( JAYRU CAAMPBELL will be a key in Cass title hopes. – Andre Smith photo)
The defending Michigan High School Athletic Association’s (MHSAA) Division 1 champions, Detroit Cass Tech won its 3rd straight district title with a 42-23 come from behind victory over Dearborn.
East English Village Prep (a merger of Crockett and Finney High Schools) clobbered St. Clair 63-7.
The irony of both these Detroit Public School League (PSL) teams is that both of them lost in the PSL City title against Martin Luther King High. King was knocked out last week by South field High.
So holding down the mantle for the PSL once again is Cass Tech and East English Village.
This weekend Cass Tech (9-2) will play at Saline (10-1) and East English (9-2) will be at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (9-2). Both teams are now two games from going to Ford Field to compete for a state title.
Trailing at halftime, 17-14, the Technicians exploded for 28 second-half points behind strong running by sophomore Mike Weber and junior Gary Hosey.
“I think the kids put a lot of effort into this one,” Cass coach Thomas Wilcher said. “This third one (District title) was well-deserving, the kids fought relentlessly, and once we fell behind we fought back.
“Something told me a couple of nights ago to be patient, be patient, don’t jump, do what I’m supposed to do, run the ball.”
Run the ball indeed. Of the Technicians’ 463 total yards, 418 came on the ground. Hosey ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and Weber accounted for 218 yards and three scores on 16 carries.
“We lost in the PSL Playoffs last year and won the state title,” Wilcher explained. “Now we are in the same position this year. Will we have the same result? I sure hope so!”
In Division 3, East English Village also rode its running game to victory. Star running back Desmond King ran for 155 yards and four TDs on 10 carries for East English Village. Nat Boulware ran for 65 yards and a TD and had a 65-yard punt return for a TD. Jonathan Smith had 10 tackles and three sacks for Village.
“My line and teammates have been behind me all season,” King said. “I want to do any and everything I can to help this team win football games. We lost the City title game to King and it hurt, but we have our sights set on the state and we are working hard to make that happen.”
Said East English coach Rod Oden: “We have a very good team and the guys work hard to improve every week. We lost a tough game in the City Championships at Ford Field, but it is our goal to get back there again for the State finals.”
Also representing the Detroit Area in the State football playoffs are:
In Division 2 Oak Park (9-2) will be at Wyandotte Roosevelt (10-1). Just across 8 Mile, Oak Park is led by former Detroit Mackenzie star and now coach, Greg Carter.
With a 19-12 overtime win over Southfield, the Knights captured its first football District title. Earlier this season, Oak Park (9-2) beat Southfield 24-18 in overtime by scoring a touchdown on a similar fourth down play that won for them in the State playoffs.
“A couple plays separated our teams this year,” Oak Park coach Carter said. “We’ve been fortunate to beat a great team. They have all kinds of talent. For us to fight and be able to beat them twice in one year is an amazing accomplishment for our team.
“I’m so proud of my kids. You can see it in their eyes how much this means to them. We don’t know how far we can go, but we are going to play extremely hard everyday.”
In Division 5 River Rouge (11-0) will be at Ann Arbor Richard (10-1). Led by coach Corey Parker won its first district champion with a 44-22 victory over Almont. Having never won more than eight games in a season, this basketball community is on fire.
In Division 6 Britton Deerfield (8-3) will be at Det. Loyola (11-0). In the win over GPW University Liggett, Loyola’s Keymone Gabriel racked up 318 yards and four TDs on runs of 65, 49, 35 and 21 yards on 17 carries.
Leland Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @LelandSteinIII