Freshman’s kick return sparks Westinghouse past University Prep in City League title game

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Saturday, October 28, 2023 | 7:28 PM


When it comes to City League football, the ‘House has become a household name in recent years.

In its sixth straight title game appearance, Westinghouse once again rose above the rest of its Pittsburgh adversaries as the Bulldogs defended their title, beating University Prep, 42-14.

The victory gives the Bulldogs four titles in five years.

“I’m really happy for our guys,” Westinghouse coach Donta Green said. “They put a lot of this into this. For them to come out and get this win is very gratifying.”

It was pure championship football with every inch and every play met with a heightened importance.

Westinghouse’s latest City League championship, however, was typified by one crucial play, and who better to make it than a freshman?

“I knew we needed a big play,” Green said. “Didn’t know who it would come from. That’s one of the great things about this team. We have a lot of great players who can make plays.”

After both teams regrouped in the locker room for halftime, the opening kick to start the second half was just moments away as Westinghouse was clinging to a two-point lead.

As the ball hung in the air, Jordan Reid backpedaled and caught it over his shoulder at the 11-yard line. Moving to his right, he found a lane that was set up by excellent special teams blocking. From there, his speed took care of the rest as he was gone for the 89-yard score to give Westinghouse a 16-6 lead.

“Our team needed momentum, and if I got the kick, just take it to the crib,” Reid said. “I saw a dude coming at me on the left. I saw the hole and hit it and scored.”

While Westinghouse struggled to break through a pesky University Prep defense, the kick return sparked an improved second half for the Bulldogs that was built on opportunistic offense.

“High school football is unique in that it’s all about momentum,” University Prep coach Lou Berry said. “As soon as something goes bad, all it takes is one individual to drop his head and next thing you know, it is exploited and it got out of control based on our special teams.”

The opportunities came for the Bulldogs thanks to their defensive tenacity as Josiah Collins jumped on a loose ball to give them prime field position on the USO 16.

Six plays later, Westinghouse quarterback Khalil Green called his own number and kept it for 3-yard touchdown — one of four rushing scores for the junior — to make it 22-6.

Entering the title game, University Prep was riding its stout defense, only allowing one score in its last four games. The Wildcats certainly brought that same defense to play in the first half, but Westinghouse finally cracked the bend-but-don’t-break defense in the second half.

“We just had to settle in,” Green said. “Once we made a few adjustments, we started firing on all cylinders.”

Once the Bulldogs found their rhythm on offense, there was no stopping them from reaching the end zone, and it was Green who led the charge.

After the defense set up another offensive drive thanks to a Kyshawn Robinson interception, Green took off on a 61-yard keeper. He added another touchdown on the ground from 18 yards out late in the fourth quarter for his fourth score of the game.

“Shout out my O-line,” Khalil Green said. “My O-line did that for us.”

The offensive line also paved the way for Ty Abram, who paced the Bulldogs with 117 yards on 21 carries and was named the City League championship player of the game.

For University Prep, it found itself ahead quickly as Max Qureshi hit senior receiver Daniel Cain, who slipped through a tackle for a 38-yard touchdown. The early score was an indication that the Wildcats were going to put up a fight.

“Up through halftime, I thought we were stepping up to the challenge,” Berry said.

Qureshi, who returned after missing last week’s first-round matchup due to a concussion, finished the day 12 of 39 for 169 yards and a touchdown.

“This was (Qureshi’s) first action in a couple weeks,” Berry said. “There was a little bit of rust there.”

Westinghouse has now completed one of its season goals with winning a City League title, but the Bulldogs are not looking to stop anytime soon.

“We got two more goals: districts and states,” Reid said. “We are looking to kill anyone we play.”

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