Okay kids, Your City League Advocate took last season off to embark on his career as a refrigerator salesman. He would have been boffo in the cutthroat world of Frigidare flogging if his manager hadn't given him the Alaskan territory. But the Advocate, being a plucky sort, was able to meet his quota for six months straight until an unfortunate encounter with a polar bear made him realize that maybe writing about City League football was much more productive as well as much safer. The Advocate's last sales call was to former Alaskan governor and darling of the 'Tea Party', Sarah Palin.
The Palins were so enthralled by his pitch that they not only bought every model of refrigerator that the Advocate was pushing, but also asked him to be the manager of public relations for her 2012 presidential campaign. They also sweetened the deal with a boatload of cash from the latest Congressional earmarks as well as the hand of their darling daughter Bristol, who as far as we know is now off with Levi.
The Advocate had to admit that the money would have been great, and he could live with the wackiness that would have come from living with a Palin, but he had to graciously decline the offer. Selling refrigerators in Alaska is one thing, but making Sarah Palin palatable to the remainder of the American public that wasn't involved with the Tea Party was a challenge that even a master salesman like Your City League Advocate would have found well, nigh impossible.
But The Advocate has not forgotten the teeming masses that hang on his every word as the authority on City League football. He is back for another season of tackles, rushes, passes, and the fun that makes City League football what it is. He will be on deck all season long from the opening weekend until the last City team bows out of the PIAA playoffs either with a championship or the first round.
The Advocate will be using a shorter, easier to read format for his analysis of each of the City teams, so his readers will be able to get the skinny on their favorite teams players quickly and easily.
The George will be sporting a new turf playing surface this fall. It looks like FieldTurf or one of its many variations. An improved drainage system eliminates the Mt. Everest like crown at midfield.
The Pittsburgh City League will start its 92nd campaign the weekend of Sept 3rd with eight of the nine City schools will be playing out of the league on opening weekend and also most will be playing a second non league game later this season.
The Dragons hope to snap out of the funk that has caused them to only one game in the past two seasons after making it all the way to the City League final in 2007. The Dragons are young and return nine starters on offense and defense.
Youth, which should pay off down the road. A treasure trove of running backs. A veteran quarterback
Youth, which may hurt them this season. A tough early and mid-season schedule. Questions on the defense.
Marlon Brown (5-10, 175, jr)RB, Jared Davis(6-0, 220, sr) RB, Mike Pfleger (6-4,215, sr) QB, Tyrique Jarrett(6-3 320,jr) O-Line.
Newcomers to watch:
Jay Barlow (6-3, 215, jr) TE/DE, Bishop Gethers (6-1, 190, so) DE
The Advocate's Take: Three tough early season games with the newly merged Central Valley, City League runner-up Oliver and perennial City powerhouse Brashear in a row, with Perry and Schenley back to back three weeks later will test these Dragons early and often. The Advocate can see at least four wins this season, and maybe five if they can steal one from the top four, which could put them into the running for the fourth playoff spot. Look for the 'Dice to throw the ball much more than in the past.
After missing out on the City League hardware last season for the first time in five years, the Bulls want to get back into that familiar position of playing for the title. They will have 14 returning players.
The Good: Lots of returning players. Veteran quarterback. Strong on defense
The Bad: The Bulls lost a lot of the players that paved the way to championships in '07 and '08.
Notable Returnees: Adam Lynch (5-9,165, sr)QB, RB/LB Dillon Semian, 5-10, 205, sr. WR/CB Manny Reed,( 5-9, 165, jr)
Newcomers to watch for: Joell Nesbit (6-0,210, jr) WR/CB Dom Patterson, (5-10, 175, jr.)
The Advocate's Take: Brashear will make the playoffs, the question is what seed. They have two big games back to back against Oliver and Perry in weeks six and seven when the playoff spots are hardest fought. A replay of the first round playoff matchup against Schenley in week 2 will provide an early season test. If the returnees and newcomers can step up and take the place of those who graduated, Brashear could be making another trip to the finals.
The Raiders went 3-5 last season, and have a few weapons that could allow them to make some noise in the City this season.
The Good: One of the best wide receivers in the City.
The Bad: Very young, They have to find a QB. First two games of the schedule are brutal.
Notable Returnees: Jajuan Thomas (6-2, 185, sr.) WR. Lafon Pace (6-1, 185, sr.) Slot back/DB. Damario Patterson (6-2, 185, sr.) WR.
The Advocate's Take: Carrick could make a run for the playoffs, or they could end up down in the dungeon. They have two deep threats at wide receiver that can score points, but they have to find a quarterback to get them the ball. The Raiders open with WPIAL powerhouse Seton-La Salle, and then start their City League campaign the next week against Perry. They'll have to steal a couple wins and win the ones they can to make the playoffs.
The Mustangs have gone winless in three of the last four years. They have 12 players coming back.
The Good: Lots of returnees. Nowhere to go but up. Experience along the O-line.
The Bad: Those returnees went 0-16 the past two years.
Notable Returnees: G Antonio Rosa (6-2, 345, soph.), G Anthony Campbell (5-11, 215, sr.),
QB Jaquan Green (6-0, 180, jr.), DB Tray Easton (5-6, 150, jr.), SS Alexander Christian (5-7, 160, jr.)
Newcomers to watch for: TE Hasaun Blair (6-1, 225, jr.), WR Deyshawn Martin (6-6, 200, soph.), DE Johnny Richards (5-10, 185, soph.)
The Advocate's Take: Every game will be a challenge for the Mustangs, starting with the short trip down to Carnegie to take on Carlynton. The Ponies will most likely occupy a familiar position down in the City League dungeon. But The Advocate can see them winning a game this season.
DaBears made it all the way to the City Championship last season where they lost to Schenley in double overtime in a humdinger of a City Final, the likes of which hadn't been seen in Pittsburgh in a long time. They have been picked as one of the favorites and are pretty much a lock to make the playoffs.
The Good: One of the best running backs in the league is back for another season. Plenty of returnees coming back to plug holes.
The Bad: The Bears lost a lot of starters. Will have to rely on less big plays.
Notable Returnees: RB Tyree Mathis (5-9, 190, sr.), a four year starter. OT/DT Kenneth Thomas (6-4, 260, jr.) C Josh Glover (5-7, 185, jr.)
Newcomers to watch for: TE Devante Tiller (6-1, 185, sr.), DV/K/QB LeAndre Harrison (5-7, 155, jr.), WR/DB Jocquet Foster (6-0, 160, jr.)
The Advocate's Take: The Bears scored ten touchdowns on plays of seventy yards or more last season. They don't have the personnel this season to equal that number, but don't count the Bears out of the City playoffs. Oliver is almost to the point where like the great Perry teams of the mid '00s, they don't rebuild, they reload. A tough opening game against Shady Side Academy, but except for games against Perry in week 4 and Brashear in week 7, The Advocate can see an invitation to the Dance headed out to 2323 Brighton Ave.
The Highlanders haven't been in the City Playoffs since 2004. They 3-5 last season in league play.
The Good: They have their All-City QB back after an season-ending ankle injury.
The Bad: Lack of depth and size.
Notable Returnees: QB Dontae Forte (5-9, 180, sr.), RB/ MLB Jaylen Coleman (6-0, 225, jr.), T Chavon Allen (5-10, 205, jr.).
Newcomers to Watch For: RB/S Sean Moman (5-4, 140, jr.), WR/CB Brennan Duckett (5-10, 150, jr.)
The Advocate's Take: This looks like another year for the Highlanders to be on the outside looking in.
The Commodores are the early favorites to hoist the hardware at the end of the season. They haven't won the title in five years, and they are itching to get back into the City League spotlight. They have the best QB in the City League coming back.
The Good: Lots of depth at the skill positions. A strong QB.
The Bad: None that the Advocate could see.
Notable Returnees: QB Greg McGhee (6-1, 190, sr.), WR/DB Devin Ghafoor (6-1, 175, sr.), WR/DB Ray Taylor (5-11, 215, sr.), G/DT Jordan Clayton (6-1, 215, jr.)