by Malik Vincent
Brashear and Perry will take part in the 91st City League Football championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. after defeating Allderdice and Brashear, respectively, in last week’s semifinals at Cupples Stadium.
Perry (10-1) has gone a perfect 9-0 in the City— including the semifinal game—and owns the top seed in the playoffs. They have not lost since they fell to North Hills in their non-conference opener back on Sept. 3. Their opponent, Brashear (6-4, 5-3), hasn’t had such a smooth road.
|VICTORY CELEBRATION—The Brashear Bulls celebrate in the end zone after defeating Allderdice 12-6 in overtime to advance to the City League championship game against Perry.
By week six, the Bulls looked like they were in a prime position to ride into the post-season, nearly unblemished with 4-2 overall record and 3-1 in the city. But they lost their next two games, first to Perry 34-14 on Oct 22, and then a 34-24 upset loss to Peabody. At that point, they were 4-4 and on the brink of being knocked down in the playoff picture.
After a much needed rebound win against Langley in the final week of the regular season, Brashear came into Thursday night’s semifinal game against No. 2 Allderdice (6-5, 6-2) and fought them to their death— literally. The result was an overtime struggle that would end in Brashear continuing their quest for the prize in the City League.
“It feels good to back,” Brashear coach Rick Murphy said. “It’s been an up and down kind of a year but to be able to play like we have as of late feels great.”
This will be Murphy’s second title game in his three seasons since taking over the program in the ’08 season.
“It’s disappointing,” said Allderdice head coach Jerry Haslett. “It looked promising at first but I understand that we have a young team. We only played three seniors. They were deep in our territory throughout the second half and really played us tough so they ran away with the win.”
One of those seniors, quarterback Mike Pfleger, connected with Jay Barlow on an 18-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring for the Dragons. Then, Ricky Gay caught a 16-yard pass from Adam Lynch for Brashear to make it a 6-6 tie right before halftime.
It was Tre Gaines’ 10-yard run in the extra period broke the tie and put it away for the Bulls, for good.
“Now it is just up to us to prepare for (Perry),” Murphy said. “We are going to work hard all week to make sure that we come ready.”
Perry and Schenley took it down to the wire in the final regular season game in the City League in a Saturday afternoon matinee on Nov. 6 at Cupples.
It was an exchange of scores that ended up with the Commodores on top in double overtime, 30-28.
One may think that playing the same team twice in one week wouldn’t be an easy task—but Perry certainly made it look that way. They cruised to a 29-8 victory over the No. 4 Spartans (5-6, 5-4) behind the ability and leadership of their senior and three-year starting quarterback Greg McGhee. He led the way for his team with yet another dominating performance in which he passed for 254 yards on 11 of 16 passing and two touchdowns.
He also caused harm to Schenley with his feet, gaining 102 yards on the ground, including a 17-yard score that began the scoring for Perry.
“He’s the best kept secret in Western Pennsylvania,” said Perry coach Bill Gallagher.
Schenley’s lone score came on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Calvin Beck in the fourth quarter—it would be the final one of the Spartans’ proud history; the school will close next spring.
“To be honest, that hurts,” Schenley coach Jason Bell said. “It’s really tough for this community to accept it because they’re so used to walking down the hill and Schenley being right there.”
Since Gallagher took over in 2001, he’s been involved in five City titles that came in consecutive seasons.
However, the Commodores haven’t won it all since 2005.
(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com.)
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