Duquesne City football aims for perfection in 2023-24 season

Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 8/7/2023

For most football programs, a 7-0-1 season might represent a landmark accomplishment, one to laud for years to come. But for Duquesne City, it’s a step short of their expectations.

As the Dukes prepare for the upcoming football season, perfection is on their minds.

“That’s our main goal this year, to go undefeated,” said Duquesne City football coach John Mahone.

The Duquesne City school district returned 8th graders last school year after an 11 year hiatus, and with their return, school-based athletics came back, too. It was a welcome comeback for a city that lives and breathes football and basketball.

To no surprise, the football team didn’t skip a beat last season, winning all but one game — a tie against Thomas Jefferson. On an August evening, Mahone reflected on last season before putting his small but mighty football team through rigorous conditioning drills.

“I think we had a really good season last year, given that it was our first year back. We had some talented kids, but that’s year and year out in this small city,” Mahone said. “I think this year, we’ll be good again.”

Mahone believes last season was just the beginning of getting the Dukes football machine humming at full speed, once again. Last season laid some foundational pieces, and those pieces will be built upon this season.

“We’ve got a few returning kids that are going into 8th grade that played last year. They’re experienced now, so I think those guys are stepping up and being leaders,” Mahone said.

“The younger guys, they’re excited and confident to play this year. We’ve got a long pipeline.”

When accessing this season’s squad, Mahone thinks his team is well-rounded, but believes the offense is slightly ahead.

“I think we’ll be really good in the running game,” Mahone said. “All in all, I think we’ll be good on both sides of the ball. But I think our offense will be a little more advanced.”

Beyond x’s and o’s, Mahone is perhaps most happy to see the pride growing in his team. Over the years, his players have surely heard about the storied sports history in Duquesne. But now that they’re living it, they’re starting to truly understand what it means to be a Duke.

“A lot of younger kids, they don’t really know the history of it, but I think they’re starting to feel it, as older guys talk to them about back in the day,” Mahone said.

“Football has always had a rich tradition here. The younger guys love to play the game, but I think they’re starting to get an understanding about how serious the sport is in this town.”