CTK 2010 – PITTSBURGH CITY LEAGUE Preview
Thursday, September 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Over the past five seasons, four different teams have won Pittsburgh City League championships (Brashear won twice). Look for the balance of power to continue this season.
It doesn't seem like there is a prohibitive favorite to win the City League this year. Schenley captured the title a year ago.
The number of teams in the City League is the same this year, but there is one major change. Perry is now a Class AAAA school. Ever since the PIAA playoffs started in 1988, Perry was always a Class AAA team, and represented the City numerous times in the PIAA playoffs. This year, the Commodores go up in class.
Here is a look at the City League with a predicted order of finish at the end:
The Dragons were only 1-8 last season, but with a host of experienced players back, things could get much better this season.
Nine starters return on both offense and defense. One of the team's best players is quarterback Mike Pfleger, an all-City League pick last season who will be in his third season as a starter. He threw for more than 700 yards in each of the past two seasons.
The running game is capable hands with Marlon Brown, Patrick Ferguson and Jared Davis. Some of the other top returnees are offensive linemen Tyrique Jarrett and Duke Mulvihill. Also, watch sophomore receiver-defensive back William Graham. The offense must improve, though, as the Dragons averaged only 8 points a game last season.
After winning consecutive City League titles in 2007 and 2008, the Bulls lost in the semifinals last year. But with Brashear's talent, and the parity in the City this year, the Bulls are good enough to win a title again.
Brashear is inexperienced at the skill positions. Quarterback Henri Chatman, the City League player of the year in 2009, graduated. Adam Lynch, a 6-foot, 175-pound junior, takes over at QB. Running back Joel Nesbit figures to be one of the Bulls' top players. Manny Reed and Dom Patterson will be the receivers.
Brashear allowed only 94 points last year and the defense could be fairly strong again. Linebackers Dillon Semian and linebacker Matt Truesdell will be two of the defensive leaders.
Carrick made the City League playoffs in 2007, but won only four and three games the next two seasons. Can the Raiders make it back to the postseason this year? JaJuan Thomas might have a lot to say about that. Thomas was an all-City League selection last year after catching 31 passes for 456 yards.
But Coach Jeff McCafferty has to find a new quarterback after Ryan Roeper graduated. Frank Kalsek and Henry Meyers were competing for the job in the preseason.
McCafferty believes slotback-defensive back Lafon Pace could have a big season. Damario Patterson also is back at receiver. McCafferty believes line play will be a key for his team.
After winning four games and making the City League playoffs in 2008, Langley returned to its woeful ways last year, going 0-8.
Langley features one of the best running backs in the City in Joe Bell. But how will he fare behind an inexperienced line? Jaquan Green is back at quarterback and Brian Gray and Austin Turner at receiver. Maybe they can help spark an offense that scored only 82 points last season, second-worst in District 8.
A City League championship game participant two of the past four seasons, Oliver might be a little down this year. Coach Tim Keefer has only four returning lettermen from a team that lost the City title game to Schenley, 34-32, in double overtime. Eight starters on both offense and defense graduated.
One of Keefer's biggest concerns is building an offensive line. Kenneth Matthews is the only returning linemen. The other returning lettermen are running back-linebacker Tyree Mathis, center-linebacker Josh Glove and tight end-linebacker Devante Tiller.
Top newcomers include running back Trevon Kendrick, quarterback-defensive back Shakeem Cox and quarterback-defensive back LeAndre Harrison.
The Highlanders have only one returning starter from a team that went 3-6 last season. Second-year coach Leonard Carter is hoping quarterback Dontae Ford is as good as he was two years ago. Ford made all-City in 2008, but missed most of last season with an ankle injury.
Fullback Jaylen Coleman, receiver-linebacker Josh Butler and receiver-safety Shannon Binion hope to make impact this season. The offense needs to improve after averaging only 14 points a game last season.
Is this the season the Commodores return to glory. After winning six City titles in a row from 2000-05, Perry has fallen back to earth, making the championship only once in the past four years.
Perry might be good as anybody in the City
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