University Prep Dethrones Brashear for City League Football Gold

Saturday, November 5, 2016 | 10:38 PM

Based on the first meeting between Brashear and University Prep back on Oct. 20, it seemed as if Saturday’s City League Championship between those two teams would result in a similar 13-0 win for USO, despite much more favorable playing conditions, rather than the monsoon and inclement weather that day, which moved up the start time of that game.

Instead, it was the battle of who could overcome adversity the best Saturday afternoon at Cupples Stadium on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Penalties and turnovers for both sides piled up, and it came down to the penultimate possession of the game to determine the winner.

After a scoreless first quarter in which Brashear had favorable field position several times, the Bulls were shut out in the second quarter as well. It was the right foot of Sebastian Conway-Phillips that paved the way to the only points in the first 24 minutes of play, all thanks to a 33-yard field goal with 10:16 to play in the half, as the Wildcats led Brashear heading into the locker room with a slim 3-0 lead.

That lead didn’t last long in the second half, as Brashear’s Richard Stone took the opening kickoff 92 yards to give the Bulls their first lead of the afternoon. Brashear seemed like a new team coming out of the locker room in the second half, as Sha’rron Steave found Bryant Johnson for a 51-yard touchdown a little over two minutes later to give the Bulls a 14-3 lead, which stood for the rest of the quarter.

It seemed that score would hold for the entirety of the fourth quarter as well, but USO’s Dorian Jackson scored on an eight-yard touchdown with 5:48 to go in regulation, despite a trio of interceptions thrown by fellow teammate Tawan Walker. Jackson’s touchdown came after he recovered a Brashear fumble at his own 15 yard line. Even though USO’s two-point conversion was no good, the Wildcats were within one score.

After a series of penalties and three rushing plays went nowhere for Brashear, USO had one final chance with a little over a minute remaining in regulation. Darious Shields fielded a short punt at the Brashear 42, and returned it inside the 10. However, an illegal block in the back penalty negated a majority of the return yards, but the Wildcats had prime field position with one timeout. It took three plays, but on thid-and-10, Shields squirted free on the near sideline, high-pointing Walker’s pass, slipped past the safety and waltzed into the end zone five yards out from there on a 36-yard pitch and catch. USO’s two-point conversion was once again no good, but the Wildcats regained the lead 15-14 with 56 seconds to go.

That would eventually be the final score, as USO’s defense stood tall, causing a last-minute turnover to regain possession.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Brashear didn’t have much to play for. The Bulls finished the regular season 4-5, meaning they did not qualify for the state playoffs. Brashear did have pride to play for however, as the Bulls were looking to three-peat as City League champions. But for the third time in the short six-year history of USO, the Wildcats were crowned champions of District 8, and will play Erie Cathedral Prep Nov. 18 in the Class 4A state playoffs.

Brashear          0 0 14 0–14
USO                0 3 0 12–15

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