City League preview—teams to watch in 2010

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by Malik Vincent

The Pittsburgh City League is ready to pick up competition in the 2010 season with some much needed improvement to its home, Cupples Stadium on the South Side. With that should come some much-warranted improvements with certain teams around the league.

Deandre
DEANDRE BLACK and MANNY REED

“We expect to win every game this season,” Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. “Whether those expectations are real or not, that’s what we expect to accomplish. Nothing less.”

Haslett and his Dragons posted a 1-9 record in 2009, but feel they have weapons at the skill positions that will help them make a turnaround this season.

“I believe our best overall player is Dominick Gardner, a 6-3 and 175-pound wide receiver and free safety,” said Haslett.

They also feature a 6-4, 215-pound senior quarterback in Mike Pfleger who was among the top passers in the league last season.

“We expect Mike to be very good this year,” said Haslett. “He’s a big kid and he’s got the necessary experience that’s needed to go out there and help us win games.”

Brashear won the title in 2008 and had high hopes in 2009 with some very talented players. They fell short of the mark by dropping the league semifinal to defending champs Schenley Nov. 6 of last year.

But that’s not keeping the Bulls from having a lot faith in their players this year.

“With the departure of three very good seniors last year, we understand that it will be difficult to get back to where we were in ’08,” said Brashear coach Rick Murphy. “We know we have big shoes to fill. But that’s not going to stop us from believing in what we have and winning games.”

One of the players that Murphy hopes to step in and pick up the team, is first-year junior quarterback Adam Lynch.

“He’s a great athlete,” said Murphy. “He’s easily got 4.4-4.5 speed, a good arm, intelligence, and he’s showing a good understanding of what we expect out of him this year.”

They also will look to the speedy Manny Reed, who hopes to expound on the things he accomplished last year as the city’s best kick returner.

He’s going to be good,” Murphy said. “We’d like him to increase his involvement in the offense and as our corner this year as well. He’ll be a busy guy this year and we know he’s got incredible talent.”

Schenley won it all last year. It was their first title in 50 years and they want to be able to add to their trophy case one last time as a program. They’ll no longer be the Spartans after the school board decided to close the school in 2008. However, it will be difficult for them as they return only six starters, one of the lowest amounts in the league.

“It’s different, most definitely,” Schenley coach Jason Bell said. “I look on the field and don’t see number 22, 75 or 55. I worked with those kids for years and to see them not there anymore really makes things different.”

They will return the multi-sport star DeAndre Black who will start on both sides of the ball at wide receiver and corner back.

“DeAndre is by far our best player,” said Bell. “He’s an outstanding athlete and we’ll see what types of things that he’ll be able to do out there.”

The Spartans will play much smaller this season, as will what is projected for most of the league this year.

“There is a lack of size in linemen throughout the city,” Bell added. “However, there are some good ones. We’re no exception to that. We’ll no longer have the size that we’ve had in the past. We will be the Oliver of last year. We’ll be very athletic but still able to make key blocks in crucial situations. (The lack of size) will probably be our only issue this season.”

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