Throughout their 12-0 season, players and coaches on the Westinghouse Bulldogs have talked with sweeping terms. They want to make history and overcome adversity and remain utterly focused on those goals.
After Westinghouse advanced to the state quarterfinals with a 44-8 win over the Central Clarion Wildcats, one of the coaches mentioned that they’d advanced the farthest of any Bulldogs team in over 20 years. He noted that with each passing win, the pressure to make history increases.
With temperatures hovering around freezing and 10 mile per hour winds during the game, three-star linebacker and strong safety Roderick Jeter said the team’s focus on adversity prepared him for playing in bitter weather.
“It’s definitely harder [than] when it’s hot outside, not gonna lie,” Jeter said. “But we face adversity every single day. We talk about adversity every single day. We’re prepared for it.”
The Bulldogs’ closest margins of victory this season came by 21 and 31 points. They don’t just beat their opponents. They crush them. Earlier in the season, quarterback Keyshawn Morsillo said the focus on adversity goes beyond the game of football: the Bulldogs face the stigma of playing in the City League and representing often-maligned Homewood.
“It’s a good community. People always say, ‘Homewood this, Homewood’s so bad,’ like that,” Morsillo said. “The football program, Westinghouse itself, it’s not a bad program. There’s nothing wrong with the city. Westinghouse is a good school for all types of kids.”
The focus on overcoming adversity began during the 2021 season, when the Bulldogs lost the City League Championship 14-0 to Taylor Allderdice, who they’d defeated by 29 points earlier in the season. Morsillo said the loss had a profound effect on Westinghouse.
“It really humbled us. We were coming out flat, [weren’t] really playing the best football that we could play,” Morsillo said. “We had to realize that it’s not just about one individual… all the guys, together, we play as one family.”
Jeter said the way Westinghouse’s players play together stands out.
“In the beginning we didn’t all know each other. The chemistry wasn’t there,” Jeter said. “As we got further in the season, our chemistry grew. Our bond got way better. I just love my brothers and we love playing together.”
After each win, Westinghouse’s coaches tell the players they have 24 hours to savor victory before getting back to work. The Bulldogs’ defense, led by Jeter, had a huge showing against Central Clarion, crashing into the backfield on almost every play. Jeter gave himself a moment to think about how the defensive performance reflected on him as a senior leader but zeroed back in just as fast.
“It’s amazing, it shows me I’m doing a good job,” Jeter said. “I’ve gotta keep my foot on the pedal, but we all know what’s at stake. We all know the goal that we need to reach. So as a defense, we come together, and we play hard.”