Okay kids, The Advocate has heard from a few, actually one inquiring mind about why he didn't write a City League Preview for the 2011 season. Quite simply, he didn't feel like it. And he was seriously thinking about not doing any kind of reporting on the City this season, but after a heart to heart with some friends and a few bottles of John Barleycorn hoisted, he decided that he owed it to the teeming masses who follow his every word on all things City League to put something out. But at least for this season there won't be a long wordy analyses about last week's results and the upcoming weekend matchups. Just a quick and dirty run-through.
Week One of the season was the usual slapdown between City and WPIAL schools and predictably, the City League was bested in 6 of the 8 games. While The Advocate has no problem with City League squads playing these games, he does not put much stock in their outcomes because neither the winners nor the losers really learn anything about their teams. The ironic thing is that the two teams that won games against their WPIAL foes were the two teams that benefited from the closing of Peabody High School at the end of last season. University Prep, the three headed hydra consisting of players from Pgh Sci-Tech, Obama Academy and University Prep School in the Hill won their very first game defeating Summit Academy 20-6, while the Westinghouse Bulldogs handled Bentworth 36-23. Both teams picked up players from Peabody's program when the Highlanders closed up shop, and at least in the case of U-Prep, it looks like the additional players will make them a factor in the City League this season. The Advocate sees U-Prep as a strong contender for the playoffs.
The usual suspects also include the Perry Commodores who look to defend their City Championship without the services of All-City QB Greg McGhee as the signal-caller, but those of you who are familiar with the One Stars knows that Perry has no problem finding a quarterback. The Advocate thinks that they clone them in a secret laboratory in the school's basement. Although he has no proof of such activity, his sources have noticed strange lights and noises and the occasional tortured scream coming from the area around 3875 Perrysville Ave.
The Brashear Bulls are once again considered as a favorite to battle the Commodores for the City hardware in November. While they lost a bunch of veteran leadership this season, they have more than enough coming back to make the playoffs.
The Advocate's Dragons are loaded with a ton of returning players including the City's leading rusher Patrick Ferguson and he'll be running behind a line that includes a 6' 3" 320lb monster named Tyrique Jarrett who has committed to Pitt. Don't expect the Dragons to throw much, The 'Dice has never been much for chucking the ball. But if they can get and keep their running game going, they'll make the playoffs and have a puncher's chance at playing in the final.
The rest of the league includes Carrick, Langley, Oliver and the 'House and the lower half of the league is pretty much interchangeable with these four teams.
This week's schedule of games:
6pm Thursday Brashear vs. U-Prep. U-Prep will play its first game at the George against the runner-up Brashear Bulls, and while the Panthers will make a game of it, The Advocate thinks that Brashear will geet their first win of the season.
3:30pm Friday Allderdice vs Oliver. Oliver was on the end of a 43-14 beatdown at Shady Side while the Dragons avoided a shutout at Central Valley falling 36-13. The 'Dice and DaBears always play each other tight and this game is usually pretty physical, but the Advocate sees the Dragons pulling out the win. A uniform note: for the first time the Advocate's memory, Allderdice will be rocking white helmets with a green stripe and on one side, a dragon logo, and the other, the player's number. The Dragon 'A' is no more.
7:00pm Friday Carrick vs Perry. This one should be over by the end of the first quarter.
7:00pm Friday Langley at Theodore Roosevelt (DC) The Mustangs make the 238 mile trip into our nation's capital to battle the Rough Riders of the DCIAA, which is the DC's version of the City League. The Rough Riders finished near the bottom of their league, which on the first look, may be advantageous for the Mustangs, but the Advocate thinks otherwise. He has always wanted to see how City League teams would compete with schools from other inner city leagues like the DCIAA and the Philly Pub. And while Langley isn't the City's best representative, it's safe to say that this will probably be the best experience the Mustangs will have this season. The Advocate will give Roosevelt the benefit of the doubt.
1:30pm Saturday Westinghouse at Linsly (WV) The Big Bad Bulldogs venture down to West By-Gawd Virginia to play the Linsly Cadets who handled both the 'House and the 'Dice by lop-sided scores last season. While I'm sure that the infusion of Peabody players into the Westinghouse system will help the 'Dawgs somewhat, The Advocate doubts whether they will give them much of an advantage over the Cadets. Linsly going away.