With a short week ahead before their Nov. 3 title game, U.S.O. (University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama) would like to prevent a repeat of their last meeting.
With the remnants of Hurricane Sandy hitting the Pittsburgh area school and extracurricular activities have been canceled. It could be as short as a three day practice week for each squad.
“We don’t want the game to be in the hands of the officials this time,” U.S.O. senior linebacker Myles Catlin said. “We want it to be a decisive win and will have to prepare very hard to do so. We need to go out there and stick to our game plan and get some good things going on offense.”
Perry (5-0, 7-2) claimed the last meeting against U.S.O on Oct. 19 where they survived a tight match that ended with a 12-6 final.
“We need to be ready deal with what Perry can do on the ground,” said U.S.O. coach Lou Berry, who will compete for his second consecutive league crown. “We’re going to stick 7 in the box and make sure that we’re strong up front.”
Curtis Edmonds has established himself as one of the most legitimate rushers in the City League with over 1,000 yards on the ground for the Commodores, this season.
On the other hand, senior quarterback Akil Young led his Wildcats (4-1, 5-2) past Brashear in the semifinals with a 357-yard showing, including three scores through the air in their 46-6 romp of Brashear. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns against just four interceptions on the year.
“We have a great quarterback that can get the ball all over the field for us,” Catlin said. “We’ve gotta do what we need to do on defense so we can create as many opportunities for him to do what he does.”
Catlin made a mid-season move from middle linebacker to the strong side and, since, has been able to create more turnovers, including an interception that he took 65 yards for a score in the semifinal round.
“He feels much more comfortable over there and it shows,” Berry said. “In the past couple of games that we’ve had him over there, he’s come away with 3 or 4 interceptions. We need him over there making those kind of plays. If we get those, we’ve always got a great chance to win.”
Though Perry’s offense is known to be ‘run-first’ so far this year, Berry acknowledged that his squad has to respect what they can do in their passing game.
“Allderdice really played a good game against (Perry) in that playoff game,” he said. “But their quarterback (senior Ahmad Turner) made a nice throw to (Daron) Clark for the game-winner. Turner is a nice athlete and we can’t ignore what he can do with his arm.
In addition to the 15-yard pass from Turner to Clark in the 12-6 victory against Allderdice on Oct. 27, he tossed a 22-yard score to Edmonds in the second quarter.
“He’s definitely a player in which we have to respect all of his skills,” Catlin said of Turner. “He can both run and throw the football very effectively. If we don’t contain him, we can find ourselves having a really tough time out there on Saturday.”
(Email Malik at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @malikvincent)