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City League championship a rematch of goal-line stand

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Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
USO's Akil Young looks for an open receiver during the game against Perry at Cupples Stadium on Friday September 21, 2012.

City League Championship

1 p.m., Saturday at Cupples Stadium

USO (5-2)

Coach: Lou Berry

Starting offense

QB 10 A. Young 6-2 170 sr.

RB 4 A. Roberts 5-9 165 jr.

WR 1 M. Johnson 6-2 165 jr.

WR 3 C. Moorefield 5-5 145 jr.

TE 7 M. Catlin 6-0 200 sr.

WR 6 M. Wright 6-1 175 sr.

LT 51 J. Campbell 5-10 245 fr.

LG 55 J. Brown 6-0 200 sr.

C 53 K. Williams 5-10 185 so.

RG 66 K. Adams 5-10 275 jr.

RT 52 D. Caviness 5-11 185 sr.

K 83 N. Stewart 5-9 155 jr.

Starting defense

DE 8 R. Daniels 6-2 185 sr.

DT 55 J. Brown 6-0 200 sr.

DT 56 J. Scarbrough 6-2 280 so.

DE 43 V. McClendon 5-11 175 sr.

OLB 7 M. Catlin 6-0 200 sr.

MLB 18 L. Butler 5-11 205 sr.

OLB 20 T. Williams 5-10 175 sr.

CB 4 A. Roberts 5-9 165 jr.

CB 24 T. Taylor 5-10 155 sr.

S 1 M. Johnson 6-2 165 jr.

S 14 M. Klemm 5-10 160 jr.

K-P 83 N. Stewart 5-9 155 jr.

Perry (7-2)

Coach: Bill Gallagher

Starting offense

QB 21 A. Turner 6-0 188 sr.

RB 10 C. Edmonds 5-9 194 sr.

RB 7 R. Willie 5-8 207 sr.

WR 6 D. Barnes 5-9 156 sr.

WR 1 M. Claybourne 5-11 161 jr.

TE 15 J. Byrd 6-0 181 sr.

LT 50 L. Reid 6-2 233 sr.

LG 53 G. Moore 6-0 259 jr.

C 52 J. Herring 6-0 266 sr.

RG 51 K. Humphreys 6-4 247 jr.

RT 64 C. Watson 6-3 245 sr.

K 20 C. Coates 5-11 177 jr.

Starting defense

DE 15 J. Byrd 6-0 181 sr.

DT 52 J. Herring 6-0 266 sr.

DT 51 K. Humphreys 6-4 247 jr.

DE 50 L. Reid 6-2 233 sr.

OLB 2 D. Clark 6-1 182 sr.

ILB 7 R. Willie 5-8 207 sr.

ILB 34 C. Houston 5-11 195 so.

OLB 4 S. Cox 6-1 190 sr.

CB 1 M. Claybourne 5-11 161 jr.

S 6 D. Barnes 5-9 156 sr.

CB 9 K. Mahdi 5-8 165 jr.

P 4 S. Cox 6-1 190 sr.

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Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 11:59 p.m.

When USO last played Perry, 1 yard separated it from the goal line. Four times, USO ran the ball up the middle in an attempt to score the tying touchdown.

Four times, the Commodores kept USO out of the end zone for a 12-6 victory.

When USO (5-2) plays Perry (7-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cupples Stadium on the South Side in a rematch of that Oct. 19 regular-season game, the City League championship will be on the line.

“It means a lot,” USO senior quarterback Akil Young said. “We came so close and ended up so short. We felt like we left the game in the refs' hands. We want to play harder so it doesn't come down to the last call to determine the game.”

Young could play a major role in helping USO — a second-year cooperative agreement between University Prep, Science and Technology and Obama Academy — try to defend its City League championship.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder led the City in passing with 1,416 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, including a 357-yard, three-touchdown performance in the 46-6 victory over Brashear last week in a City semifinal.

Young completed 11 of 28 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown against Perry. That included a 26-yard scoring pass to Marcus Johnson, a talented junior who has 27 receptions for 497 yards and four touchdowns.

But Young believes USO got greedy in trying to take too many shots downfield instead of concentrating on its bread and butter of short and intermediate passes.

“He does a very nice job. He throws an accurate ball, throws the intermediate ball very, very well for a high school quarterback,” Perry coach Bill Gallagher said. “When he scrambles, he keeps his eyes downfield. He does a good job of finding the open receiver. They put a lot on his shoulders, and he does very well.”

Young said USO players were not only playing with heavy hearts against Perry last month, only six days after USO junior offensive-defensive tackle Ne'Ondre Harbour was shot and killed in Garfield, but they missed Harbour's presence on both sides of the ball.

“I feel like we were caught up in all of the emotion for our teammate,” Young said. “We were thinking if he was there, it might have been different. He was a big body on the line. Not having him hurt.”

Gallagher, however, is expecting another close game. The Commodores have a dual-threat quarterback in senior Ahmed Turner, who ran for two touchdowns against USO, and a 1,000-yard rusher in senior Curtis Edmonds.

Perry's defense, led by a tough front four, is allowing only 5.5 points per game against City League opponents this season. None scored more than 14 points.

“Our goal is always to stop the other team from scoring,” Gallagher said. “We don't have any specific number. We feel like if we stop them from scoring and we can score, that's our best chance of winning.”

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7812.

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