By 9:30pm last Saturday night, the five City League schools who played over the weekend, were questioning witnesses as to whether anyone had gotten the license plates of the trucks that mowed them down. Non-conference opponents committed multiple hit and run offenses against the Advocate's teams to the tune of a 192-55 display of utter smackage. The only team to escape the beatdown was University Prep and that was only because their game against Gilmour Academy was canceled.
The only game that could be deemed as competitive was the Brashear-Erie Strong Vincent game on Thursday night in which the Colonels were able to eke out a last minute score to win 21-14. Beyond that and Allderdice's 35-20 loss to Wheeling Central where Patrick Ferguson rushed for 155 yds and 2 touchdowns, the rest of the league was folded, spindled and mutilated at the hands of opponents from West-By-Gawd Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia.
Perry scored on its opening drive on a 73 yd TD pass from Ahmad Turner to Mallory Claybourne, but Liberty Christian of Virginia rebounded by scoring 49 unanswered points to embarrass the Commodores on the SahSide 49-7. Ft. Hill (MD) scored on all eight of its possessions in their win over Carrick 54-8, and Westinghouse got their only score off a blocked field goal attempt and Iziaiah Spearman pounced on the ball and scampered 89 yds for the touchdown, but could do no more against the Big Red of Steubenville, OH. All told, the City League went 2-14 against non-league competition this season.
But the good news is, that last weekend signaled the end of non-league play for the City, and with no more need to travel all over God's creation to act as other team's tacking dummies, the school's of the City League can now concentrate on the most important three weeks of the season, where playoff seeds will be determined.
The marquee matchup for this weekend will happen on Friday night at 7:00pm when the U-Prep Wildcats/Panthers take on the Allderdice Dragons. The last time these two teams met was in the City Championship game almost a year ago, when U-Prep took advantage of an ineffective 'Dice offense to claim their first ever City Title 14-0. Akil Young has emerged as the main offensive weapon for the 'Cats, throwing the ball over 400 yards and scoring 6 touchdowns in U-Prep's 3 games so far. He's completed 35 of 50 passes this season, and this in a league where running the ball is still considered the majority of City team's offenses.
Allderdice will counter with Patrick Ferguson who stands 6 ft tall and weighs a Jerome Bettis-like 260 lbs. Ferguson has rushed for 535 yds off 89 carries and 6 touchdowns this season. But for the 'Dice to be successful, they'll need a good performance by QB Bishop Gethers. And as the Advocate has repeatedly said over the years, Allderdice has never been a school that has produced good quarterbacks. But they will need Gethers to shine if they want to win this game. A win will put Allderdice in a tie with U-Prep and give the Dragons the all-important head to head tiebreaker.
The rest of the week in the City will have Perry taking on winless Westinghouse tonight at 7:00pm, and Brashear going against their South Hills neighbor Carrick in the Friday matinee. But the Advocate's Game of the Week is the new Battle of the East End featuring Allderdice and U-Prep.
Unless the Mayans had it all wrong and the end of the world was to happen between the time the Advocate is writing this and 7:00pm tonight, It's safe to say that Brashear and Perry should have no problems handling their business against Carrick and the 'House. But the U-Prep-'Dice game could go either way. Ferguson is a legit scoring threat for the Dragons, but he can't do it all. And while Bishop Gethers is getting looks from colleges, it isn't because of his skills as a QB, but rather as a DB. He needs to come up big under center if the Dragons are to win this game. U-Prep has lost a lot from that championship team, but they still have a lot to play with, and Young looks like the real deal in the City League this season. As much as the Advocate wants to see his Dragons win this game, he isn't sold on Gether's ability to keep U-Prep's defense honest. So with a heavy heart, he has to predict that U-Prep will win on Friday night.