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Cass Tech's Weber gets another chance in semifinal

David Goricki
The Detroit News

It's easy to say Mike Weber's high school football career has come full circle.

It was two years ago this month when Weber had a breakout game his sophomore season in a 21-14 regional championship game win over Saline, running for 163 yards and two TDs.

Then Weber ran for 186 yards at Ford Field two weeks later, helping Detroit Cass Tech repeat as Division 1 state champions.

Well, Weber and Cass Tech (12-0) will once again be facing Saline (11-1), this time in a state semifinal game at Troy Athens with a trip to Ford Field going to the winner.

Weber is thrilled to get another opportunity to play in a semifinal game, especially after missing last year's semifinal — a shutout loss to Detroit Catholic Central — due to an ankle injury suffered in a regional final win over Macomb Dakota.

"I'm looking for another state championship and I want to run for 2,000 yards and score 30 TDs," said Weber prior to his senior year. "I have a chip on my shoulder after how last year ended."

Weber has already reached one goal, running for 2,130 yards despite missing two games early in the season due to a foot injury.

Weber has piled up his yardage on just 184 carries, for an 11.6-yard average, and he has 28 TDs.

Weber, a Michigan commit, topped the 2,000-yard mark after running for a career-high 404 yards (32 carries) and five TDs on Saturday in a 48-35 regional final win over Chippewa Valley. He has rushed for more than 5,500 yards and scored 58 TDs during his three-year career.

"Last year I got hurt, couldn't play in the semifinals and help my team win," said Weber, who was named U.S. Army All-American Bowl High School Player of the Week for his regional final performance. "I'm healthy this time around and looking forward to it."

About his first game against Saline, he said, "That was really my breakout season, and that game really put the icing on the cake as far as me being a Division 1 player and hopefully I can come back and do the same thing."

Weber, at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds with 4.5 speed, has been at his best during the last five games, the PSL playoffs and the state postseason, busting loose for 1,147 yards and 18 TDs.

"Blocking for Mike is a pleasure," said Cass Tech 6-5, 315-pound two-way lineman Josh Alabi, who will play next year at Ohio State. "We've had a good relationship, and he's like a brother. It's good fun to block for him since he's such a great running back, knowing that somebody can run the ball as good as he can behind you is a great feeling. He knows how to read blocks and read holes and he hits them and does his thing. He's a great runner."

"Blocking for him is an honor," said 6-3, 345-pound junior guard Michael Onwenu who has already received offers from Ohio State, Michigan and Miami. "All you have to do is hit your guy, give him a hole and he's gone."

On his first TD run against Chippewa Valley, Weber broke a tackle at the line, then bounced left for a 6-yard TD.

On his second TD, Weber first hauled in a 10-yard pass on a third down play, then followed it up with a 50-yard TD run on the following play.

On his third TD, Weber broke two tackles on the way to a 45-yard TD run.

Weber's fourth TD was his most impressive. He busted loose for a 76-yard run while running away from defenders.

Oh, and Weber showed his ability to change directions for a big gainer. In the fourth quarter, he was hemmed in behind the line of scrimmage, then reversed his field to the left side where sophomore quarterback Rodney Hall pancaked a linebacker to open the way for a 40-yard run, from Cass Tech's 30 to Chippewa Valley's 30.

With the outcome still in doubt, Weber broke loose for a 44-yard TD with just over two minutes left after Cass Tech's defense stopped Chippewa Valley on a fourth down play at midfield while holding a 40-35 lead.

Sure, Weber is still a Michigan commit, but it's not as solid as Birmingham Brother Rice quarterback Alex Malzone, who plans to enroll in January and take part in spring practice.

"Right now I'm just taking my time with it, take my visits and make sure things go good," Weber said. "I'm going to take my officials to Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, USC and Michigan. I'll probably take them after the season."

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

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