PITTSBURGH - Football season is a marathon, not a sprint.
No one knows this more than Linsly coach B.J. Depew.
After running the table last year, Depew knew the task would be a little tougher this fall, considering the changes in personnel the Cadets endured.
But as they showed in last Friday night's loss to highly-touted West Virginia Class AAA foe Parkersburg South, the Cadets proved they can still hang with the big boys, even if they are still learning on the job.
''The kids responded,'' Depew said referencing last week's 33-19 loss to the Patriots at Bethany College.
''We came out and, in my eyes, won the second half. That was important. Had things gone the other way it could have been a long night.''
Linsly (1-1) will continue its maturation process Friday night at Cupples Stadium on the south side against Pittsburgh City League foe Allderdice.
''The one thing we always know about them is the play hard,'' Depew said of the Dragons, who dropped a 32-13 decision at Morgantown last week.
''They are physical and play with a lot of confidence and can be disruptive to an offense."
South only needed eight plays to build a 19-0 lead. The Cadets closed the gap to 19-6 near halftime, but when South's Tyler Bolen uncorked a successful 'Hail Mary' scoring strike to end the half it put a damper on Linsly's comeback efforts.
Or so everyone thought.
Chinelo Oparanozie busted an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half to draw Linsly to within three scores. Oparanozie scored again in the fourth to bridge the gap further, but attempts to cut more into the lead were thwarted by two turnovers - one on downs and the other on an interception.
''I think moving forward we will look back on that second half and the fact we didn't give up,'' Depew said.
Despite the loss, there were a plethora of positives that came from the game, one being the growth of quarterback Jameson Murray.
One week after not completing a pass in a 21-20 triumph against Magnolia, Murray found a rhythm, completing 12 passes for 137 yards and two interceptions.
Tight end Kay Ogundrian was the main beneficiary, making five catches for 73 yards.
''We felt they started to come of age a bit,'' Depew said of the duo. ''We utilized our tight end well and there's no doubt we went to the ball-control passing game to give (Jameson) some confidence.
''(Jameson) took several steps forward.''
Ogundrian is a converted tackle who wanted to move to tight end.
All told, seven Cadets caught passes.
Defensively, Brooks Simmons, Chuckwudi Chuckwu and Austin Whipkey all registered sacks.
''We've always been a defense that's defended the pass best by pressuring the quarterback,'' Depew said.