Allderdice chasing 2nd straight City League title, while Westinghouse looks to end drought
Two schools separated by three miles will travel roughly five miles to decide which is best on the gridiron.
When Allderdice and Westinghouse take the field at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cupples Stadium to decided the City League championship, both teams will arrive having traveled different roads to get there.
“I think that our kids losing our first four games and losing to Westinghouse, it’s a tribute to the kids,” said Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett, whose Dragons are riding a five-game winning streak.
Allderdice (5-4, 4-1) is hoping to become the first back-to-back City League champ since Brashear did it in 2014-15. The Dragons beat Brashear, 35-7, last season to earn their first City League title since 1967. Not including Saturday’s game, Allderdice has reached the City League championship game five previous times over the past 10 seasons and has a 1-4 record in the big game, with losses coming in 2011, ’13, ‘14 and ’15.
“Last year helped them, and we had a lot of seniors last year who could lead pretty good,” Haslett said of his team leaning on the experience of last season’s title run.
There’s one glaring blemish in Allderdice’s City League record -- the No. 1 in the loss column. Westinghouse (4-5, 3-2) owns that.
The Dragons, who beat Perry, 28-6, in last week’s semifinal round, fell to Westinghouse, 28-22, in the City League opener.
Haslett isn’t making any excuses about the game or nonconference losses on the road to Kiski Area, Wheeling Park (W.Va.) and Altoona. The Dragons were outscored 75-25 over those three games.
“If we played the games that we did prior, we’d do pretty good,” Haslett said. “I honestly think we could be 8-1 right now.”
The Dragons will trot in an offense that averages just under 19 points per game. Conversely, the Bulldogs defense is giving up 22 points per game.
The Allderdice offense is led by 6-foot-6, 195-pound quarterback Dalen Dugger. Dugger is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who scored two touchdowns in the win over Perry. He’s a matchup nightmare for defenses and has rushed for 100 yards in each game during the Dragons’ five-game win streak. Keeping Dugger in check is paramount for the Bulldogs to come out on top.
“Dugger’s been fantastic, and he’s throwing the ball pretty good,” Haslett said.
Ball security also will be a key factor. The Dragons’ offense fumbled the ball six times last week, letting two slip away to the Commodores.
In addition to Dugger, Allderdice has plenty of skill. Will Tooks’ speed could be a problem, along with the skill of senior Rashawn Harvey and sophomore Rashawn Caldwell.
“We’re pretty balanced,” Haslett said. “It is football, and we do like to run it. It’s a pretty site when you can stuff the ball down somebody’s throat, like football in the old days.”
Westinghouse’s last hey-day in football came back in the 1990′s when the Bulldogs won back-to-back City League titles in 1992-93. Current coach Monte Robinson was member of those teams. The Bulldogs last title came in 1996.
“I played at Westinghouse in the early 90′s and we captured two, and for it to come full circle has been a long time coming,” Robinson said.
The Bulldogs are feeling pretty good about themselves. Not only did Westinghouse win the regular-season meeting with Allderdice, but the Bulldogs beat a team they have never beaten before in last week’s 30-26 semifinal win over University Prep.
“I believe that this is the first time since I’ve been involved with the program that we’re peaking at the right time,” Robinson said.
Many of the Westinghouse players weren’t even born the last time the Bulldogs played for a City League title in 2001. But the past is the past. This year’s Bulldogs are a throwback team that grinds out games by running the ball, controlling the clock and playing tough defense.
The Westinghouse offense averages 25 points and is led by sophomore quarterback Cameron Jones. “Super Cam” as his teammates call him, Jones will need to have a big game if the Bulldogs are going to end their 22-year championship drought.
“He’s like our super hero, and he’s like glue,” Robinson said.
“Super Cam” has a trio of playmakers that surround him in senior Eryk Kane Burgess, junior Michael Massey and freshman Malik Harris. Each running back brings something something different to the table, with Kane Burgess being the bulldozer at 5-6, 230 pounds.
“I tell (Harris) all the time that he has a mean first step,” Robinson said. “He’s gone at the snap of the ball.”
The most important player on the Bulldogs’ defense is 6-3, 240-pound junior defensive end Dayon Hayes. Hayes has racked up 18 sacks, four forced fumbles, seven tackles for a loss, and one touchdown this season.
“We haven’t had a kid like this in a long time that has a legitimate shot at playing some big-time college football,” Robinson said. “He’s the best defender in the city.”