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Detroit — With an entire offseason to recover from a roller coaster of emotions in 2016, Tyrone Spencer is back on the field at Detroit King and looking to guide the Division 2 powerhouse to a third straight state championship.

After taking over in the wake of coach Dale Harvel’s sudden death in July of 2016, Spencer and his team were able to rally around their coach’s memory and win a state title.

But with that chapter now written, Spencer is ready to lead King football into a new era.

“I will always consider last year’s team coach Harvel’s team,” Spencer said. He established that from the beginning.

“This year it’s my team. Now it’s my influence, what I’m thinking. We’ll still do things the King way, but now I’m in the forefront.”

Spencer drew a line in the sand on the first day of practice, sending a handful of kids who forgot their practice jerseys to watch their teammates from the stands.

“That right there shows me that your mind is not on football,” he said. “You should have your jersey, you should have your helmet and you should be ready to go.”

All eyes on the field this year will be on junior quarterback Dequan Finn, who Spencer expects to take a giant leap forward in leading the team.

“I’m really looking forward to him taking a step to be more of a leader and be more vocal,” Spencer said. “Being a quarterback, you have to have those characteristics.”

Finn, soft-spoken as he is in interviews, insists he’s entirely different on the field.

“I’m laid back off the field, but when I’m on the field, you can hear me,” Finn said. “When we’re going through adversity, I need to be able to pick my teammates up and keep them calm.”

With a young quarterback on the rise, four of King’s five starting offensive linemen from 2016 returning, and a host of talent at the skill positions, King is primed to make another serious run in 2017.

Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.

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