Prep Insider: King, Cass Tech try again for PSL title
It's King-Cass Tech II Friday night at Ford Field with the Detroit Public School League championship on the line.
King, 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in The News Super 20 poll, defeated No. 4 Cass Tech, 31-28, in Week 5 on an 18-yard field goal by Anwar Miah in overtime.
King won the city championship in 2009 and again in 2012. Cass Tech won in 2010, '11, '13 and'14.
The teams hope it's just one of two trips to Ford Field with the state championship games set for the site during Thanksgiving weekend. King will compete in the Division 2 playoffs and Cass Tech in Division 1.
"That's one of our goals, to win the league title, and it's right in front of us," King coach Dale Harvel said. "We have to contain their playmakers, not give up the big, explosive plays and make them use the whole field to score."
Harvel is well aware of Cass Tech junior quarterback Rodney Hall, who ran for 173 yards and found junior four-star receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones for a long TD in the first meeting between the teams.
Hall was at his best Friday in a 47-12 PSL semifinal rout of Mumford, completing 12 of 17 passes for 222 yards and three TDs and rushing for 115 yards and a score.
"He is doing a great job," Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said.
Harvel has been equally impressed with the play of senior Armani Posey, who has played multiple positions, including receiver, running back, quarterback, safety and linebacker.
"All year long we've had good play out of Armani Posey," who transferred in from Detroit East English Village Prep, said Harvel. "Wherever we've needed to plug him in you can trust him to get it done. He adapts well to change. A lot of other kids' production will fall off, but because of his attitude he's able to succeed.
"Armani's played receiver, quarterback, safety, linebacker, even played him at fullback. He's been our quarterback the last five weeks and he's done a great job of running the offense, getting us in position to be successful, only thrown one or two picks during that time. He's been very consistent."
And, Harvel also has been pleased with the play of Donnie Corley — the top-ranked player in the state by The News — four-star cornerback LaVert Hill and 6-foot-4, 270-pound senior tackle Dylan Swanson.
"Donnie Corley and LaVert Hill have been shut-down corners all year and Donnie's played some safety for us, too," Harvel said.
And don't forget King's Ambry Thomas and Dontre Boyd, who join Corley and Hill in the secondary. Boyd, a Western Michigan commit, intercepted a Hall pass and returned it 53 yards for a score in the earlier win.
U-D wins in Central
U-D Jesuit tossed aside its 35-game Catholic League Central Division losing streak with a 34-0 win over Birmingham Brother Rice.
It was U-D's first win over a Central Division opponent since defeating Dearborn Divine Child in 2006.
Even when U-D was 7-5 in 2013, it was 0-4 in division play and suffered a pair of losses to Brother Rice, including 41-14 in the regional final.
"It's been a long time," U-D coach Oscar Olejniczak said. "It was real exciting for the kids, the program and the alumni.
"We've been pretty banged up the last few weeks, especially our offensive line and they came back, maybe not healthy, but came up big and gave us a shot in the arm. And, our defense played outstanding."
Olejniczak praised 6-0, 245-pound senior defensive tackle Greg Leatherwood (12 tackles, six for loss) and junior inside linebacker Brian McNamara, who was in on 10 tackles.
Junior Scott Nelson, who received an offer from Northwestern and also has received interest from MSU and Notre Dame in recent weeks, got the call at quarterback and ran for 140 yards on 11 carries, also throwing for two touchdowns.
U-D (5-3) needs at win at Redford Thurston (5-3) to earn a state playoff spot.
"I'm pretty sure we wouldn't get in at 5-4," Olejniczak said. "We're calling it one-game knockouts so it has really already been playoff time for us. Redford Thurston has some talented offensive players with speed so we'll have to contain them to have a chance."
Cesar Chavez in playoffs
Detroit Cesar Chavez defeated Mayville, 32-26, to improve to 6-2 and earn the first state playoff appearance in school history.
Senior quarterback Omar Salih threw for 505 yards and five touchdowns without an interception in the win and now has 3,342 yards passing and 36 TDs with just seven interceptions.
"Omar's had a great year for us and we have five receivers with more than 500 yards so he's really spread things around," Cesar Chavez coach Tarif Kumasi said. "It (sixth win) feels great, giving us our first trip to the Dance. We'll be playing in Division 4 and I'd love to play Jimmy Hill's (Detroit) Northwestern team. We've been friends for 20 years."
Detroit Northwestern is 8-0 and will be playing in the East-West II city league title game at 4 p.m. Friday at Ford Field.
A lot on the line Friday
Many will be playing with state playoff spots on the line Friday, including Oak Park, Utica Eisenhower and Lincoln Park — all coming into the games with 5-3 records.
After an 0-3 start, including a 42-34 season-opening loss to No. 9 Zeeland West (8-0), Oak Park has won five straight, including a 50-14 rout of Southfield Friday.
Oak Park will have to defeat a talented 6-2 Clarkston team, the two-time Division 1 state champion, on the road, to guarantee a spot in the postseason.
Eisenhower is coming off an impressive pair of wins over Chippewa Valley (17-3) and Warren Mott (30-9) and will host No. 7 Romeo (8-0).
Lincoln Park — which was in the midst of a 66-game losing streak just two years ago — lost to Allen Park, 35-7, Friday and will play at Gibraltar Carlson (5-3).
Utica Ford plays at Warren Mott in another battle between 5-3 teams.
Lance Mitchell, Madison Heights Madison
The junior running back rushed for 306 yards and five touchdowns to lead Madison to its fourth consecutive MAC Silver title with a 56-42 comeback win over previously unbeaten St. Clair Shores South Lake.
By the numbers
3,342 -- Passing yards by Cesar Chavez senior Omar Salih, including 505 with five TDs without an interception Thursday in a 32-26 win over Mayville.
35 -- Consecutive Catholic League Central Division losses suffered by U-D Jesuit before its 34-0 win over Birmingham Brother Rice Friday.
4 -- Consecutive MAC Red Division championships won by Macomb Dakota following its 35-28 overtime win over Sterling Heights Stevenson.
2 -- TDs scored by Madison Heights Madison in less than a minute late in the fourth quarter to help it come back for a 56-42 win over St. Clair Shores South Lake.
"It feels great, giving us our first trip to the Dance."
Tarif Kumasi, Detroit Cesar Chavez coach, on having his team earn its first state playoff spot following a 32-26 win over Mayville