by Malik Vincent
For New Pittsburgh Courier
Peabody and Westinghouse closed out their storied histories with a game for the ages as they went to overtime. The Highlanders came out on top, 12-6.
At halftime, Westinghouse’s alumni were acknowledged. “People appreciated the acknowledgement,” said Rhonda Sears, executive director of Westinghouse’s alumni association. “When their names were called, people screamed and chanted. There were also many people there with their Westinghouse apparel and things that represented the program well.”
|SHOW OF UNITY—Peabody and Westinghouse players join together in the center of the field in a show of unity Oct. 16, at Cupples Stadium. The Bulldogs lost 12-6 in the final meeting between these teams. (Photos by Chris Lopez)
Sears is a 1984 graduate and a member of the cheerleading squad. She attended Robert Morris University and finished with a bachelor’s degree in 1989. In 2004, she received a master’s in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently works as a minority and women’s business specialist for the Pittsburgh Board of Education. “It was a great thing to see,” Sears said. “I think the idea worked out well. The atmosphere was pleasant.”
Peabody will close after this season. Quarterback Dontae Forte crossed the goal line for the Highlanders to make sure the team’s supporters would not forget its side in this prolific East End rivalry.
“(The Peabody community) is not happy about this,” said athletic director Liza Simmons. “It was a struggle to get the alumni to even come out. The Highlander name no longer exists. The Bulldog will remain, that’s what’s hard to accept.”
Former Westinghouse coach George Webb led the Bulldogs for three decades and is looked at by many as a legend. He also expressed opinions on the end of the rivalry.
“I’ve seen this happen on many occasions,” Webb said. “It happened with Fifth Avenue, Allegheny, South Hills, South Vo-Tech, and most recently, Peabody and Schenley. What has happened is they’ve phased out the community school. Especially the ones in underprivileged communities and mostly within the past 20 years. I try to stay out of the way, but I know the people that I’ve spoken with about this aren’t happy. Who would, knowing that the place that they are proud of will no longer exist.”
Jaylen Coleman scored on a 63-yard pass from Forte to open the scoring, then, Westinghouse answered when Tirell Harris fell on a fumble in the end zone to tie the score at 6-6.
Despite the discouraging nature of the situation for Peabody fans, after the game, both Westinghouse and Peabody went on the field in a sign of unity.
“We were glad to see so many people show up and support this event,” Sears added. Both sides were in unity and it turned out to be something many will remember.”
(Malik Vincent can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)