I save a lot of what I call “souvenirs of life.” Some of the things you would run across in my souvenir stash would be taped interviews with Charles Dutton, August Wilson and Dick Gregory. A handwritten note from Bill Peduto before he was the mayor of Pittsburgh. Pictures of Gordon Parks when he was in Pittsburgh, my bright orange good dental health badge from Happy, my Think and Do Book and a Souvenir Issue of the Taylor Allderdice newsletter dated November 17, 1967. The front page reads VICTORY! Underneath, a picture of the Allderdice Championship Football Team. In 1967 there was only one Black person on the team, #24 Guy Collins. The headline read, “Nobody shakes the Dice as Allderdice Rips Westinghouse for First City Title.”
I have told so many people about this win and many told me I was dreaming and I did not know what I was talking about. I make it a point when I let words come out of my mouth you can take them to the bank, so maybe now that they are reading it in the paper and seeing it on television they will believe that 50 years ago “the House came tumbling down.” That was the chant as the Dragons upset Westinghouse, the perennial City League champs, 20-13, and won their first City high school football crown. It was reported that a combination of luck and persistence provided the Dragons with a 20-7 lead in the second quarter. Two interceptions by Willie Anderson on the same drive were nullified by penalties, and TA managed to keep possession of the football and move toward the goal line. At halftime the Dragons not only had outscored the Bulldogs but also led in first downs and passing. Allderdice even had outrushed Westinghouse, despite an injury to Charlie Lischner which kept him out most of the game. A key interception by Lew Krause in the third period thwarted one Westinghouse drive and a stunning goal line stand early in the fourth period, holding the Bulldogs to only four and a half yards in four plays from the five-yard line, broke the back of the Westinghouse express. A last series of downs run by Westinghouse failed, the clock ran out and then Allderdice had its first City Title in its first try. The TA victory made it only the second time in the last 14 years that Westinghouse had failed to take home the championship.
The newsletter went on to report that it would be impossible to single out individual players for contributing to this victory. Just let it be said that the 9-0 mark of the Dragons was the result of a first rate team effort. I was so proud of this moment for Taylor Allderdice. I was there from ninth grade until graduation in 1970. It was the school that I always wanted to go to but I ended up there due to bussing to desegregate the Pittsburgh Public Schools. I don’t follow high school football but any mention of TA makes me sit up and take notice.
(Email Debbie Norrell at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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