Northwestern tops Central to go 9-0
Detroit — Danny Whitt will long remember his 58-yard touchdown pass Friday night at Ford Field that helped Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern to a 26-12 victory over Detroit Central in the Public School League East-West Division II championship game.
Whitt, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, rolled left under pressure late in the first half and let fly a 40-yard pass that found Michael Marion on stride behind the secondary, and he ran the rest of the way to the end zone to open up a 14-6 halftime lead.
“I had great protection from the line and I still had enough time to get outside, to roll out, and I stepped up and threw it,” Whitt said. “I saw him wide open, just threw the deep ball and I knew I could rely on Mike.”
Northwestern coach Jimmy Hill said Whitt and Marion were dominant on that play during 7-on-7 drills during the summer and just needed to connect with it once when it mattered most. And, they did.
Marion was thrilled, saying: “We worked on the play time and time again in practice and it was a success. The lights blinded me for a second and as it came down I caught it and scored the touchdown. It was a great pass and I was real excited to see it in the air coming to me. I have the best quarterback in the PSL right now and I’m happy to have him.”
Sophomore Germaine Williams also made a big play for Northwestern, returning a partially blocked punt 35 yards for a score in the opening quarter.
The win gave Northwestern (9-0) its first unbeaten record in program history.
Central (6-3) scored on a 7-yard TD run by quarterback Darius Lynaum. Lynaum, though, was carried off the field in the final minutes with a left ankle injury and his status is not known for the state playoffs.
Northwestern senior Christopher Dennis was arguably the best player on the field on both sides of the ball.
Dennis, a running back/linebacker, got to Lynaum on several occasions for sacks, including one to stop a drive inside the Northwestern 30 during the second quarter.
Dennis also scored on a 5-yard TD run on Northwestern’s first drive of the second half for a 20-6 cushion. The score was set up by Whitt’s 14-yard run on a third-and-17 play from midfield. He was hit late out of bounds and the ensuing personal foul penalty kept the drive alive.
Dennis scored on a 3-yard run with 4:32 left in the third for a 26-6 lead, ending a 16-yard drive which was set up by a fumbled snap by the Central punter.
Now, Northwestern — which has outscored its opponents by a 275-42 margin — will try to win its first district title when the state tournament gets underway next week.
“I’m just so happy that the kids that won it today are the first group of kids who bought in, they chose to stay at my school rather than leave and go to a more popular school like a lot of other kids, and I’m just happy that they got an opportunity to be rewarded,” Hill said.
“This championship belongs to Chris Dennis, Monterrio Jackson, Danny Whitt, Mike Marion, Jaquez Williams, all of those guys and my great assistant coaches. This (win in big rivalry with Central) is vital to our program. With this rivalry, whoever wins this game usually gets all the kids in the neighborhood.”
Northwestern also defeated Central, 27-0, in Week 3.