Goricki’s prep picks: Franklin takes on mighty King

David Goricki
The Detroit News
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Livonia — David meet Goliath.

That’s the matchup when Livonia Franklin plays No. 1 Detroit King in the Division 2 semifinals Saturday at Dearborn.

King was expected to be in this position with several talented transfers, including cornerback LaVert Hill (Penn State), running back Martell Pettaway (West Virginia) and quarterback Armani Posey.

Franklin, however, is the surprise.

It finished 2-7 last season and was predicted to finish 10th in the 12-team Kensington Conference. But after a 2-3 start, Franklin ran off seven consecutive victories, led by senior quarterback Denzel Adams and junior running back Jacob Clark (731 yards, 10 TDs in three postseason games).

“Our goal has always been to be in this position and to play a game like this and play a team like this,” Franklin coach Chris Kelbert said. “It’s something that we’re really looking forward to.”

Kelbert inserted Adams as quarterback last year, and he has learned the wing-T system, rushing for 1,600 yards and 23 touchdowns and passing for 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.

“Last year I wasn’t that good at it; I could just run,” Adams said of the wing-T. “I started getting better at it this fall and love it.”

Pick: King by 12



Detroit News prep picks: State semifinals

All games 1 p.m. Saturday

Division 1

■ Canton (10-2) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (10-2) at Troy Athens: Losing QB Rodney Hall (2,400+ passing yards, 20 TDs; 1,000+ rushing yards) to a fractured ankle in the quarterfinals hurts Cass Tech. Sophomore Aaron Jackson takes over. Canton has the ability to play keepaway with its ball control offense led by RB Markus Sanders (2,213 yards). Canton by 6

■ Romeo (11-1) vs. Grand Ledge (12-0) at Brighton:Romeo should have the advantage running the wing-T behind QB Paul Hurley, RB/WR Brad Tanner and TE Mitch Heimbuch. Romeo’s defense has limited opponents to fewer than 9 points. Romeo by 2

Division 2

■ Walled Lake Western (12-0) vs. Lowell (11-1) at Alma College: Western defeated Lowell in the opener behind QB Kyle Thomas (345 yards, three TDs). It doesn’t help that Western LB Darnell Lanier is out for targeting. Lowell by 4

Division 3

■ Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (10-1) vs. East Grand Rapids (9-3) at Howell: St. Mary’s has been pounding the ball behind Justin Myrick, Brandon Adams & Co. Its defense, led by LB Josh Ross and CB KJ Hamler, will be tested by East’s balanced attack. St. Mary’s by 12

■ Chelsea (11-1) vs. Coldwater (12-0) at Jackson Withington Stadium: Chelsea ousted Downriver League powers Trenton and Allen Park. QB Jack Bush was 16-for-20 for 264 yards and two TDs in the quarterfinals against Allen Park — and there’s no reason to think his impressive play will end now. Chelsea by 4

Division 4

■ Detroit Country Day (11-1) vs. Flint Powers Catholic (10-2) at West Bloomfield: Country Day QB Steve Mann has been accurate all season, but the difference-maker will be DE Jeremiah Tyler. Country Day by 6

■ Zeeland West (12-0) vs. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Eastern (11-1) at East Kentwood: Zeeland West has the ability to keep the ball behind its wing-T offense. Forest Hills Eastern has had a tremendous season after four straight losing seasons. Zeeland West by 14

Division 5

■ River Rouge (11-1) vs. Ida (12-0) at Novi: River Rouge has dominated opponents 167-25 during the postseason. It also beat Ida, 42-14, in last year’s district final. River Rouge by 10

■ Lansing Catholic Central (11-1) vs. Grand Rapids West Catholic (10-2) at Greenville: A rematch of last year’s state championship, won by West Catholic. QB Tony Poljan will lead Catholic Central to Ford Field. Catholic Central by 6

Division 6

■ Ithaca (12-0) vs. Traverse City St. Francis (12-0) at Clare: Jake Smith is trying to get Ithaca back to Ford Field to take care of some unfinished business after having a 69-game winning streak come to an end in last year’s title game. St. Francis’ defense has allowing 15 total points during the playoffs. Ithaca by 2

■ Clinton (12-0) vs. Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian (12-0) at Battle Creek-Harper Creek: Clinton RB Matthew Sexton (Eastern Michigan) has been a treat to watch (2,000+ yards, 30 TDs). Clinton by 6 (OT)

Division 7

■ Detroit Loyola (10-2) vs. Pewamo-Westphalia (12-0) at Fenton: Loyola’s lone losses have been to defending state champions Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Warren De La Salle. The defense, led by DL Anthony Fitzpatrick and LB Kailen Abrams, has to be at its best to slow RB Jared Smith (2,899 yards, 50 TDs). Loyola by 12

■ New Lothrop (12-0) vs. Ishpeming (11-0) at Northern Michigan’s Superior Dome: Look for New Lothrop to make the most of its long trip to dethrone an Ishpeming team that won consecutive state titles before falling to Loyola last year. New Lothrop by 2

Division 8

■ Ottawa Lake Whiteford (10-2) at Waterford Lakes (12-0) at Hazel Park: Lakes has an experienced quarterback (Clay Senerius) and a receiver (Devin Senerius) who can make plays. And, don’t forget 1,000-yard rusher Chris Cartier. Lakes by 10

■ Muskegon Catholic Central (9-2) vs. St. Ignace (11-1) at Traverse City Central: Catholic Central is used to playing at this time of year, winning consecutive state titles. St. Ignace has an outstanding player in DB Gage Kreski. Catholic Central by 1

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