It’s time for the long-awaited showdown between No. 4 Detroit Cass Tech and No. 5 Detroit King.
No, it’s not in the PSL championship game at Ford Field, but for the right to play for the title Oct. 20.
Cass Tech (5-1) and King (6-1) will play in a PSL semifinal game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Detroit Northwestern with the winner moving on to face the winner between top-seeded Detroit East English (7-0) and No. 4 seed Detroit Renaissance (4-3) which will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Northwestern.
King won the PSL title two years ago with Cass Tech avenging the loss last season to claim the championship.
East English — the lone unbeaten team in the PSL — last played in the championship game in 2013 — the school’s first year — falling to King in a shootout, 51-49.
Cass Tech (Division 1) and King (Division 2) won state championships last year and will be threats to repeat next month.
King showed Friday it has the ability to battle through adversity, coming back from a 22-6 first-half deficit to defeat Detroit Central, 46-34.
Central receiver/cornerback Jerrod Vines scooped up a fumble and ran 99 yards to open up a 22-6 cushion before King rallied behind the strong play of running back Jalen Jackson, who scored four touchdowns including a 70-yard run to pull within 22-12. King cut the deficit to 22-19 at the half with Dequan Finn’s 59-yard TD toss to sophomore Rashawn Williams, who already has an offer from Ohio State.
“I was pleased that they were able to fight back,” King second-year head coach Tyrone Spencer said. “I knew it was early, but for them to fight back shows a lot about their character. Jalen Jackson definitely stepped up big for us, defensively he came up with three or four sacks. We may have had 10 sacks, but we would do things like muff the punt twice and we can’t do stuff like that the rest of the way if we expect to win.”
Cass Tech was tested by Detroit Mumford Friday, coming away with a 28-6 victory. Cass Tech had outscored its previous three PSL opponents by a 130-14 margin.
East English — ranked No. 7 in The News Super 20 poll — has clinched a spot in the state playoffs after missing postseason play last year.
“Last year was the first time we missed it in 20 years,” said East English coach Rod Oden, who coached Crockett before that. “We’re glad to be back, glad to have an opportunity to keep playing for our seniors. It’s good times right now and we’re getting ready for the city playoffs this week.
“We’re fortunate enough to be No. 1 (in the PSL playoffs) and it’s going to be a great challenge for us. I know we threw a monkey-wrench in all of the city’s plans because everybody thinks it’s King-Cass Tech in the championship game so it’s good that we’re going to mix things up a bit.
“I remember you posted at the beginning of the year for your top 10 games to watch and you had Oct. 20, Cass versus King in the PSL title game at Ford Field and our kids took it personally.
“I think it motivated them to go out and make a difference and now we have to go out and make the plays. We want to get back to Ford Field.”
East English averages more than 300 yards rushing with an offensive line anchored by Syracuse-bound center Tyrone Sampson.
Western Michigan-bound defensive end Desjuan Johnson (6-foot-3, 250 pounds) has nine sacks the last two games and sophomore Lemuel Watley has nine touchdown receptions and six interceptions. Quarterback Charles Lake has thrown 15 TD passes with just two interceptions.
Oghoufo comes up big
Farmington Hills Harrison linebacker Ovie Oghoufo showed why he will be playing at Notre Dame next year, making several big plays in Friday’s 17-14 upset of Oak Park to help the Hawks (5-2, 5-1) earn a share of first place in the OAA White while giving John Herrington his 430th victory, matching Al Fracassa as the state’s all-time winningest coach.
Oghoufo had three receptions, including a 36-yarder to set up a first-half TD. He also came up with several big stops on defense.
Harrison’s defense forced three second-half turnovers, including a pair of interceptions and a forced fumble during the final minute.
“He’s (Oghoufoa) tight end, but he plays in the slot, too, and he made big plays,” Herrington said.
“He went up and caught it above the defensive backs, high-pointed the ball. He was huge for us. He was a different player all week in practice than I’ve seen all year. He was ready.”
Oghoufo talked of the defensive effort.
“Those turnovers were huge, the score was 17-14 so that’s not a lot, so when they came we made the plays when we had to make them,” he said
“Playmakers make plays and we did.”
Harrison, which cracked The News Super 20 poll for the first time this season, can earn a state playoff bid … and give Herrington the record by himself, with a Homecoming win over Berkley (1-6) on Friday.
Baechler back for Canton
Canton veteran coach Tim Baechler was thrilled to get his son, senior linebacker Lou Baechler, back in the lineup after he missed the previous two games due to a broken arm.
Baechler had a team-high nine tackles in Canton’s 45-8 rout of Howell on Friday.
Canton (6-1, 5-0) clinched the KLAA Black Division title and will face Brighton on Friday, then would face Livonia Churchill for the KLAA championship Oct. 20 if Churchill defeats Wayne Memorial (1-6) Friday in a Gold Division game.
“It was happy mom and dad, happy coach and happy kid,” Baechler said of having Lou back in the lineup. “I think our whole defense was solidified because he makes all the calls and checks. I think everybody is a lot more relieved, especially the other linebackers because the pressure wasn’t on them to make all the calls.”
Canton showed its depth with Nick Polydoras filling in for Steve Walker and rushing for 270 yards and a TD on 18 carries.
“Nick Polydoras has been our backup fullback for the last couple of years and is also our starting safety,” Baechler said. “Steve’s a little banged up so we kept him out, but he’ll be back next week. Nick’s good, quick and he understands how to run the trap stuff and we blocked well for him.”
… Pinckney moved from the KLAA to the Southeastern Conference this season and earned its first league title since 1995, defeating Adrian 42-14 to earn a share of the White Division title with Chelsea.
Pinckney (6-1) battled back from a 14-7 deficit, scoring two TDs during the final 1:48 of the half to take a 21-14 lead. Levi Collins rushed for 166 yards on 30 carries and scored three TDs.
… Cass Tech-King isn’t the lone battle between top 10 teams this weekend. No. 2 Muskegon will play at No. 9 Muskegon Mona Shores on Friday night in a showdown of unbeaten teams.
Muskegon has outscored its last three opponents by a 185-0 margin and has posted five shutouts. Muskegon has won two of the last three meetings, including 36-15 last season.