City League Preview: Allderdice’s experience will carry them to the top

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by Malik Vincent

With a total of four, 3-year starters and close to 20 seniors, Allderdice is the team with the most experience in City League football this season.

Coach Jerry Haslett is confident in their chances to be the team to beat this year.

GameChanger
GAME CHANGER—Junior Jay Barlow (8), Allderdice’s two-way star who is being looked at by several Division 1 programs, gets double teamed by Brashear blockers Nov. 11, 2010. (Courier Photo/William McBride/File)

“We’re strong up front,” he said. “We have the front-four that will be able to change games for us. It will be them that will make or break how well we do this season.”

Two of the members of that front four, senior Tyrique Jarrett and junior Jay Barlow are both being looked at by Division-I programs.

Their big running back, junior Patrick Ferguson, has been battling an aggravated hip but his coach is optimistic that he’ll suit up for the Dragons in their week one, nonconference matchup at Central Valley Sept. 2.

 

They’ll also feature a new quarterback and receiver tandem with Braden and Brendan Hoffer, identical twins that transferred from Hempfield.

“Braden came in and recognized what we want to do on offense,” Haslett said. “I think he and his brother, Brendan will come in and make things happen for us to help make us effective on offense.”

A new era will begin this year when the new USO (U. Prep, Sci. Tech & Obama) team takes the field at Cupples Stadium in week two of the City League season on September 8th.

Their athletic director, Andre McGee, is confident they will be up for the challenge when that happens.

Obama Academy head coach Lewis Berry and his wife spearhead the USATF’s Future Track Stars athletic program, a non-profit organization that enables youth from all over the region to participate and compete in track and field, potentially, on a national level.

“Coach (Lewis) Berry might be the perfect person to be able to bring the kids together so that the football team can be competitive this year,” he said. “I think his knowledge of the area through his experience with the Future Stars track program will help him bridge the gap between kids of different neighborhoods in the city.”

After Perry’s championship run last season, the hot topic for their squad was the large number of kids that they would lose to graduation.

The biggest question is who will replace Greg McGhee at quarterback, who was recently named the starting quarterback at Howard University. It has been determined that Darelle Carson, who studied and played behind McGhee for the past two seasons, will take over as the team’s starting quarterback this year.

“(Darelle) has a very strong arm and great feet,” Perry Coach Bill Gallagher said. “He’s deceptively quick and very tough. He has to lead the team this year and he understands that. We’re excited about having him back there. He also plays basketball and baseball, which proves him to be a great athlete. He really reminds me of Greg, but just doesn’t have his size.”

His favorite target, according to Gallagher, should be Layton Hawkins, who at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds doesn’t have the length of Eric Frye— one of McGhee’s favorite targets last year.

But his coach says he is “strong as an ox and benches 315 pounds.” He should be a factor to be one of the city’s biggest threats across the middle.

Gallagher also noted that three more of his seniors: Deacon Blackwell (ILB/H-back), Jordan Clayton (TE), and Nick Garrett (OL) will also be key contributors for Perry.

Brashear, who will look to avenge their defeat in the league title game last season, will return each member of their starting backfield: quarterback Adam Lynch and tailbacks Tre Gaines and Joelle Nesbitt. The two backs will double as linebackers on defense.

They’ll also return four receivers from last year, led by Manny Reed, Jamil Smith, and Ricky Gay. Jawanza Bryant, will return to the secondary as a corner.

Smith and Reed will each play on both sides of the ball as defensive backs.

“It’s a good thing to have 90 percent of players at skill positions returning to your team,” Brashear coach Rick Murphy said. “We expect to be competitive this year and get in the hunt to be a championship caliber team this year.”

They will be the first city opponent for the new USO on Sept. 8, a Thursday game that will kick off at 6 p.m.

(Follow our continuing coverage of City League athletics and add your comments to our website at http://www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com.)

(Malik Vincent can be reached at malikvincent@gmail.com.)

Pre-season rankings:

1. Allderdice (semi-finalist in 2010)

2. Brashear (City runner-up in 2010)

3. Perry (City Champion in 2010)

4. USO (Schenley was a semifinalist and Peabody finished 7th in 2010)

5. Oliver (finished 5th in 2010)

6. Carrick (finished 8th in 2010)

7. Westinghouse (finished last in 2010)

8. Langley (finished 6th in 2010)

Week one schedule:

1. Seton LaSalle vs. Carrick • Friday 7 p.m. Sept. 2

2. Allderdice at Central Valley • Friday 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2

3. Brashear at Knoch • Friday 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2

4. Langley at Carlynton • Friday 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2

5. Oliver at Shadyside Academy • Friday 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2

6.Perry at North Hills • Friday 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2

7. Westinghouse at Bentworth • Friday 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2

8. USO at Summit Academy • Saturday 12:30 p.m. Sept. 3.

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