Detroit — King coach Dale Harvel proved to make the right decision when he called upon Armani Posey to run the offense.
Posey, who took over as quarterback in Week 4, threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns Friday night at Ford Field to lead top-ranked King (9-0) to a 27-25 victory over No. 4 Cass Tech in the Detroit Public Schools League championship game.
Posey showed his athleticism by eluding sacks on two of his touchdown tosses, including his first on a 17-yard toss to Dontre Boyd with 7:42 left in the half and his third on a 85-yard connection with LaVert Hill on a third-and-20 play early in the third quarter, just after Donovan Johnson gave Cass Tech an 18-13 lead with his 80-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
King avenged a 39-7 loss to Cass Tech in last year’s championship game.
Cass Tech (7-2) — which suffered a 31-28 overtime loss to King in Week 5 — had a chance to pull out the victory in the final minutes, but Rodney Hall’s fourth-down pass from the King 39 fell incomplete.
Cass Tech didn’t get much done through the air, but used a pair of big special teams plays to stay in contention for the win.
And, Cass Tech needed both plays, a 50-yard touchdown punt return by Donovan Peoples-Jones in the second quarter and Johnson’s 80-yard touchdown to stay close after trailing 13-11 at halftime, collecting 65 total yards offense and running 16 plays.
At the beginning of the week, it didn’t look like the PSL title game would be played. DPS executive director of athletics Alvin Ward ruled Monday that King would have to forfeit the title for its role in a postgame fight last week following a 20-2 semifinal victory over Cody.
Ward’s ruling, however, was overruled by DPS emergency manager Darnell Earley on Tuesday morning, resulting in the long-anticipated rematch being back on.
Cass Tech led 3-0 on a 26-yard field goal by Albert Pace with 11:58 left in the second quarter, but King quickly answered on Posey’s 17-yard touchdown toss to in the back of the end zone on a third-down play for a 7-3 lead.
It was a great play by Posey who eluded a sack, stepped up and fired the ball to Boyd, a Western Michigan commit who intercepted a pass for a 53-yard touchdown in the first meeting between the teams.
"Posey did a great job, kept his eyes downfield and made things happen when plays broke down," King Coach Dale Harvel said. "That was a great play on the crossing route to LaVert and Hill has such explosiveness that he outran their secondary and that's hard to do."
Then, Peoples-Jones showed why he is being heavily recruited by national powers such as Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Michigan, among others, grabbing a punt on one bounce and returning it 50 yards down the left sideline for an 11-7 Cass Tech lead with 3:57 left in the half.
Again, Posey and King would answer, this time with a 3-yard touchdown toss to Boyd, again on third down with just two seconds left. King missed on the conversion, but entered the locker room on top 13-11, also owning the upper hand in total yards (107-65) and plays (31-16).
Hall said this week he would need to open up the passing game after getting 56 yards through the air in the Week 5 loss.
But things didn’t go well for Hall in the first half. He finished 3-for-5 for 11 yards and Cass Tech was forced back to the sidelines with three-and-outs.
"The secondary gets the credit, but I think the defensive line should get credit too for harassing Hall and putting him in uncomfortable situations," Harvel said.
Cass Tech did receive big runs from Tim Cheatham, one for 26 yards in the first half and another for 56 in the third.
King also received solid running from Grosse Pointe North transfer Lawrence Bryant.