Heavy-hearted Allderdice defends City League football title

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018 | 10:39 PM


The Pittsburgh City League championship is remaining at Allderdice High School for another season.

And the Dragons hope it is just the continuation of a special run.

“Before the game we said, ‘We won last year — (let’s) win this year and maybe start a dynasty like Westinghouse has done in the past,” said Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett, whose Dragons successfully defended their City title from a year ago with an 18-8 victory over Westinghouse at Cupples Stadium.

The victory underscored a difficult few days for the Allderdice High School community. The school sits about a mile from the Tree of Life Congregation where the mass shooting took place Saturday. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but was moved to Tuesday following the shooting.

Tuesday evening began with a moment of silence for the victims. Representatives from both teams then read brief statements immediately prior to the National Anthem.

“I’m proud of them coming out on top,” Haslett said. “It’s a tough game to play with three days rest like we’ve had, but it’s also really difficult with what happened in our community. I just think this will help our community maybe heal a little bit.”

Allderdice (6-4) won its sixth straight game and avenged its last defeat — a 28-22 loss to Westinghouse in Week 4. Westinghouse, which was looking for its first City League title since 1996, slipped to 4-6.

Dalen Dugger, Allderdice’s dual-threat senior signal-caller was named the game’s MVP. He completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 145 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 38 yards and another score as the Dragons never trailed.

Dugger’s scoring toss went to Rashawn Harvey, who finished with five catches for 82 yards. Rashuan Caldwell rushed for 72 yards and Allderdice’s other touchdown.

“I couldn’t do it without my line; I really appreciate them,” Dugger said. “(We can) hand it down to the underclassmen now. Hopefully, they can get it next year, make it three times in a row.”

Turnovers and penalties plagued both teams in the first half.

Harvey’s second-quarter interception set up his own 34-yard touchdown pass from Dugger to give Allderdice a 6-0 lead at 6:29 in the second quarter.

Westinghouse drove inside the Allderdice 5-yard line on its first possession of the third quarter, but turned the ball over on downs.

“I don’t think they showed us anything different; I think they stuck to their script,” Westinghouse coach Monte Robinson said. “They beat us up, up front, and they were the better team today. We played tough throughout most of the game, (but) I think we missed opportunities that came back to bite us. We should have punched it in down in the red zone coming out of the half.”

That stop indeed proved critical. The Dragons followed by marching 96 yards in six plays as Caldwell capped the drive with a 23-yard touchdown scamper that he set up with a 40-yard rush on the previous snap for a 12-0 lead at 6:28 in the third quarter.

Another interception gave the Dragons possession at the Westinghouse 10-yard line, and Dugger rumbled 10 yards on the next play as Allderdice’s lead swelled to 18-0 with 10:15 to play in the game.

“We went through adversity all week at practice,” Dugger said. “We knew what they were going to come out and do. We knew their weak spots, and we just exploited it.”

Allderdice had two touchdowns called back due to holding penalties on their final possession. Westinghouse then stripped the ball on fourth down and took it all the way to the Allderdice 14-yard line with less than two minutes to play. That set up Westinghouse’s lone score when Cameron Jones rushed for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 18-8.

Jones finished with 155 rushing yards on 27 carries.

“We weren’t making plays the way we usually do,” Robinson said. “Our running game never really got off the way we wanted to, but we had some times in the game where we did. The most important thing that really happened to us were the penalties. Timely penalties where we would gash them, and then penalties. We just couldn’t hold on down the stretch.”

The Dragons will be back in action Saturday, taking on District 10’s McDowell in a PIAA subregional.

Jesse Geleynse is a freelance writer.

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