Dionte Johnson Returns to Form, Sparks Steelers’ Defeat of Colts

Steelers’ wide receiver Diontae Johnson makes a leaping catch against the Indianapolis Colts on December 27, 2020 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh (Clyde Harris / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Dionte Johnson leads the league with 12 dropped passes. These dropped passes have come at the most inopportune  time during the recent 3 game losing streak. Two drops in the Steelers loss to Buffalo, three in the loss against Washington, and one against the Bengals. Johnson has attributed the recent occurrences to a lack of focus and overthinking the process of catching the football. It has been a dark and frustrating time for Johnson.

All of his recent problems with dropped passes, faded away against the Indianapolis Colts. Dionte Johnson returned to form, looking like a true number 1 receiver. Johnsons acrobatic 39 yard touchdown pass ignited the Steelers offense, overcoming a 17 point third quarter deficit, en route to a 28-24 victory. The win crowned the Steelers the 2020 AFC North Division Champions.

With Johnson, and the other members of the vaunted Steeler receiving corps returning to the form, the Steelers offense will once again be a force to contend with.

 

Josh Gibson’s Birthday ‘Just Part’ of Celebrating Legacy of Negro League Baseball

Josh Gibson, a catcher for both the Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays in the Negro Leagues. (Courtesy: Josh Gibson Foundation)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Negro League Baseball has long been a staple in U.S. history. However, it has been considered separate from those who played in the Major Leagues. Until now.

The Negro League began play in 1920, and in this, the centennial year, the highly talented records of players like Satchel Paige, “Cool Papa” Bell, Buck Leonard, Buck O’Neil and so many others — who took the brunt of racism from a separatist society that didn’t see them as equal — were recognized by Major League Baseball and “elevated to Major League status.”

Josh Gibson, who played in Pittsburgh for both the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, may be the most well known player from the Negro Leagues. Gibson (1911 – 1947) would have turned 109-years-old Monday and his great grandson — and executive director of the Josh Gibson Foundation — Sean Gibson has been successful in keeping Gibson name and legacy alive. 
Gibson, responding to the news that Josh Gibson’s statistics will be recognized in the Major Leagues, says this is, “…going to shake up the MLB stats due to his greatness of playing in the Negro Leagues.” Statistics from both leagues will be merged, which will most certainly move some historic players from the leaderboard and Gibson says, “Records are made to be broken.”

Sean Gibson, great grandson of Negro League slugger Josh Gibson, stands in front of the field that bears the baseball legend’s name. The Josh Gibson Field is located in the historic Hill District neighborhood in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Gibson said, “Josh Gibson’s birthday is just part of the celebration, and a small representation of the sacrifice of Negro League players over the years. People can use this day as way to honor the legacy of those who made the league so great.”

The Josh Gibson Foundation is pushing for the MLB Most Valuable Player trophy to be renamed after Josh Gibson. The award is formerly named after Kenesaw Mountain Landis who served as Major League Baseball’s commissioner from 1920 to 1944. Landis was someone who championed segregation within baseball’s ranks and resisted integration of any kind in the league. Landis’ name was removed in October 2020 after some saw the name as controversial.

Gibson’s name has been floated as one to be the successor. However, it will come down to a vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 2021.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

Westinghouse’s Dayon Hayes: 2019 ‘Golden Player of the Year’

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — As the new year begins and sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” slowly fades away, we take a look back on 2019 at a player that has earned his spot in high school football’s elite.

Standing at 6′ 3,” 250 pounds, Dayon Hayes has been a dominating force in ways that set him apart from the pack.

Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes celebrates following defensive stop against Our Lady of Sacred Heart on August 24, 2019. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Follow us:    

The Westinghouse Bulldogs’ standout defensive end has made a name for himself on the gridiron, raising the eyebrows of recruits across the nation. His stature, coupled with the ability to have an explosive break on the ball, has been second to none and his statistics show how dominating he has been throughout his high school career.

80 Tackles | 23 sacks | 14 Tackles for loss | 1 Interception | 2 Forced Fumbles | 2 Fumble Recoveries 

Hayes spoke exclusively to Golden Sky Media saying, “My Westinghouse experience is great and I wouldn’t want to be any other place than here, because the history is so great.”

Westinghouse Academy, which has a rich history of musicians, physicians, politicians, attorneys, scholars, members of the media and of course athletes, is a staple of not only Pittsburgh but has history that can rival institutions around the world.

Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes sacks Our Lady of Sacred Heart quarterback Jaymar Pearson. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

As far as football goes, Hayes told us that he is thrilled to be named among the giants that have donned the halls of the Blue and Gold. “It’s been a long time since there has been something good happening at Westinghouse — like a football championship — and I’m just glad I’m a part of turning Westinghouse’s program around.”

For the past 23 years, Westinghouse has been fighting for the chance to hoist the trophy and stand alone as the kings of the city. For the first time since 1996, they accomplished that goal with the help of Hayes.

Donta Green, head coach of the Westinghouse Bulldogs gives a pre-game speech prior to the City League Championship at George K. Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh. October 26, 2019. Dayon Hayes is seated on far left. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Bulldogs’ head coach Donta Green speaks on behalf of the entire coaching staff saying of Hayes, “He’s everything a coach wants in a player. He has amazing work ethic and is a  joy to be around!”

A mixture of alumni, friends, family and supporters of Westinghouse Academy (Westinghouse High School) during the 2019 City League Championship. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Flanked by traditional chants by Westinghouse faithful, “There’s a House, up on a Hill, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” his team won the 2019 City League Championship over USO 12-2 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s Southside. Westinghouse had 36 active players on the roster and won its 36th championship in school history.

Players from Westinghouse Academy hoist the 2019 championship trophy after defeating USO 12-6 at George K. Cupples Stadium on October 29, 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Green, a man that puts no one player above the team, took to social media after the win, praising his entire team’s performance in addition to their academic achievements, “These young people worked hard both in the classroom and the field to make this day happen! Coach loves you guys and I salute each and every one of you for your sacrifice and dedication.” –Donta Green, via Facebook.

Screenshot of DeWayne Brown taken from a documentary directed by Golden Sky Media’s Brian Cook about the training program he started titled 210ths. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

DeWayne Brown is the founder of 2/10ths Speed and Agility, which is an extreme workout regimen, that trains athletes from youth football to the professional ranks who have interest in gaining physical and mental awareness in their respective sports. He has worked with Hayes in the past in the area of positional drills to increasing footwork.

Brown has seen many athletes grow within his program and when it comes to Hayes, Brown said his technique and ability to excel is one of the best he’s seen. “Dayon is an elite athlete with an elite 1st step that will translate on all levels of football,” Brown said of Hayes. “Once he puts everything together mentality — with all his physical components — he will be one of those special players.”

William Pipkins (#7) pressured by Westinghouse’s Dayon Hayes (#50) during the 2019 City League Championship at George K. Cupples Stadium on October 29, 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Brown, raving about Hayes’ ability says, if things line up the way they should, “He has all the tools to get to the NFL. He’s very teachable. You give him a directive and he’ll execute it. He’s also a fast learner.”

Hayes officially committed to the University of Pittsburgh and will be sure to find playing time with the Panthers. He will most likely see the field early in his college career. 

COURTESY: PITT LIVEWIRE

Sean McCaskill is founder of Dream Chaser 5 (DC5) which develops middle and high school athletes dreaming about becoming the next 5-star defensive back. McCaskill trains those who aspire to become successful in the secondary but has “…never had the pleasure of working” with Hayes. However, as an ardent scout of talent, he has watched Hayes develop and shared favorable remarks about his character. 

Sean McCaskill during a weekly workout of high school defensive backs at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on January 2, 2020 in Pittsburgh. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

“So many athletes love the lifestyle, but [Hayes] learned to embrace the process to becoming great,” McCaskill said. “It’s extremely difficult to bet against a player like him, because he’s willing to do those things that everyone is not willing to do. He’s about to be coached by arguably the best D-Line coach in college football, Coach Charlie Partridge at Pitt.”

Hayes was “thrilled and pleasantly surprised” about becoming the 2019 Golden Sky Media “Golden Player of the Year,” saying, “I’m very happy about it! This is something new and I’m glad to be apart of this and happy to be the player of the year.”

Prior to the 2019 Pittsburgh City League Championship Westinghouse Academy defensive end Dayon Hayes gets into character before taking the field. October 26, 2019 at George K. Cupples Stadium on Pittsburgh’s southside. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Not making this accolade about himself, he has advice for younger players who are watching him and coming through the ranks themselves, “You can do anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter where you go to school because everyone told me I couldn’t do what I’m doing now,” Hayes said. “I just got on my grind and accomplished some of my goals and that was getting scholarships to schools and my favorite one [Pitt], too.”

Hayes is an honor-roll student first, a blue-chip player second and now the recipient of the inaugural “Golden Player of the Year” award, granted by Golden Sky Media.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

The Commoner, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Visit OG Cooking Show

PITTSBURGH – In this episode of the “OGCooking Show” you will learn more about one of Pittsburgh’s premiere restaurants, The Commoner and find out how the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank continues to help those in need during the holiday season.

Credits:

Olga George, Host/Producer

Brian Cook, Photographer/Editor

Guests: Scott Hilty, general manager of The Commoner, and Melissa Murray, communications and public relations specialist at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

 


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

 

 

Steeler Fans Take Over Home of LA Chargers

(GSM) — Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers travel well, and it was evident during the matchup against the LA Chargers Sunday.

There was an overabundance of “Terrible Towels” during Sunday night’s game at Dignity Health Sports Park to watch the Steelers achieve their second win of the season in a 24-17 victory on the road. 

Quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges led the Steelers by completing 15-20 passes for 132 YDS, 1 TD, and only 1 interception. The undrafted QB was signed during the 2019 season after the team traded Joshua Dobbs to the Jaguars and his number was called to lead following the concussion suffered by Mason Rudolph.

In his post-game press conference, Hodges said of the strong presence of Steeler fans, “Honestly, not too surprised. That’s something that we kind of anticipated happening. We travel with fans so well. I mean, just pregame warmups and you could tell this was going to be like a home game.”


 

BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.