Detroit — Detroit Cass Tech showed why it’s ranked No. 1 Friday night, putting on a dominating performance in a 42-8 victory over No. 4 Detroit King in the PSL championship game before a sold-out crowd of more than 3,000 fans at Renaissance.
The teams got together near midfield prior to the game with players trash-talking and showing their emotion. Cass Tech was looking for a little revenge after falling to King 17-7 in last year’s PSL semifinals.
Cass Tech senior quarterback/safety Jalen Graham played well and Cass Tech (9-0) dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
Graham found Jevin Swanigan, who got behind King’s secondary on blown coverage and grabbed a 45-yard touchdown pass with 5:48 left in the opening quarter.
Then, Cass Tech took advantage of a pair of turnovers, the first one on a strip sack of King quarterback Dequan Finn.
Graham and Cass Tech took advantage of the short field — King’s 31 yard-line — when Graham picked up 11 on an option run to set up an 8-yard TD run by Colorado-bound Jaren Mangham for a 14-0 cushion early in the second quarter.
“I feel like we did a great job," said Mangham, who finished with 70 yards rushing. "The offensive line did a great job and first and foremost I want to thank them. They played their hearts out. They were opening holes and our offense was out there having fun. I mean we put 42 up on King, just feels good to get a 'W' against our rival team.”
It looked like King would get good field position in the final minutes of the half, but instead of letting the ball roll dead near his own 40, King’s punt returner tried to scoop the ball up and fumbled.
Cass Tech took advantage of the turnover, scoring on a 40-yard drive while also taking advantage of two King penalties, one on a holding call in the secondary and another on a face-mask call, setting up Graham’s bullet pass to Kyron McKinnie-Harper for an 8-yard TD with 22 seconds left in the half for a 21-0 advantage.
Graham was 5-of-7 for 69 yards and the two TDs, also rushing for 31 yards in the first half on five carries.
Quarterback Jalen Graham who plans to make his college choice between Purdue and Iowa State this weekend.
“They like to talk to me as being an athlete, but I wanted to prove that I can be a quarterback as well," said Graham, who plans to choose between Purdue and Iowa State for his college destination this weekend. "Really, it’s just about repetition and being able to trust my guys. I know Kyron (McKinnie-Harper) and any of my receivers are going to get the ball when I throw it to them, and he (McKinnie-Harper) told me to go (hit) him on the slant so I had to throw it to him to give him a shot.”
Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher was pleased with his quarterback's performance.
“Our quarterback (Graham) did a great job and our offensive line got their act together in the second half, came back and did a great job," he said. "I think the kids listened today. They were focused in and did things the right away. You have to score off of turnovers. You have to take care of business, especially in a game like this. You can’t leave anything on the table. And, the second big thing is how we didn’t have as many penalties and I was really happy about that.”
Cass Tech made life miserable for Finn (Central Michigan), putting tremendous pressure on him after he entered the night with 800 yards rushing and 1,400 yards passing with 30 combined TDs.
Finn completed 5-of-10 first-half passes for 73 yards, but had just 4 yards rushing on nine attempts with three of his runs for lost yardage.
King (7-2) was set to go for it on fourth and 8 from the Cass Tech 33 before a false start — King’s fourth of the half — resulted in King coach Tyrone Spencer sending in the punting unit.
After forcing King to a three-and-out midway through the third, Cass Tech got great field position at the King 34 and Central Michigan-bound Lew Nichols broke loose on the first play top open a 28-0 lead.
After Nichols’ TD, Cass Tech held a 213-82 advantage in total yards, limiting King to 9 rushing yards.
Finn did lead King to the Cass Tech 15, finding Jalen McGaughy for 32 yards to get into the red zone, but Cass Tech linebacker James Ester got through the line, hit Finn’s arm and grabbed the fumble, running to the King 36 to set up Nichols’ 31-yard TD run for a 35-0 lead late in the third to put the running clock in play.
Nichols had 97 yards on nine carries at the end of the third and Cass Tech had piled up 180 yards on the ground on 25 carries.
And, more importantly Cass Tech had 21 points off of three turnovers, taking advantage of a short field each time.
King ended Cass Tech’s shutout bid when Finn scored on a 6-yard TD run with 10 minutes left.
Mangham scored on a 16-yard TD run with 6:50 left.
Denby wins PSL Division 2 title
Detroit Denby coach Tony Blankenship said last week that his players would be dedicating the rest of the season to offensive/defensive line coach Anzly Morrell, who passed away this month.
Denby’s defense made sure Morrell would be proud, coming up big during the final quarter to pull out a dramatic 20-16 victory over Detroit Cody in the PSL Division 2 championship game.
Sophomore quarterback Tragene William made a pair of big passes to help Cody score 16 points in the final 3 minutes and 45 seconds of the first half to take a 16-6 lead.
Cody (6-3) had its chances to blow the game open, but failed to take advantage each time.
First, Cody advanced to the Denby 2 early in the fourth quarter, but had a penalty, then lost yardage and Taivyon Buck intercepted William’s pass in the end zone to end the threat.
Then, Cody’s Joshua Willey broke loose for an 89-yard TD run, but a holding penalty wiped out the score and pushed Cody back inside its own 5, leading to Denby’s Kenneth Carney pouncing on a fumble in the end zone for a TD to cut the deficit to 16-14 with 9:12 left.
Denby (7-2) took a 20-16 lead when Tymetrius Patterson blocked a punt and Adrian Brown scooped up the ball and scored the TD with 2:48 left.
Still, Cody had one more chance to pull the game out, advancing to the Denby 3 with 34 seconds remaining, but a motion call on third down pushed the ball back to the 8 and after a short run set up a fourth and goal at the 7, Tshawn Wilkes hauled down the Cody ball carrier on a reverse near the 5 to end the game.
Wilkes was also the star on offense, rushing for 152 yards on 20 carries.
Denby took a 6-0 lead by scoring on a 99-yard drive with 5:25 left in the second quarter with Wilkes picking up 72 yards on seven carries, including a 42-yard run.
Then, Cody scored 16 points during its final two drives of the half.
First, William found Alexander White for a 43-yard pass play to the Denby 7 to set up White’s TD run on the following play to give Cody an 8-6 lead with White’s 2-yard PAT run.
Then, Cody recovered an onside kick at Denby’s 44 and William took advantage of the short field, finding 6-foot-3 William Gibson Jr. for a 28-yard pass when Gibson came up with the grab at the 2 in triple coverage.
William scored on a quarterback sneak with 10 seconds left in the half with White following with the 2-point run.
Allen Park 56, Taylor 30: Jakob Marsee had three catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, punt return score and interception, Nico Tiberia ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns and Blake Gilliam had two receptions for 72 yards and a score for Allen Park (7-2). Taylor is 2-7.
Auburn Hills Avondale 44, North Farmington 3: Jamason Judway had two rushing TDs, David Holloman scored a rushing touchdown and returned a kickoff 60 yards for a score and Stephon Roberts returned an interception 37 yards for a TD for Avondale (7-2, 4-2 OAA-Blue). North Farmington is 3-5, 3-3.
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 49, Utica 0: Tommy Schuster had three touchdown passes and broke the school’s all-time career passing yards record, David Ellis had two touchdown receptions and Carde Johnson had a strip-and-score on defense for Chippewa Valley, which is 9-0 for the first time since 1975.
Dearborn 18, Hartland 17: Nick Tafelski passed for 240 yards and two scores, Ali Makled had 60 yards receiving and TD and Tommy Gujardo caught a touchdown pass for Dearborn (5-4). Hartland is 3-6.
Detroit Community 28, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 22: Kejuan Sanders rushed for 80 yards and a score, Rayvon Williamson had 102 yards rushing and a TD to go along with a 25-yard winning touchdown pass to Daron Davis, Antonio Bobo-Brown took back a 60-yard fumble recovery for a TD and Jamario Jones and Dartanyon Webster combined for 22 tackles for Community (8-1). Robichaud is 6-3.
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett 23, Memphis 18: Drew Zelenak had nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown and had 23 tackles, and Ian Narva threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns and had 25 rushes for 104 yards and a touchdown for Liggett (4-5). Memphis is 1-8.
Livonia Churchill 42, Plymouth 21: Drew Arsobrooks was 10-for-16 passing for 192 yards and a touchdown and rushed for a touchdown, and Daryl Mason Jr. had 24 rushes for 154 yards and three touchdowns for Churchill (7-2). Mike Mathies had 16 rushes for 214 yards and three touchdowns for Plymouth (6-3).
Macomb Dakota 55, Macomb L’Anse Creuse North 0: Mark Tocco threw two passing touchdowns and rushed for a score, Jared Rapin and Austin Morrison had two rushing scores each, Justin Solomon scored a rushing touchdown and Ross Lewalski and Brandon Michalak each caught touchdown passes for Dakota (7-2). L’Anse Creuse North is 4-5.
Royal Oak Shrine 42, Old Redford 6: Conor Benson completed 7-of-13 passes for 85 yards and four touchdowns, Dan Romano had 26 carries for 202 yards and two scores and Aaron Smith caught two touchdown passes for Shrine (5-4). Old Redford is 1-8.
Riverview 47, Redford Union 7: Dominic Wood carried three times for 112 yards and a touchdown and Kyle Naif had three rushes for 74 yards and a score for Riverview (7-2). Redford Union is 2-7.
Utica Eisenhower 42, Utica Ford 19: Hunter Osancowske had nine tackles and a 4-yard rushing touchdown and Chance Kirkwood had a rushing and passing touchdown for Ford (3-6). Eisenhower is 6-3.
Walled Lake Western 48, Walled Lake Central 16: Dawson Cofield had 79 yards rushing and two touchdowns, Sam Johnson was 5-of-7 passing for 58 yards and a score and Abdur Raahman-Yaseen had a touchdown catch for Western (6-3). Justin Blackburn had three receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Central (2-7).
Warren Cousino 46, Sterling Heights 21: DeMario Young had 23 carries for 231 yards and five touchdowns and Chris Burse had a 4-yard touchdown run and a 15-yard touchdown reception from Elijah Rice for Cousino (2-7). Sterling Heights is 1-8.
Warren Mott 22, Sterling Heights Stevenson 14: Darius Willis had five catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns, Jake Dube passed for 203 yards and a score and added a rushing touchdown, James Murray had eight tackles and a fumble recovery, Curtis Hamilton also had eight tackles and Alex Demetirou kicked a 37-yard field goal for Mott (7-2). Stevenson is 4-5.
Yale 56, Macomb Lutheran North 35: Jake Mlynarek had 17 carries for 85 yards and two touchdowns and Connor Finkel had eight catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns for Lutheran North (7-2). Yale is 5-4.
Detroit News staff contributed