University Prep has won eight games in a row since Ron Brown became the team's quarterback. If he can make it nine wins this weekend, University Prep will be City League champions.
Brown & Co. will face Allderdice in the City League championship Saturday afternoon at Cupples Stadium.
Allderdice is 5-4 this year and 4-1 against other City teams, with that only loss coming against University Prep in early October. The final score was 43-14. But it could have been much different.
"You can't read too much into the score," University Prep coach Lou Berry said. "They're a totally new team since then."
Allderdice was leading, 7-6, and driving in the second quarter before a fumble on the 10 killed its momentum. University Prep drove 90 yards and scored, taking the lead and never looked back.
University Prep's receivers haven't done much looking back all season. With Brown leading their spread offense, they've picked up almost 2,800 yards through the air, far and away the most of any team in the district.
Marcus Johnson leads all players with 1,186 yards receiving. His 22.8 yards per catch is a testament to his ability and Brown's. Clay Moorefield and Stephon Hawthorne-Clark are next on the receiving tree, and running back Abner Roberts gets in the action as well.
The spread offense usually is too much for teams to handle. The plan for Allderdice, which uses 4-3 and 3-4 defensive fronts, is to keep defenders mostly in coverage and not to waste too many players blitzing.
"I don't think in all honesty that you can really get too much pressure," Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. "He takes the snap in shotgun, takes two steps and throws. I don't think there's too much sense in blitzing him."
Haslett is looking for another good game from outside linebacker Marquis Martin. On offense, Martin doubles as the team's running back, playing alongside the sophomore duo of quarterback James Jackson and his favorite target, twin brother Timothy.
"The rapport they have with each other is pretty unique," said Haslett, who understands it as a twin himself.
University Prep fell to Perry in the championship game last season, losing in overtime, 9-6. It has 12 starters back from that team.
Coaches remind players about it every week.
"I'm still disappointed from that loss," Berry said. "Me, personally, I'll never forget that."
A win Saturday might help.
Nick Veronica: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @NickVeronica.