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Connor Young, Beckham Dee Leading the Charge for Mt. Lebanon

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Central Catholic. Atlanta Falcons

The Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils opened their season with a commanding 28-7 win over the Gateway Gators. The Blue Devils controlled the pace of play with dominant line play from the offensive and defensive lines, pitching a shutout for the majority of the game. 

It All Starts Up Front

Senior lineman Connor Young, who committed to Navy in June, talked about how Mt. Lebanon dominated the trenches.

“All week we’ve been talking about just hammering the ball, running the ball. We obviously executed very well tonight,” Young said. “This is a very good team that we went up against and we were able to shut them out for most of the night.”

Playing on the defensive line, Young put consistent pressure on Gateway quarterback Brad Birch, a fellow D1 prospect. While linemen don’t always show up on the box score with quarterback sacks, instead creating opportunities for the rest of their teammates, Young said he’s working on stopping quarterbacks himself this year. He sacked Birch twice, seeing early returns on his summer training.

“Over the summer and in the offseason I’ve been working on my pass rushing, trying to get more sacks,” Young said. “Last year I didn’t have too many, but this year I already have two under my belt so it’s going really well.”

That plays into what the Naval Academy has in store for him, as he said his future coaches want him to focus specifically on his pass rushing.

“They want me to work on my speed and my pass rushing, that’s the main thing,” Young said. “My strength too, they want me… to press people off and get to the ball as quick as I can.”

Honing Both Sides of the Ball

Young isn’t the only player on the Blue Devils committed to a service academy. Beckham Dee, a fellow senior who plays running back and linebacker, committed to the Air Force Falcons last month

Dee, like Young, said that his future coaches in Colorado Springs want him to focus on building general athleticism. While it sounds like Navy wants Young to focus on the defensive line, Dee said he doesn’t have a specific position in mind yet at the next level.

He prioritized defense in the past, but wants to show his well-rounded ability this season.

“That was a main focus for me in the offseason, to improve my offensive game,” Dee said. “My defensive game I was really confident in last year and I think for me, just proving [I can do that] on offense.”

Dee did so on Friday night, scoring a one-yard rushing touchdown as part of the Blue Devils’ running back rotation. He also made several tackles for loss on defense. 

While the Falcons want him to work on what he does on the field, Dee added that they also want him to work on his intangible abilities.

“Perfecting my craft like block shedding,” Dee said. “And then also becoming a better leader, so I can help out up there.”

Friendly Rivalry Brewing?

The service academies are known for their fierce rivalries, ones underpinned by mutual respect. Dee said that he and Young haven’t delved into too much inter-branch trash talk yet. He looks forward to facing off against his current teammate with the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy on the line, though. 

“A little bit, not much though. It’ll come the next few years though,” Dee said. “It’ll be real fun to play against him.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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