Although Cass Technical High School (9-0) had not won a Detroit Public School League title since going back-to-back in 1994-95, it got very defensive about winning the 2010 PSL title.
Throughout the regular season and into the PSL playoffs, the Technicians have surrendered only 32 total points in eight games, following the season opener where they outlasted Ann Arbor 44-42. In fact, Cass strung together three consecutive shutouts that included the last two PSL Division I & II champions (Southeastern and King).
To prove it wasn’t a fluke, Cass contested Crockett, also 8-0, in a much anticipated title matchup of unbeatens at Two Ron Johnson Field on the campus of Northwestern High before an excited gathering. The Technicians continued their defensive ways overpowering Crockett 41-7.
“Our defense did a great job,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “My coaching staff and I have been stressing since before the season started that as long as we keep working hard to improve our defensive effort we will have a shot at winning a championship.”
Crockett was supposed to be a good test for just how far Cass has come this season, because they have consistently been one of the PSL’s best football programs. In fact, Crockett won a PSL title in 2004 and even beat Cass, 16-8, last season.
But that was then and this is now. Wilcher and his coaching staff have done a marvelous job of putting together an excellent team, with emphasis on team.
Wilcher’s defense had six sacks and held Crockett quarterback Brian Blackburn to 9 of 22 passing for 39 yards with three interceptions. Cass’ exceptional defense held Crockett to its lowest scoring total of the season.
“They’re fast, especially in the defensive backs and linebackers and they are physical,” Crockett coach Roderick Oden said. “The margin of error is small when a team like Cass has got Division 1 athletes in the secondary. You’ve got to throw perfect throws and make perfect plays.”
Cass’s defense never let Crockett get into any kind of rhythm, but their offense was just as lethal. On their first play from scrimmage, Christian Burks broke free for a 30-yard gain. It was just the beginning as quarterback Keith Moore following Burks’ run with gains of 21 and 14 yards before sneaking in from a yard out.
Royce Jenkins-Stone followed Moore’s score with a 10-yard run and Kishon Wilcher scooted 58 yards for another touchdown and Cass took a commanding 22-0 halftime lead.
“We wanted to get out early and take control of the game,” Kishon said. “We play as a team and we have people at every position that can play.”
Continuing what they started in the first half. Moore tossed a pair of second half touchdowns to Ruben Liles. Moore finished 4 of 7 for 53 yards and added 49 yards on the ground. Jenkins-Stone finished rushing yards 55 yards and Burks added 52 yards and one touchdown.
“I feel great that we had a good season,” Cass lineman Jon Jackson said. “Everyone followed their assignments. We have worked hard all season in practice, in the weight room and in training and it has paid off.”
Concurred Cass defensive back Delonte Hollowell: “It felt great to finally win the PSL championship. I’m not surprised we won this game because we have been preparing all year for this opportunity. As a team we do not expect to lose.”
Wilcher has been coaching at Cass for 25 years, but this was his first title won on the field in his 14 years as head coach. Cass was awarded the 2008 PSL title when Southeastern had an ineligible player. His Technicians have been runner-up a number of times.
In the state playoffs, Cass will play at home this weekend against PSL rival Southeastern (5-3). Crockett will be at home against Detroit Old Redford (6-3).
Leland Stein can be reached at email@example.com.