The trimming of the City League to six teams has marked a new trend of combining football programs due to a string of school closings.
The 2009 closing of Schenley started what’s now become commonplace.
|THE PERRY DEFENSE swarms all over Alfred Diggs of Allderdice. The Perry “D” shut out “The Dice” 12-0 in the City League opener for both teams. (Courier Photos/William McBride)
It birthed the program that shocked City League participants and observers last season—U.S.O. (University Prep, Sci-Tech and Obama)—who will defend their title, this year.
Most recently, Langley became what stands alone as Brashear and the same is the case with Oliver that merged into Perry.
“We came in and they automatically embraced us,” Perry senior linebacker Dre Williams said. “We immediately got together and were eager to figure out what it’s going to require for us to be a winner.”
In the Commodores’ first true test against Allderdice (0-1, 1-2), they outlasted the Dragons, 12-0, on their way to an important first conference victory on Sept. 14.
“We played a sloppy game,” Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. “Time and time again we shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers and penalties. For some reason, no matter how good they were, we couldn’t sustain drives. Perry just hung in there and came up with big plays to beat us.”
Williams, who played for Oliver as a sophomore and was a part of U.S.O.’s championship team last season, sees similarities—with the latter—in this year’s Perry team’s effort to build a comradery.
“We make it a point to spend time with one another and build a brotherhood,” he said. “There are so many things that we do together outside of school and football.”
One of those activities is a weekly bible study.
“Many of us share the same religious beliefs,” Williams added. “We get together at the school after practice to study and read the word of the Lord. It’s a great thing for our team’s cohesion.”
Perry junior Juyan Byrd’s 23 yard touchdown catch proved to be the difference in the game for the Commodores (1-0, 2-1). Combined, both teams lost six fumbles. Each failed to convert on scoring opportunities, consistently.
“It was really a dog fight out there,” Perry coach Bill Gallagher said. “It was a win that our team needed to gain some confidence moving forward. I think it’s proven to be a really good thing for our guys to see how they can get together and fight through some tough situations.”
“We were pretty pumped up about being able to compete with a tough team like Allderdice,” Williams said. “We’re looking forward to what we can do from here on out.”
U.S.O. 56, Carrick 0
After a two week hiatus, the Panthers came out and put up 36 unanswered points by halftime. Senior quarterback Akil Young had touchdown tosses of 48, 27 and 2 yards. They were able to score on defense and special teams with Tayvon Taylor’s 24-yard punt return in the first quarter. With the loss, Carrick fell to 0-3.
Also: Brashear secured their first win of the year with a 30-7 romp of Westinghouse in the opening City League game at “The Cup.”
(Follow our continuing coverage of City League Football and add your comments to our website at http://www.newpittsburghcourier.com.)
(Malik Vincent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @malikvincent.)