South/West/North Xtra: Brashear opens against defending champ Perry


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For the Pittsburgh City League's opening night, the marquee could not have provided a better matchup than what is slated for tonight.

Featuring two of the league's powerhouse programs, the showdown between Perry Traditional Academy and Brashear also is likely a possible playoff preview when the teams meet at 7 p.m. at Cupples Stadium on the South Side.

"This is a good, legitimate rivalry between us and Brashear," Perry coach Bill Gallagher said. "In this day and age, especially with social media, all the kids know everybody. That makes it a lot of fun.

"It's always a good game when we play Brashear."

The defending league champion Commodores picked up a 26-6 win against the Bulls last year. Brashear ended up edging Perry the previous season, 13-12.

The rivals, however, typically don't play each other until later in the season, making the second-week tilt that much more interesting.

"It's one of those things where the game happened to fall on the schedule," Brashear coach Rick Murphy said. "Obviously, it's a big game for us and one of our bigger rivals. We're just going to try to approach this game with the same attitude as we do with every game."

Entering the season ranked No. 1 in the City League by the Post-Gazette, Perry comes into its first league game after a 55-0 loss last week against District 10's Erie Cathedral Prep. The Commodores gathered just three first downs and 21 yards of total offense against the Ramblers.

"It was one of those scenarios where if something could go wrong it went wrong," Gallagher said. "From us mishandling our opening kickoff to having a punt blocked to fumbling the ball early, everything went wrong during the first half. It was totally uncharacteristic of us.

"We had a lot of first-game jitters to work through. We started to get into a rhythm in the second half.

"There's a lot that needs to be fixed before this week. We hope to get better."

DeSean McGhee and Shawn Rutherford shared snaps as Perry's quarterback against Cathedral Prep. McGhee completed the only pass, though, going 1 of 5 with two interceptions.

"I would really like one of them to step up and grab the position," Gallagher said. "Both are hard workers and bring a lot of skill sets. We would like one to step up so we can have that continuity there at that position."

Kevin Griffin, Malik James and McGhee were three of six running backs Perry featured in the first week of the season.

"Perry is always a strong running team," Murphy said. "Their coaching staff always does a great job with that team. They're consistently good on defense and are going to run the ball well on offense.

"We're just going to have to play our games and hope to compete."

The No. 3 Bulls also struggled last week, losing a 44-7 non-conference game at Slippery Rock.

"We made a lot of mistakes last week, so hopefully we can move past them," Murphy said. "We're going to try to move on and get things straightened out this week."

Ty Powe, a transfer from Imani Christian, scored Brashear's lone score with a 14-yard touchdown run.

"The one good thing about it being a short week is that playing Brashear helps with our focus," Gallagher said. "Brashear is always well coached and very talented. This is a good opener for us.

"From watching tape on them, their offensive and defensive lines seem to be their strength. They have some very good skilled players again, so this is going to be a big challenge for us."

For Murphy, he believes Brashear's biggest obstacle lies with improving from last week's mistakes.

"We're going to have to play better on defense," he said. "On offense, we were able to do some things well, but obviously we'd like to score more than seven points.

"We're going to make some adjustments on defense and hope to play much better this week."



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