In the year 1967, Lyndon B. Johnson was President of the United States, a gallon of gas cost 33 cents, the No. 1 Motown song was the Four Tops’ “Standing in the Shadow of Love,” and Taylor Allderdice High School won the City League football title.
Fast forward 50 years later, and Saturday afternoon, Nov. 4, 2017 was the day when Allderdice won its next City League Championship. Worth the wait, the Dragons defeated the Brashear Bulls, 35-7, at Cupples Stadium.
Allderdice senior receiver, Raquan “RayRay” Caldwell, had a game to remember. He wears Larry Fitzgerald’s number (11) and grew up idolizing Antonio Brown. But Caldwell continues to add to his own wide receiver legacy.
Caldwell had 65 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and returned a punt of 51 yards for another touchdown.
“We have been playing together since middle school and hard work pays off,” said Caldwell. “This is a great feeling for our team and our coaches. It’s a brotherhood and high school goes fast. I wanted to make sure we got one before I graduated.”
Azi Humber’s 14-yard touchdown run and a Brandon Mauder kick gave Allderdice (7-4) an early 7-0 lead over Brashear (5-5).
Caldwell opened the scoring in the second quarter when he returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown. Mauder kicked the PAT and the Dragons extended their lead to 14-0.
Tyrell Minnifield’s 6-yard touchdown run gave Allderdice a 20-0 halftime lead.
It only took about one half for Brashear to figure out it was going to have a hard time moving the ball in a traditional running offense against Allderdice.
“I remember coming in ninth grade. I wasn’t going to play football. I played behind the Jackson twins (James and Tim),” said Allderdice quarterback Humber. “We all learned from the Fab Five and we feel unstoppable.”
Allderdice came into the Pittsburgh City League championship playing its best football and the Dragons’ Green Steel defense flexed its muscle by holding the Bulls to only one first down and 21 yards in the first half.
“Allderdice ran all day versus a three-man front and Brashear never did anything to prevent them from pulling their guards on counters,” said Ronell Stackhouse, a city league stats historian. “Caldwell and Humber are big-time players.”
“Ray-Ray” Caldwell caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Humber and a Mauder kick extended Allderdice’s lead to 27-0.
Later down 35-0, Brashear avoided a shutout when Daejon Brently caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Keshawn Towsond. Anthony Molinaro kicked the PAT.
The list of NFL players from Allderdice includes: James “Big Cat” Williams, Russell Freeman, Curtis Martin, Will Clarke and Tyrique Jarrett.
“Tyrique Jarrett and Will Clarke just texted me on social media,” said Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett. “I’m happy for my kids. We got good kids. Good in the classroom. Good in the community.”
The Haslett brothers were football royalty a few decades ago, ferociously competitive guys.
Jerry Haslett is one of the most grounded members of the coaching fraternity. “My father passed away this year. He was 83 years old,” said Haslett. “I know my father is watching.”
For more than a half-century, the Allderdice players had to hear about the 1967 championship team.
Ever had someone come up to you and say, “there’s good news and bad news?”
“I wanted them to win, but deep down inside, it was nice being the only team to do it,” said Lew Krause, quarterback of the 1967 Allderdice championship team. “(On November 10, 1967), we beat the great Westinghouse Bulldogs. Westinghouse won 30 championships in 33 years. 1967 was Allderdice’s first championship in 40 years.”
The wait is over for coaches Dennis Robinson, Jay Slosky, Brad Hoffer, Mario Matson and Jerry Haslett.
In the words of Jay Z, the Allderdice Dragons got 99 problems, but winning the City League Championship ain’t one.
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