University Prep reclaims the throne

CITY LEAGUE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

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The cheerleaders for the University Prep football team have "Eagles" scripted on their uniforms. Someone dressed as an eagle also attended the City League championship.

This is despite the fact that University Prep's official nickname is Wildcats.

But forget the identity problem. Just call University Prep "City League champs." Again.

Led by quarterback Ron Brown, University Prep won its second City League championship in three years with a 33-20 victory against Allderdice Saturday at Cupples Stadium on South Side. The win comes a year after losing in overtime to Perry in the title game.

"I think about last year every day," University Prep coach Lou Berry said. "When we assemble as a coaching staff, we talk about last year almost on a daily basis. We were so close to winning back-to-back and it still burns. But we worked hard, attempted to get another one and it worked out this year."

The win lifted University Prep's record to 9-0, but this was unlike any previous wins. For the first time, University Prep trailed in the fourth quarter. But the Wildcats got a 30-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Marcus Johnson with 6:04 left to take the lead for good, and then added a defensive touchdown and a safety for the final points.

Allderdice (5-5), trying to win a City League title for the first time since 1967, put up a valiant effort. Marquis Martin rushed for 116 yards on 38 attempts. But the Dragons couldn't hold on down the stretch.

Brown, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound junior, completed 17 of 34 passes for 277 yards and put himself in the record books as the first City League quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season (he has 3,075). Only three in WPIAL history have done it.

"I think our offense was actually looking forward to a situation like this," Berry said. "They finally had to come through when the game was on the line."

University Prep led at halftime, 13-7, and Abner Roberts' 15-yard touchdown run made it 19-7 with 5:29 left in the third. But Allderdice's Jamir Powell caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from James Jackson. Then after Tim Jackson intercepted Brown for the second time, Allderdice had the ball at the University Prep 23. Five plays later, Martin scored on a 1-yard run and Matt Hahn's extra point gave Allderdice the lead.

Johnson's go-ahead catch came on a third-and-10 play from the Allderdice 30.

"I made a double move to get open," said Johnson, who has 22 touchdowns this season. "Double moves really sting people in the City League."

After Johnson's score, Robert Andrews scored a touchdown when he recovered a bad punt snap by Allderdice. University Prep added a safety a few minutes later.

Oh, and about the nickname thing. University Prep is made up of a cooperative sponsorship of three schools -- University Prep, Science & Technology and Obama Academy. The team uses Obama's cheerleaders and Obama's nickname is Eagles.

Now University Prep will play in the PIAA Class AAA playoffs Friday at Cupples against Somerset (9-1). Allderdice will play in the Class AAAA playoffs Nov. 15 against Erie McDowell at Cupples.

Mike White: mwhite@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.


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