USO beats Allderdice for 1st place in City League
In the most meaningful City League game this season, USO shrugged off some early cobwebs to defeat Allderdice, 43-14, and claim sole possession of first place in the league standings.
“We've never been 5-0, so this is a first for our program,” USO coach Lou Berry said.
USO (5-0, 3-0) struggled to find momentum early. Quarterback Ron Brown threw an interception to kill the first drive, and the Allderdice running game kept USO's quick-striking offense on the sideline for a majority of the first half.
“We think we can run the ball on pretty much anyone,” Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said. “We tried to take the ball out of (the USO offense's) hands.”
USO was able to take advantage of a short field — starting at the Allderdice 31-yard line — and broke the scoreless tie midway through the first quarter when Brown found Marcus Johnson from 11 yards out.
The Dragons (2-4, 2-1) immediately responded on the next possession with a 15-play, 65-yard drive that ended with Matt Hill's 13-yard touchdown run for a 7-6 lead.
“I take my hat off to Allderdice on the 15-play drive,” Berry said. “That's the type of game they wanted to play. That particular series they executed amazingly.”
Alllderdice looked to seize more momentum on USO's ensuing drive when James Jackson intercepted Brown for the second time in the half.
With Allderdice at the USO 9 and looking to build on its lead, quarterback Timothy Jackson fumbled the snap and USO recovered. Brown, as he's done all season, marched the Panthers 91 yards for another score. This time Brown found Clay Moorefield for a 12-yard touchdown pass, and a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
“We made a play to keep them out of the end zone,” Berry said. “If they score there, the game may be a different animal.”
Haslett added: “You can't turn the ball over. It's a proven fact, if you turn the ball over one more time than your opponent, 85 percent of the time you're losing.”
In all, USO forced five turnovers, but none more critical than the botched snapped inside the 10-yard line.
USO scored four more touchdowns in the second half to put the game out of reach. Johnson added a 6-yard touchdown grab from Brown and a 1-yard run, while Moorefield caught a 25-yard score. Darius Shields scored USO's last touchdown on a 6-yard run.
Brown finished 22 of 38 for 281 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Moorefield led all receivers with nine catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson finished with five catches for 72 yards, two receiving touchdowns and one rushing score.
USO will face Westinghouse next week before finishing out the regular season against Perry.
“Allderdice is a very good football team. Well coached. They play to the whistle,” Berry said. “I wouldn't be surprised if we see them again.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer