Detroit — DeAndre Square was on the elliptical Tuesday afternoon at Detroit Cass Tech High School, loosening up before heading to practice for Saturday’s 3 p.m. PSL semifinal showdown with No. 5 Detroit King at Detroit Northwestern.
Square, a senior linebacker, has helped Cass Tech’s defense limit opponents to 9.2 points a game, including a combined 32 points during its recent five-game winning streak.
Square, a Kentucky commit, has the ability to go sideline-to-sideline to make plays with his quickness and skill set.
“He’s been playing well,” praised Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher of Square. “He’s tough, aggressive, playing the ball well and doing everything he supposed to do. He’s making plays and I’m very happy and excited about his ability.”
Square said he has already been to two Kentucky games this season, its lone loss to Florida (28-27) and a win over Eastern Michigan (24-20) and plans to attend the Tennessee game Oct. 28, but his focus right now is locked in on King.
Cass Tech — ranked No. 4 in The News Super 20 poll — has played King in the previous four PSL championship games, winning in 2013, 2014 and again last year when the teams each won state championships, Cass Tech in Division 1 and King, Division 2.
This will be the first time the teams will play in a PSL semifinal since 2012 when King earned a 44-13 victory and Cass Tech rebounded to repeat as Division 1 state champions the following month.
“Things are going well, I feel like I’ve been playing hard every play, running well and getting to the ball to make plays,” said the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Square who has put on 40 pounds since his sophomore year. “It’s a very exciting time right now. King week is a big week for us since it’s such a great rivalry. We just have to stay focused and play well in all aspects of the game.”
And, Wilcher feels Kalon Gervin, the premier cornerback in the state, will be tested by King’s aerial attack led by quarterback Dequan Finn and receivers Jaeveyon Morton (Iowa State), Eric Gibson (Minnesota) and sophomore Ra’Shawn Williams who already has an offer from Ohio State.
“Kalon’s been playing well, meeting the expectations and I think he’s ready to get more aggressive and turn it up because a lot of teams haven’t had the opportunity to throw the ball his way and I’m quite sure he’s going to get a lot of passes come his way this week,” said Wilcher.
Gervin knows there’s no bigger rivalry than Cass Tech-King, especially for him since he lives across the street from King on Lafayette.
“It’s a big week, a big rivalry,” said Gervin. “It’s always a battle. I know all of those guys personally since I live right across from King. It’s going to be a fun game. We just have to get focused and be ready. We just have to lock in and play. The best man wins. It’s playoff mode now. We just have to go out and execute.”
Gervin — ranked as The News No. 1 player in the state — has narrowed his field to Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Oregon and Nebraska.
“I was recently at Michigan State when they played Notre Dame, just fun to get back up there and see the coaches,” pointed out Gervin. “I’m getting closer (to deciding). Right now, I’m just focusing on Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Oregon … Nebraska too. I’m planning on going to Virginia Tech next weekend (Oct. 21 against North Carolina).”
Wilcher has also been impressed with 5-11, 285-pound nose tackle Eric Smith and three-star junior defensive back Xavier Goldsmith who took a visit to Ohio State last month and recently picked up an offer from Mississippi State.
Andre Carter, a 6-4, 250-pound two-way player (right tackle, defensive end) is looking forward to his entrance in the rivalry after transferring from Southfield A&T.
“I know all about the history of this rivalry since I grew up playing PAL ball with these guys so I’m looking forward to playing in it,” said Carter, a Western Michigan commit.
Yes, the stars will be coming out Saturday afternoon with Cass Tech also having several Division 1 players on offense, including quarterback Aaron Jackson (Eastern Michigan) and 6-5 receiver Brandon Gray (Washington State).