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City League rivals USO, Allderdice set for rematch

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City League FINAL USO vs. Allderdice 1 p.m. Saturday | Cupples Stadium

USO (8-0)

Playoff history: The third-year program, a co-op of University Prep, Obama Acadmey and Science and Technology, has played in the City League championship each year of its existence, winning in 2011 and falling last year to Perry.

Coach: As a first-year coach in 2011, Lou Berry led USO to a 14-0 win over Allderdice in the City championship game.

Leaders: Passing: Ronald Brown, 140-227-2,681-25 TDs; Receiving: Marcus Johnson, 27-728-12 TDs.

Starting offense

QB Ronald Brown 5-9 150 Jr.

RB Abner Roberts 5-10 185 Sr.

WR Marcus Johnson 6-2 180 Sr.

WR Clay Moorefield 5-6 160 Sr.

WR Nicholas Stallworth 5-10 180 Sr.

WR S. Hawthorne-Clark 5-10 170 Jr.

OL Kevin Williams 5-10 220 Jr.

OL Deandre Cotton 6-0 220 Sr.

OL Jaseem Campbell 5-8 200 So.

OL Juwan Hutchison 5-10 230 So.

OL Zacheria Sesay 5-11 230 Jr.

K/P Noah Stewart 5-10 170 Sr.

Starting defense

DL Kevin Williams 5-10 220 Sr.

DL Juwan Hutchison 5-10 230 So.

DE Donald Alexander 6-0 180 Jr.

LB Robert Andrews 5-10 185 So.

LB Reggie Turner 5-10 175 Sr.

DB Geonte Turner 5-10 160 Sr.

DB Curis Williams 5-10 180 Sr.

DB Abner Roberts 5-10 185 Sr.

DB Nicholas Stallworth 5-10 180 Sr.

DB Marcus Johnson 6-2 180 Sr.

DB S. Hawthorne-Clark 5-10 170 Jr.

Allderdice (5-4)

Playoff history: The Dragons are seeking their first City League championship since 1967, the longest drought of any school in the league, open or closed.

Coach: Jerry Haslett is in his fifth season at Allderdice after a long stint as the Oliver defensive coordinator. The Dragons are 20-30 in that span.

Leaders: Passing: James Jackson, 67-168-1,345-9 TDs; Rushing: Marquis Martin, 135-571-7 TDs; Receiving: Timothy Jackson, 23-758-7 TDs.

Starting offense

QB James Jackson 6-1 155 So.

RB Marquis Martin 6-1 185 Sr.

FB Matt Hill 6-1 220 Sr.

WR Joe Graham 6-1 185 Jr.

WR Jamir Powell 6-1 155 Jr.

WR Timothy Jackson 6-1 155 So.

OL Robert Smith 6-1 252 Jr.

OL Talon Scott 6-2 226 Jr.

OL Brody Miller 6-2 280 Sr.

OL Jalen Ledbetter 5-10 248 Jr.

OL Anthony Langford 5-9 235 Jr.

Starting defense

DE Talon Scott 6-2 226 Jr.

DL James Czachowski 6-0 255 Jr.

DL Jalen Ledbetter 5-10 248 Jr.

DE Jaden Palmer 6-0 218 Sr.

OLB Marquis Martin 6-1 185 Sr.

OLB Antonio Thomas 5-6 158 Sr.

ILB Sergio Silva 5-9 215 Jr.

CB Trevon Williams 5-7 150 So.

CB Jamir Powell 6-1 155 Jr.

FS Timothy Jackson 6-1 155 So.

SS Joe Graham 6-1 185 Jr.

Top high school sports
By Alex Oltmanns
Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 10:06 p.m.

USO took down Allderdice, 43-14, on Oct. 4, but when the two teams square off again less than a month later for the City League championship at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cupples Stadium, USO will be up against a much improved team.

Coming off a 14-10 win in the semifinals over Brashear, the Dragons were led by their top two playmakers, twins Timothy (quarterback) and James (wide receiver) Jackson, who connected on touchdown passes of 37 and 24 yards.

“First and foremost we have to make sure we limit the success that Allderdice has on offense,” USO coach Lou Berry said. “They have a dynamic sophomore quarterback, and his twin brother is his favorite target as a wide receiver. As I reviewed the film of the playoff game I see that they have gotten a lot better, so we have to keep those two individuals under control.”

USO's 29-point win over Allderdice may seem a bit lopsided, but the game had the potential to be much closer, as the Dragons committed four turnovers inside USO's 20-yard line, a trend Allderdice (5-4) hopes will not continue on Saturday.

“The learning process is pretty much done,” Allderdice coach Jerry Haslett said of his team's preparation. “We've seen them play all year. I don't know how much they're going to do different. We learned we can't turn the ball over in their end of the field, we can't turn the ball over period.”

USO features one of the premier passing attacks in the City League in recent years, led by senior quarterback Ronald Brown and senior wide receiver Marcus Johnson. Brown has thrown for 2,681 yards this season and 25 touchdowns, with 12 of those scores going to Johnson.

Haslett said Allderdice's best defense will be to control the ball and clock on offense, with the help of the Jackson twins and senior tailback Marquis Martin.

“I think we need to be able to run the ball and hold onto it and try to keep it away from them a little bit,” Haslett said. “They are pretty explosive. I've been coaching in this league a long time, and they kind of remind you of the Perry teams of old where if you make them sustain a drive it's hard for them to do, but they can end up going 80 on you in one play. … It's hard to keep a team like that down.”

USO (8-0) will appear in its third straight City League final since the school's inception, with Saturday's game marking a rematch of the 2011 title game that USO won 14-0. It fell to Perry last season.

“A number of our key athletes for Saturday's contest participated in the 2011 championship,” Berry said, “so I think they'll come in with a lot more confidence because they've participated at that stage before.”

Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.

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