BRENDAN WALLS goes airborne to catch a pass for University Prep, also known as USO, in a huge win over Allderdice, Sept. 20. (Photos by Courier photographer Andre Swinton Jr.)
by Rob Taylor Jr., Courier Staff Writer
Even though Allderdice had yet to win a game this season, the Dragons were still, in many local sportswriters’ eyes, the favorite to three-peat as City League champions.
But last Friday, Sept. 20, they met up against the University Prep (USO) Panthers, who were undefeated at 4-0.
“For some odd reason (before the game), I put up on our board in our football room our USO history against Allderdice, and the first five matchups against Allderdice, we won all five and brought home two championships against that top-notch program,” USO coach Lou Berry told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “We hadn’t beaten them since 2013—so there was a lot of incentive tonight to really play hard and go after it. Make a statement.”
After USO’s 40-6 domination of Allderdice on Sept. 20, it’s safe to say, statement made.
Senior Michael Snowden, who’s committed to the University of Akron, scored three rushing touchdowns for USO (5-0, 3-0 in City League), and Rashad Murray scored two defensive touchdowns.
“If you look at the history of this program, it’s always been built on defense, and if we can get our offensive side of the ball to catch up with our defense, we bring home trophies, and that’s the plan,” Berry told the Courier after the game.
USO comprises the schools University Prep, Sci-Tech, and Obama—you must have chemistry to mix the players from all three schools into a winning combination. Berry sees great results coming from the lab.
“The chemistry piece is pretty much the reason why this is happening,” he said. “It’s a senior group that doesn’t possess a whole lot of on-field experience, but they’ve been in the program three, four years—now it’s their turn. And a lot of those seniors have stepped up and really taken us to another level.”
Seniors like Malachi Quarles, who had a major impact in the win against Allderdice. “Malachi was a role player for us in this program the past three years…found it difficult to find a starting role defensively for us,” Berry said. “Now this year he comes on as one of our four captains, one of our defensive leaders, and he just plays like a man with his hair on fire.”
The only score of the game for Allderdice (0-5, 0-2 in City League) was an 82-yard touchdown run by Dajaun Williams.
USO’s remaining three regular season games are at Steubenville (Sept. 27), home vs. Brashear (Oct. 3) and at Sharon (Oct. 11). Whether they win out or not, their current commanding lead in the City League standings should secure USO a spot in the City League semi-finals, to be played a week after the regular season ends. A win in the semis, and they’ll have a chance to win their first City League football championship since 2016.
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