Allderdice football looks for three-peat in City League

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 9:19 PM


Allderdice has been on top of the City League the past two seasons. The Dragons will look to make to make it a three-peat this season.

Last season, the Dragons (6-5, 4-1) captured their second City League championship in a row after defeating Westinghouse, 18-8, in a game played on a Tuesday afternoon after it was rescheduled because of the Tree of Life synagogue shootings.

Allderdice will be led by junior quarterback Shakur Pack, who will take over for Dalen Dugger. Pack, who stands 5-foot-7, was the backup last season and understands what is required to lead the Dragons to another City League championship.

“This kid knows football and loves football,” coach Jerry Haslett said. “He can sling it. We’re not counting him out at all because he’s going to be a good one. Even though he isn’t the tallest, he’s probably a better quarterback.”

The Dragons will have a stable of running backs at their disposal to complement Pack, including senior Nazir Darwin and juniors Denzel Gatewood and Rashaun Caldwell.

“Those guys played numerous snaps last year, so we’re looking forward to them carrying the mail,” Haslett said.

Pack will look to junior wide receiver Marcel Holyfield as one of his targets this season.

“I learned patience and to stay humble,” Pack said. “I learned a lot watching Duggar play. I grew the leadership qualities. It’s helping me understand a lot with the offense and defense with me playing quarterback.”

The Dragons will return three key starters on the offensive line. Junior Solomon Johnston will return at left tackle. According to Haslett, the 6-4, 325-pound lineman has a chance to be the next Allderdice player to go Division I.

Junior Eric McClung (6-3, 270) will return at right tackle, and senior Seth Jackson (5-9, 230) will man one of the guard spots.

On defense, Haslett is excited to see their athleticism and speed. Gatewood will fill one of the linebacker positions, and Holyfield will play free safety.

The Dragons will have senior Malik Marmon at one of the cornerback spots.

“I really think our defense will be the catalyst of this team. Hopefully, no one goes down and gets hurt. We should be extremely fast on defense,” Haslett said.

Last year, the Dragons season ended with a 49-14 loss to Erie McDowell in the regional semifinals of the PIAA Class 6A Districts 6-8-10 playoffs. Haslett believes the loss motivated the returning players because they faced McDowell after a quick three-day turnaround.

“Our kids have a sour taste in their mouths,” he said. “If we win a championship and we’re healthy, we will be ready to go. They have a sour taste in their mouths that they pretty much didn’t have a chance.”

In order to three-peat, the Dragons believe they will compete with Westinghouse and Obama Academy. Even though they won the last two City League championships, Allderdice has a bit of a underdog mentality going into the season.

“It would mean a lot to me,” Pack said. “This year, everyone is saying we aren’t going to be any good. I love the doubters. It’s a chip on a shoulder to bring back the three-peat.”

Schedule

Coach: Jerry Haslett

2018 record: 6-5, 4-1

All-time record: 302-449-64

Date, Opponent, Time

8.23, at Kiski Area, 7

8.29, at Steubenville, Ohio, 7

9.6, at Altoona, 7

9.12, at Westinghouse*, 7

9.20, University Prep*, 7

9.27, at Perry*, 7

10.5, at Linsly School (W.Va.), 7

10.10, Brashear*, 7

*City League game

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