Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014 City League Preview Week 5

University Prep

    The Advocate was thinking that last week’s game between Allderdice and Brashear was actually going to be a closely played contest.  After all, Brashear boasted of two solid running backs that would give the Dragon defense a challenge.  But that didn’t happen.  The Dragons ruined Brashear’s Senior Night by running the Bulls off the field, 36-0 to keep pace with you-know-who, University Prep.  
    Allderdice sits solidly in 2nd place a half game ahead of Perry and Carrick and a full game behind the Wildcats.  The Advocate attended last weeks game against Brashear and the ‘Dice had the game under control from the start.  The Jackson twins, were their usual dangerous selves, especially quarterback James who looked very impressive completing 7 of 12 passes for 176 yards.  This kid is tall, rangy, has a strong arm and very good touch, plus he reminds the Advocate of Ben Roethlisberger in his ability to keep a play alive.  
    The Advocate saw Jackson scramble out of a collapsing pocket multiple times to find a downfield receiver, or in the scoring play of the game, call his own number rolling out to the left, cutting across the field, leaving the already disheartened Brashear defense in tatters, and tearing down the right side for a 63 yard touchdown run, that left the Allderdice crowd with very sore jaws due to them hitting the steel deck of the visitors’ bleachers.  WR Timothy Jackson caught two of his brother’s passes for touchdowns including a 52 yard bomb and a 10 yard toss.  Backup quarterback and defensive back Dajuan Dugger was also pressed into service as a receiver catching an 11 yard pass from Jackson for a score.
    In addition to James Jackson’s scamper through the Bull’s defense, Jeremiah Hardrick toted the pig for over a 100 yards including a 30 yard touchdown run, and Joe Graham finished off the ‘Dice’s scoring with a 64 yard run to paydirt.   
    The next game for the Dragons is a Friday afternoon tilt against Carrick.  This game is the last contest against the bottom half of the league, and if form follows, the Dragons should have plenty of momentum for their final two league games against Perry on October 3rd, and the big one against U-Prep on October 10.
     Speaking of the Wildcats, the prognosis on U-Prep when the season started was that while they still had the best quarterback in the league in Ron Brown, he needed some new receivers to throw to.  Well, as a certain well-meaning, but very wrong President once said, a few years ago, “Mission Accomplished.”  Desean Bonneau has emerged as the go-to receiver for U-Prep.   He cemented his hold on that position catching a 19 yard pass for a touchdown as the Prep hung 46 points on the reeling Perry Commodores, 46-26.   Brown also threw a 43 yard pass to David Strozier and helped his own cause by running in two touchdowns.   The Wildcats’ defense also got into the scoring by scoring off two fumble recoveries.   Perry’s Moses Giles scored twice, off a 53 yard pick-six, and a 5 yard run.  Quarterback Shawn Rutherford threw a 32 yard pass to Tala’l Rogers and Malik James scored on a 4 yard run.  The Wildcats will head off the reservation to play a Saturday afternoon game at home against Imani Christian. After what has happened with that program over the years, one wonders whether that game will be played.   Perry will next play Brashear tonight under the lights.
     The Doghouse Bowl, that game that the Advocate terms as the contest featuring the two worst teams in the City League, this season’s entrants being Carrick and Westinghouse, was played last Friday night and the Raiders defeated the Bulldogs, 20-16 to escape the Doghouse and for a week at least, be thrust into the City League playoff picture.  Yes, campers, you read the Advocate’s words correctly.  Carrick is very much part of the logjam for the last two playoff spots along with Brashear and Perry.   After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders took the lead off a 28 yard pass from Hakeim McKenzie to Joe Kalsek.  Kalsek also returned a kickoff for 77 yards, and Ahamri Camp tossed a 36 yard pass to Taylor Thornton to complete the scoring.  The ‘House scored off of two Sean Lyons plays, one a 20 yard run, and the other a 15 yard pass from Khalil Morris.   The Bulldogs also play a non-conference game at home against Saltsburg.

Thursday September 25
Perry vs Brashear

     The Advocate remembers when these two long time rivals were playing for the City Championship back in the early 2000’s.  Multiple times, the Commodores and the Bulls would tussle on the turf at the George on the first Saturday in November for City Gold.  But these days, both teams are trying to rebuild their proud programs to battle  Allderdice and U-Prep, who have become the big fish in the City.   This game will most likely be the most interesting of the weekend in terms of competitiveness. Brashear has lost three straight after a win over Carrick in week 1. The Bulls have had 142 points dumped on them in the last three weeks.  Perry has also had a season to forget, having given up 115 points in four games.  Unless one of these teams gets it turned around and quick, the Advocate doesn’t see either one being much of a factor in the playoffs.   The Advocate picks Perry in this matchup, but it must be noted that this game is one of two that Perry and Brashear will play against each other this season, and these two teams will meet again on October 16 to close the season, so this game will not count in the league standings for playoff seeding.   Perry by 8.

Friday September 26
Allderdice vs Carrick

    The Dragons bounced back from their week 1 loss to Wheeling Park winning three in a row in convincing fashion.  They have racked up 105 points and given up 26 in their last three games.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that Allderdice was the beneficiary of a very favorable early season schedule consisting of the bottom half of the City League.  The offense is the second best in the league trailing University Prep, but the ‘Dice are clearly the best team on defense.  Allderdice should have no problem with Carrick, but with a second game against Perry next week that will count in the standings, the Dragons must be careful to not have this become a trap game.   Allderdice by 16.

Friday September 26
Saltsburg vs Westinghouse

    Both the Bulldogs and the Saltsburg Trojans come into this game winless at 0-4.  The ’House played Saltsburg’s fellow D6 Class A opponent, Blairsville in week 1 and lost by two touchdowns. 28-14.  Blairsville is currently 3-0 and in 2nd place in their conference.  Saltsburg has been beaten convincingly in their four games giving up no fewer than 47 points in a game and being outscored 206-79.  So logic dictates that if the ‘House wants to get off the schnied, this would be the opponent to do it against.  But we are talking the City League here, where logic sometimes shakes its head and shrugs its shoulders in defeat.  The Advocate will go with the Bulldogs on this one simply because he wants to see them get at least one win under their belts, because looking at their upcoming schedule, this may be the only chance the ‘House has.
Westinghouse by 6

Saturday September 27
University Prep vs Imani Christian.

    In August of 2013, the Imani Christian Saints decided not to field a football team for that season, leaving the members of their conference in the lurch with a hole in their schedules.  The WPIAL punished them by not giving them a league schedule for the next two years.  The next chance they have of playing a WPIAL schedule would be the 2015-16 school year.  Which means that the Saints are playing an independent schedule picking up opponents when and where they can. That is, if they’re playing at all. Their MaxPreps page hasn’t been updated since 2012.   The school’s website shows no sign of any football content.  The Tribune-Review reports that U-Prep is supposed to play Imani Christian this Saturday.  The Post-Gazette does not show such a game on their schedule, which is not surprising because the PG is often late in updating their schedules and U-Prep has a history of waiting until the last minute to announce anything.  The Advocate has searched the Internets and cannot find any evidence that Imani Christian has put together their football team or if they are playing any games this season, so he cannot preview this game or issue a prediction.  

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