Prep picks: Top QBs square off in heavyweight Detroit King vs. Muskegon battle
No. 2 Detroit King travels to Muskegon to take on defending Division 3 state champion Muskegon – No. 6 in The Detroit News Super 20 rankings – Friday night in what could be the top game in the state this season.
There will be two outstanding quarterbacks in this one with Central Michigan-bound Dequan Finn, a three-year starter at King, going up against Muskegon Catholic Central transfer Cameron Martinez, a junior who ran for 291 yards and five TDs in his Muskegon debut, a 36-21 win over defending Division 2 state champion Warren De La Salle.
Muskegon fans were wondering how coach Shane Fairfield would replace quarterback La’Darius Jefferson, who ran for a school-record 2,095 yards last season while leading his team to a 14-0 record before moving on to Michigan State.
Well, Martinez – a three-star junior who led Muskegon Catholic Central to a Division 8 state title his freshman year – showed he would take over and Muskegon would be just fine.
Finn came through with an impressive opener Saturday night in the Prep Kickoff Classic, accounting for 439 yards of total offense (16 carries, 283 yards rushing, three TDs, 9-of-21, 156 yards passing, three TDs) to rally King from an 18-13 deficit to a 52-38 win over East St. Louis.
King has an outstanding trio of receivers in four-star junior Rashawn Williams, three-star junior Lemuel Whatley and senior Dominick Polidore-Hannah. It was Polidore-Hannah who had a pair of TD receptions and an 80-yard TD kickoff return against East St. Louis while Whatley had two interceptions and forced a fumble.
The big question is: How well will King’s defense fare against Muskegon’s massive offensive line, which averages 6-3 and 310 pounds, led by LSU-bound Anthony Bradford.
“It’s arguably going to be the best game in the state this year,” said King coach Tyrone Spencer. “I don’t know much about him (Martinez) other than he ran for 291 yards on 31 carries. I had a chance to see him in 7-on-7 and he’s athletic. We’ll be in unfamiliar territory, going to Muksegon, but we’ll be up to the challenge.”
Pick: King by 6
West Bloomfield (1-0) at Clarkston (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
This will be a rematch of last year’s Division 1 state championship game won by Clarkston, 3-2, at Ford Field.
Clarkston – ranked No. 8 – put on another strong defensive effort in its season-opening 12-9 win over Grandville Friday night at the Big House while No. 7 West Bloomfield put a lot of points on the board Thursday night in a 39-28 win over Birmingham Groves.
Defensively, Clarkston – which has earned three state titles in the last five years – relies heavily on sophomore sensations Rocco Spindler and Garrett Dellinger on the line, but look for West Bloomfield to wear them down behind the running of sophomore Donovan Edwards, who ran for 150 yards and three TDs against Groves.
Spindler, Dellinger and Edwards all have offers from Michigan.
West Bloomfield can also do some damage through the air with C.J. Harris throwing to Michigan State-bound Tre Mosley, four-star junior 6-foot-3 Makari Paige and 6-4 Tyrone Broden.
Pick: West Bloomfield by 8
Livonia Churchill (1-0) at Belleville (1-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Top-ranked Belleville escaped with a 40-35 win over Brighton in the opener with sophomore Christian Dhue-Reid needing to find Jalen Williams for a 6-yard TD pass with 15 seconds remaining to earn the comeback victory.
Now, Dhue-Reid and Belleville will need a much better performance in Week 2 to get past a talented No. 19 Churchill team, led by quarterback Drew Alsobrooks and receiver Avery Grenier, who had two TD receptions and scored a pair of TDs off blocked punts in a 35-21 win over Canton.
Dhue-Reid’s performance – 336 yards, four TDs – had to be comforting to Belleville fourth-year coach Jermain Crowell, but his team’s defensive effort that much more disturbing, especially when it consists of Tyrece Woods (Michigan), Jalen Hunt (Iowa) and Jalen Bell (Akron) up front.
Look for Alsobrooks and Grenier to keep up their strong play in a upset.
Pick: Churchill by 2
Trenton (1-0) at Gibraltar Carlson (0-1), Thursday, 7 p.m.
Trenton senior Jay Solano showed how important it is to have a veteran quarterback running the show, throwing for 355 yards and four TDs in a 27-21 Downriver League win over rival Allen Park Friday.
Meanwhile, preseason Downriver favorite Gibraltar Carlson suffered a 49-35 loss to Woodhaven.
Coach Jack Giarmo will get big efforts from tight end/receiver Ian Stewart and running back Brandon Stewart, but the defense will have trouble slowing down Solano & Co.
Pick: Trenton by 1