Prep Insider: King running wild for West Bloomfield
Michael King has played with a chip on his shoulder, wanting to prove everyone wrong who said he was too small to be a big-time player for West Bloomfield.
King, a 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior with 4.4 speed, has been a threat to score every time he has touched the ball this season from his spot in the backfield, where he has averaged 12 yards a carry (420 yards) and added nearly 600 receiving yards (30 receptions).
King has played a big role in West Bloomfield (6-1) qualifying for the state playoffs for the first time since 2008 and third time in school history.
West Bloomfield's lone loss was to defending Division 1 state champion Clarkston (55-41), a game in which it entered the fourth quarter tied at 41.
King thinks West Bloomfield can do some damage in the postseason and he plans to help it to two more wins to earn a first home playoff game in school history.
"I had a chip on my shoulder with people saying I'm too small and I went on to prove them wrong," said King, who has scored 10 touchdowns this season, including a 78-yard run Friday in a 21-0 win at Oxford. "It was so great to get that long run against Oxford because they knocked us out of playoff contention last year, defeating us in the last game of the season to keep us out.
"We're excited for the playoffs. We want to make history and host a game. That would be really special for all of us."
King had a special game in a 39-0 rout of Lake Orion, scoring on an 88-yard punt return, a 5-yard reception and a 12-yard run.
"The Lake Orion game has definitely been my highlight," he said. "We shut them out 39-0 on their homecoming and I scored three different ways. It was a great feeling that night for all of us."
West Bloomfield coach Ron Bellamy, a former Michigan and NFL player, has consistently called King "the most electrifying player in the state."
"Michael King's a special player and a spectacular kid who can do so many things," Bellamy said. "He has great speed, 10.8 100 meters, and makes people miss with his moves."
Bellamy is thrilled with West Bloomfield's success so far, and a spread offense which puts up big numbers every week, led by junior quarterback Trishton Jackson, who has thrown for 1,259 yards and 12 TDs (78-of-125) and rushed for 568 yards and eight scores.
"This is the second year we've used the spread," Bellamy pointed out. "We identified our strengths and we wanted to put our athletes in space and let them show what they could do.
"Defensively, we've had three shutouts and who thought we'd shut out Lake Orion and Oxford in the same year? We have great kids who are focused and our defensive coordinator, Tyrice Grice, is a stud, just unbelievable. We had two goal-line stands against Oxford, stopped them both times at the 1, and that was the difference Friday."
West Bloomfield will play at Rochester Hills Stoney Creek Friday.
Dakota clinches MAC Red again
Macomb Dakota has been the king of the Macomb Area Conference and one of the premier programs in the state for the last decade so it should come as no surprise it clinched its third straight outright Red Division championship Friday with a 56-20 win over L'Anse Creuse North.
Dakota's lone loss came in the season opener against Clarkston. It has averaged 38.5 points in six straight wins.
"One of the hardest things to do is to win your league title, especially in the MAC Red, so it's a great accomplishment for our players," said 17th-year head coach Mike Giannone, who guided Dakota to consecutive Division 1 state titles in 2006 and '07. "This was our third straight outright title and Bob Lantzy and Eisenhower did that in the past and so did Rick Bye at Stevenson, so to be named in the same sentence with them is special."
Dakota's offense has a number of weapons, including senior quarterback Maurice Moon, 5-6 sophomore running back Kiser Carleton and senior tight end Daniel Crawford.
"He was our running back last year and we moved him to quarterback this season and he's done a great job for us, has a good arm and is pretty accurate," Giannone said of Moon, who has completed 61 percent of his passes for 900 yards and 12 TDs. "He's a big, strong kid (6-1, 210) who can run the ball well. He was our JV quarterback so we knew he could do a good job for us.
"Kiser Carleton could be one of the best backs we've ever had at Dakota. He's special, a 4.5 guy who makes plays. Lance Long (Eisenhower, NFL receiver) works with him as a trainer during the summer and that helped him a lot."
Crawford, who will play tight end at Northern Illinois next year, has played defensive end for the first time.
"He's improving every week," Giannone said. "He's a run contain guy, but he also has two sacks."
It also helps that safety Dimitri Abro has five interceptions.
Dakota will play at Stevenson (5-2) Friday.
PSL semifinals Friday at Northwestern
The PSL semifinals will take place Friday at Detroit Northwestern, featuring a doubleheader with No. 2 seed Cass Tech (7-0) facing No. 3 East English Village Prep (5-2) at 5 p.m., followed by No. 1 King (7-0) taking on No. 4 Renaissance (5-2).
King has outscored its opponents by a 287-38 margin and will have to slow down Renaissance's passing combination of Kyle Lewis-Mark Wilson to move on.
"Kyle Lewis has moved over from receiver to quarterback and played well for us," said second-year Renaissance coach Tony Elliott, who guided his team to a 6-4 record last year, including a state playoff loss to Oak Park. "He's rushed for 500 yards and has thrown for more than 700. Defensively, our All-City linebacker Napoleon McCants has played well all season."
Cass Tech, the defending PSL champs, defeated East English, 21-16, two weeks ago at Cass Tech. East English has given up just 21 points all season.
"They're a tough team, very physical and well coached," Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. "We have to be more physical against them this time around."
The semifinal winners will play for the PSL championship at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at Ford Field.
Niko France, Woodhaven
The senior quarterback ran for 185 yards and three TDs and tossed a 47-yard TD pass to Trent Bauer to help Woodhaven remain unbeaten with a 42-27 win over defending Downriver League champion Wyandotte Friday.
By the numbers
9 — Touchdowns for Woodhaven's Niko France in his team's two biggest victories, five in a 42-35 OT win over Allen Park and four Friday in a 42-27 win over Wyandotte.
32 TDs — rushing and throwing — for senior quarterback Brandon Childress, who has led Baldwin to a 6-1 record.
2 Goal-line stands for West Bloomfield's defense Friday, stopping Oxford at the 1 on two occasions en route to a 21-0 win to become eligible for the playoffs.
"One of the hardest things to do is to win your league title, especially in the MAC Red, so it's a great accomplishment for our players."
Mike Giannone, Macomb Dakota coach