer, Mel Blount's son, Akil plays for the Cadets. This won't be the first time that Linsly will be facing City League competition. The Cadets will head up to the George to take on Allderdice on October 23. It looks like the Bulldogs will have their hands full with this team. And the Advocate will venture to say that the Cadets will have the better of this contest. Linsly by 7.
      Be sure to check out next week's preview when the Advocate gives his exclusive coverage to that annual exercise in hedonism, gluttony, bad manners and utterly unwholesome behavior, Your City League Advocate's 13th annual Birthday Bacchanal and Clambake. Provided that he survives it, of course.