October 14, 2013 at 1:00 am

Tom Markowski

Prep Insider: Detroit PSL semifinals on tap for Friday

All-purpose back Avonte Maddox (16) has helped Detroit King (6-0) to an East championship and a PSL semifinal match with Mumford (6-1). (Ricardo Thomas / The Detroit News)

Detroit — The Detroit Public School League semifinals are set for Friday and Detroit King coach Dale Harvel said the winner will be the team that’s mentally prepared.

PSL West Division champion Detroit Cass Tech (7-0) will play Detroit East English Village Prep (5-2) at 5 p.m. and at approximately 7:30 King (6-0), the East Division champion, will play Detroit Mumford (6-1). Both games will be played at Northwestern.

The championship game will be played Oct. 25 at Ford Field at 7 p.m.

King is the defending champion but Cass Tech, ranked No. 1 and the two-time defending Division 1 champion, is favored to win its first league title since 2010.

“Take Cass, East English, Mumford and us, we’re all pretty similar,” Harvel said. “I’m talking about the 11 players who are out there. Cass has more depth. It comes down to the mental aspects.

“We’re getting better but the main thing is we’re healthy.”

After defeating Southfield, 18-14, in the opener, Cass Tech has had little trouble with teams in its league. The closest game it’s played since was a 30-6 victory over Detroit Cody.

King went to double overtime to defeat East English, 6-0, and no other opponent has come within 40 points.

King’s top two seniors are all-purpose back Avonte Maddox who committed to Pittsburgh, and receiver-defensive back Jalen Embry, who committed to Iowa last week. Maddox received a scholarship offer from Purdue last week and Harvel said Maddox could switch his commitment.

King has one of the state’s top underclassman in linebacker-fullback Tyriq Thompson, the son of King and Michigan defensive back Clarence Thompson. He has received offers from Big Ten schools Michigan State, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Possible national record

If confirmed Monday, two players from Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy will enter the record books.

Receiver Nate Drew had 17 receptions for 459 yards and seven touchdowns in a 64-41 victory over Mayville on Friday. The receiving yards would break the national single-game yardage record of 456 yards set last season by Kraig Pruett of Waldport (Ore.), according to the National Federation of High Schools record book.

Cesar Chavez quarterback Omar Salih completed 32 of 52 attempts for 689 yards and nine touchdowns. The state’s single-game yardage mark was set earlier this season by Brendon Fitch of Swartz Creek. Fitch threw for 603 yards in Swartz Creek’s 77-61 victory over Flint Kearsley. Cooper Rush of Lansing Catholic threw eight touchdown passes in one game in 2011.

Coach Tarif Kumasi said he reviewed the film twice and will complete an online form to be sent to the Michigan High School Athletic Association office to have the numbers officially entered. If there is a dispute, Kumasi must submit the video.

A charter school of approximately 900 students located in Southwest Detroit, Cesar Chavez (3-4) is in its fourth season playing a varsity schedule and is not affiliated with a league or conference.

Cancer awareness goes national

Walled Lake Western’s cancer awareness project, Warriors for Warriors, was showcased during broadcasts of all NFL football games on Sunday via a two-minute video.

Western coach Mike Zdebski and others involved with the program were interviewed for the segment. The Warriors for Warriors project began in 2011 and was started to continue cancer awareness and to raise funds for research.

“I’ve received emails and texts from all over,” Zdebski said. “With social media we’re connected to many of our graduates, some who are in the military, saying how proud they are.

“It puts us on the map. We’re known nationally. We’re on national media for community service. It’s special. We’ve had other schools contact us asking how we do this.”

Spread the word.

Making that big step

Belleville and Fordson have played every year since 1983 when they were members of the Wolverine-A Conference. Fordson had won six straight entering Friday’s homecoming but Belleville spoiled the fun with a 20-17 victory to wrap up the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Blue Division title.

Belleville trailed 17-12 at halftime when coach Matt Davenport said a few words.

“We had the momentum going in,” he said. “So I told them all we had to do was score first. It took us 23 minutes to do it but we won.”

On fourth-and-goal from Fordson’s 7-yard line sophomore Connor Sampson threw a touchdown pass to Shaquille Mobley. Javonn Gamble ran for the conversion and a 3-point lead.

Fordson attempted a 35-yard field goal with two seconds left that would have tied it, but the kick was wide left.

Belleville (5-2) hadn’t won a division or league title since 2002 and is one victory away from clinching a playoff spot for the first time since ’04.

“We found out what our team has inside tonight,” Davenport said. “Winning the conference against a team I always like playing against is special.”

Playoffs jumbled

Temperance Bedford (7-0) was expected to make a serious playoff run in Division 2 even before the season started, but that’s not going to happen.

Bedford qualified last week but coach Jeff Wood said his team will compete in Division 1 because so many of the larger Class A schools, such as Livonia Churchill, won’t make the playoffs, thereby moving some of the smaller Class A schools up.

“My tech guy has us 25 or 26 in Division 1,” Wood said. “We think we’ll be in a district with Monroe, Saline and Belleville. Even (Warren) DeLaSalle, which is below us in enrollment, will be in Division 1.”

DeLaSalle is 5-2 and one victory from securing a playoff spot.

The playoffs start on Nov. 1 and each of the eight divisions will have 32 teams, according to enrollment. In Class A 41 teams have qualified. Another 25 Class A teams are one win away from qualifying. Of those 66 teams, 20 have a larger enrollment then Bedford. Another 34 Class A teams are 4-3, two wins from qualifying.

High marks

CBSSports/MaxPreps rates the Detroit Catholic League Central Division as the fifth-best league/division for football in the country. The Central Division has five teams, Birmingham Brother Rice, Detroit Catholic Central, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Warren DeLaSalle and U-D Jesuit. It was given an overall rating of 49.2, using the MaxPreps Computer Rankings formula.

The top league is Big North United League in New Jersey with a rating of 66.4.

By the numbers

18 -- Undefeated teams left in Class A

3:40 -- Time it took to complete Saturday’s Farmington Hills Harrison-Oak Park game

2,853 -- Passing yards this season for Macomb L’Anse Creuse North quarterback Sean Koski

Top performance

Jake Lipetzky, Riverview Gabriel Richard quarterback-safety: Lipetsky, a sophomore, celebrated his 16th birthday on Friday by rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown, completing 5-of-10 attempts for 56 yards and a touchdown, and making seven tackles as Richard (5-2) upset Royal Oak Shrine, 21-19.

Quote

“Basketball. That’s what that was. High school football is played on Fridays. The NFL plays on Sundays. This was like a college game where nobody stops anyone.”

-- Greg Carter, Oak Park coach, after his team lost to Farmington Hills Harrison, 60-52, on Saturday

tom.markowski@detroitnews.com

Jake Lipetzky (Special to Detroit News)
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