by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier
The snow covered grounds around Pittsburgh are a grand indication that high school football has come to its end in the City League. Perry, the class of the City, made an early exit out of the PIAA playoffs—in a close 35-26 loss to District VI Champ State College—after dominating the League with a perfect 11-0 mark. That included a convincing 32-0 rout of its second-best team, the Brashear Bulls, in the championship game on Nov. 20.
One thing that may always be remembered about this season was Perry’s prolific passing attack. Head coach Bill Gallagher, was an assistant on a Brashear team that quarterback Rasheed Marshall played on and described his QB Greg McGhee as a “better player than Marshall.”
GREG MCGHEE (William McBride/File Photo)
Those are big shoes to fill. Marshall left Brashear to star at West Virginia. After a stellar career as an All-Big East performer he became a 5th round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.
McGhee, however, was among the top passers in all western Pennsylvania, and in many accounts has been the “best kept secret in western PA.” He finished with nearly 2,500 yards passing to go along with 24 touchdowns, compared to only five interceptions. Interestingly enough, he has not made an official decision on where he’ll be attending college.
“So far I’ve been having some communication with schools in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), schools like Ohio U, Toledo, and others,” McGhee said. “Most recently, Wisconsin has contacted me and I’m now in the process of getting some tapes together to send them.”
It was announced last Sunday that Wisconsin will face TCU in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Years’ Day.
“I would be thrilled to be a Badger,” McGhee replied, when asked.
Here is a look into the current situations for each team and how they fared this season.
1. Perry (11-2, 11-0) 17 Seniors
Notable losses—QB Greg McGhee , WR Devin Ghafoor, WR Eric Frye, TE Joe Arthur, G Steven Wicks, RB Micheal Banks, and WR Gerald Sherill.
The Commodores may shift to being a running team next season, due to the fact that they’ll have a new nucleus of three junior running backs, including top-rusher Chinelo Oparanozie, who mainly carried the load for Perry during their championship season.
Quotable: “The Perry football program is all about tradition,” Perry coach Bill Gallagher said. “These guys wait in the wings and go hard during practice, always waiting for their opportunities. That’s what helps us most with the younger guys on our roster.”
2. Brashear (5-3, 6-5) 13 seniors
Notable losses—K Cody Magliocca, LB Dillon Semion, DT/OL Michael Ford, and DL/OL Darryl Bryant.
The Bulls will return several players at skill positions next season; names like QB/WR Jawanza Bryant, RB Tre Gaines, WR/KR Manny Reed, RB Joel Nesbit, WR Ricky Gay, and WR/DB Jamil Smith. They will also ride on the fact that they’ve been one of the league’s most dominant teams for the past decade.
Quotable: “We can’t become complacent,” Brashear head coach Rick Murphy said. “Every year, it’s competitive. I think we have a good group of kids for next year and I believe we’ve got what it takes to put together a championship-caliber team.
3. Allderdice (6-2, 6-5) 12 seniors
Notable losses—QB Mike Pfleger, LB Jared Davis, OL Trevor Gibson.
The Dragons made the biggest turnarounds this season. Just a season ago, they were 1-8 and in the basement, as far as the final standings. Allderdice will bring back one of the youngest, yet most experienced lineups next season—led by sophomore running back Patrick Ferguson.
Quotable: “We have a lot of things to build on after this season,” Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. “We got a lot accomplished over the past year. We grew closer and became a team. I expect a lot of good things to happen next year.”
4. Schenley (5-3, 5-5) 14 seniors
Notable losses—WR/DB DeAndre Black, QB Calvin Beck, OL/DL Shaquille Thomas.
Schenley, in its final year as a program will join up with the ‘USO’ (University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama) as the newest addition in the City League for the 2011 season. The Spartans fell short of a repeat this season as they fell to Perry in the semi-finals. They will enjoy a wave of youth that will come in for next season, despite having one of the more dramatic drop-offs of talent, namely at skill positions, over the past two seasons. Not to mention, this program experienced a mid-season psychological shake in finding out that the MVP of last year’s championship game was killed in an overnight shooting at California University of PA back in October.
Quotable: “We’re green,” Schenley coach Jason Bell remarked several times over the 2010 season. “We have a lot to learn and we will continue to learn over time. I am confident in my players’ abilities and what they are able to endure. What marks a man is the way that he handles adversity.”
5. Oliver (4-4, 4-7) 12 seniors
Notable losses—WR Trevon Kendrick, TE Devante Tiller, RB Tyree Mathis, RB Tevin Washington.
Oliver earned a spot in the Class AA PIAA playoffs by posting a .500 league record and suffered a 44-14 loss to Brockway in the first round at Clarion University. But the Bears can lean on the fact that they still very well could be one of the better AA teams going into next season, bringing back some talented youth. One of those includes the 5-10, 160 pound sophomore quarterback Shakeem Cox.
Quotable: “I don’t know what’s going to happen next year, because our enrollment’s down and I’m on a committee (about it),” Oliver coach Tim Keefer said about his team’s future due to the league’s proposed re-alignment. “This is Oliver in the state playoffs, but now they want some kids to go play at Perry and co-op … so there might be some kids that don’t have a lot of opportunities.”
6. Langley (3-5, 4-6) 8 seniors
Notable losses—WR Stefon Faye, RB Joey Bell, WR/DB Darryl Adams.
The Mustangs found themselves in last season scraps to make the City League’s post-season and edge out Oliver to represent the City League in the Class AA State playoffs.
They managed to do neither. But their bright side is that they have a low graduation total going into next season and they did not fall short of either of those feats by much.
Quotable: “We’ve got some young people in the skill positions,” said Langley coach Kenny Wright. “It’s a little disappointing how we ended our season. We were better than how we finished. At one juncture, we were tied for second place, and with some misfortune we ended up in sixth place and out of contention. It just showed our kids how you just can’t ever be satisfied.”
7. Peabody (3-5, 3-6) 4 seniors
Notable losses—CB Josh Butler, DL Antione Walls, WR Airon Walker, OL/DL Losotto Davis.
Perhaps one the youngest teams in the City, the Highlanders won their final three games of not only the 2010 season, but in program history as well. They will find t
hemselves in the midst of the USO consolidation as Pittsburgh Obama will make its move from the ‘Schenley-stein’ building into Peabody next year.
Quotable: “I was very proud of the way that our kids fought out there, winning the final games of our history,” said Peabody coach Leonard Carter. “They didn’t give up despite the uncertainty of our future and all of the disappointment that is associated with that.”
8. Carrick (2-6, 2-8) 9 seniors
Notable losses—QB/RB/WR Rasheed McKamey, WR/DB DeMario Patterson, OL/DL Jonah Pyus, WR Jajuan Thomas, WR/DB Lafon Pace, OL/DL Josh Kalsek, WR/DB Jordan Wilson, DL/FB Kenyatta Mohammed, FB/LB Josiah Fleming.
The fact that head coach Jeff McCafferty stressed that all of his seniors this year are tremendous losses, is the most telling characteristic that Carrick is in need of a huge rebuilding process. A team that usually hangs around in post-season talks were completely non-existent this year, in that sense.
Quotable: “We have some good talent coming back as well as some big holes to fill,” McCafferty said. “You play the game from September to November but you win the games from January to (August).”
9. Westinghouse (1-9, 0-8) 12 seniors
Notable losses—WR Jevaughn Patterson, C Tirell Harris.
After beating Bentworth in a non-conference match-up in week one, people had every reason to believe that this might be a much needed rebounding year for Westinghouse.
But after that, the Bulldogs stopped barking. Their winless conference campaign in 2010 could have perhaps been one the worst, historically, in Westinghouse’s history as a program. Monte Robinson, Westinghouse’s coach was unreachable for comment.
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(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com.)