Cass Tech, King players return focus to 'special' game
Detroit Cass Tech junior quarterback Rodney Hall had to change his mindset in a hurry Tuesday afternoon after learning the PSL title game between No. 1 King and No. 4 Cass Tech was back on for Friday night at Ford Field.
Just 24 hours earlier, Hall was told Cass Tech would be without a game Friday, although it would be declared the winner of the city championship game by forfeit due to the brawl following the conclusion of the semifinal game between King —a 20-2 winner — and Cody.
"I'm excited it's back on, but now we have to get back in the right mood," Hall said. "Coach (Thomas Wilcher) gave a speech (Monday), saying how we had to practice hard to get ready for the state playoffs. Now, things have changed and I have to make sure I brought everything.
"I'm thrilled that we're playing. I don't think we needed time to have to wait for our next game. And, we definitely want a chance to beat King since we didn't get things done the first time. It's the city championship at Ford Field … can't wait."
Hall, admitted he had jitters before the first meeting between the teams in Week 5, a 31-28 King victory in overtime. He had a touchdown run taken back due to a penalty in the extra session and also had a pass intercepted and returned 53 yards for a touchdown by Western Michigan-bound Dontre Boyd during regulation.
"I probably had some jitters, know I had some jitters in that first game," Hall said. "They have a good defense, especially their secondary. We'll do some things differently. I'll be watching more film to make sure mistakes won't be repeated. We're thrilled to have a second chance against them and I'll do my best to make sure I won't let my team down."
Hall knows exactly how many yards he was limited to in the passing game, 56, including a touchdown to four-star junior receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones. Hall did run for 112 yards.
"We have to get our passing game going," said Hall, who was at his best Friday in a 47-12 semifinal rout of Mumford, completing 12-of-17 for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns while also running for 115 yards and a score.
And, King four-star cornerback/safety Donnie Corley will do his best to shut it down again.
"We have to just do what we've been doing," Corley said. "We're not going to change a lot. If everybody does their job, we'll win.
"I'm so excited we have the chance to play. King-Cass Tech and playing it in an NFL stadium. That's special."
Corley said he plans to make his college choice in November. He attended the Michigan-Michigan State game Saturday at Michigan Stadium and said he didn't plan on taking an official visit this weekend with King's homecoming dance set for Saturday. He said he will take an official visit to LSU next month with possible other trips to Ohio State and again Michigan, possibly to watch a basketball game.
Corley knows King's secondary that includes Penn State-bound LaVert Hill, four-star junior Ambry Thomas and Boyd will have to know where Peoples-Jones is on the field at all times.
Peoples-Jones played with a dislocated left wrist in last year's PSL title game between the teams at Ford Field, still hauling in two touchdown passes from Hall in a 39-7 win.
When contacted about his reaction of the game being back on, Peoples-Jones texted back: "No words, other than I'm ready and excited to play."