It was the biggest game of the year and it, rightfully so, had the biggest finish. The Schenley Spartans outlasted Oliver, 34-32, in a double OT marathon to take their second title since 1950.
“It’s good for the kids,” said Schenley’s head coach Jason Bell. “When we were in the stretch run, especially in the double overtime, the team wasn’t nervous at all. It was by far our worst performance of the season but our guys came through beautifully.”
|2009 CITY LEAGUE CHAMPIONS—Schenley players and cheerleaders celebrate winning the City League title Nov. 13 after defeating Oliver 34-32 in two overtimes at Cupples Stadium. See page C-4 for story and more photos.
Schenley will play Punxsutawney in a PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) Class AAA play-in round matchup at Dubois, Pa., Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.
“We’re going to try to use our speed up there,” said Bell. “We have our big play guys in Jerome Mathews and DeAndre Black. With their skills and speed, I’m confident that they will make some things happen for us.”
In the second overtime, Black scored on a fourth-and-four in the second overtime to strike a scare to the stout Oliver defense and Jackson tacked on the two point conversion. On the ensuing possession, Donte Jeter found Tyree Mathis on their second touchdown hookup of the game from 13 yards out to make things really interesting.
However, Mathis went up the middle on the following two-point conversion attempt and it appeared that he’d successfully crossed the goal line when the officials ruled it a free ball. Both teams struggled for the recovery until the ball squirted out of the back of the end zone, signifying a Schenley victory.
The Spartan’s celebration was intense, to say the least.
“This is an amazing feeling,” said Schenley’s senior lineman Hykeem Moore. “I am so proud of our team. This is an accomplishment that’s way over due. Most of our seniors have played together since junior varsity and we become very close, just like best friends.”
Others had things to say about the tight knit nature of this team that led them to this point.
“I am very pleased with this year’s team,” said Schenley’s Jamal Walter. “We have worked hard for four years and it has finally happened. We come really far and we’ve done so together.”
Schenley beat Oliver by the score of 6-0 in their previous outing. They would go into this game expecting to have a similar outcome as they featured the two stingiest defenses in the league.
Among other surprises, senior running back Mathews had one of his quietest games of the season for the Spartans. Suffering from cramps and eventually leaving the game, Mathews only carried the ball eight times for eight yards. That would, of course, include an 11-yard screen pass that he grabbed from quarterback Darren Jackson for the first score of the game. In Mathews’ absence, Jeron Grayson would fill in nicely, helping the team with a 29-yard touchdown rush in the second quarter.
On the other hand, running back Martise Smith of Oliver had one of his better performances of the year as he caught three passes for 141 yards. One of which was a 74-yard touchdown pass from Jeter. Mathis would add rushing scores of six and two yards for the Bears. Jeter would finish with six completions for 16 yards for 160 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions through the air.
(Follow our continuing coverage of City League sports and add your comments at newpittsburghcourieronline.com. D.W. Howze can be reached at email@example.com.)