After making an early playoff exit last year, the Detroit King football team left no doubt as to why it's The Detroit News' No. 1-ranked team in Division 2 this season.
On a snow-covered field and in bitter cold, King put on a dominating performance Saturday, beating Livonia Franklin 40-6 and punching its ticket to the Division 2 championship game. King will meet Lowell in the title game on Friday at Ford Field.
"It always feels good to have the opportunity to play for a title, and that's what we have, an opportunity," King coach Dale Harvel said.
"The kids played structurally well today. They were well-disciplined, and when you're well-disciplined you come out and play your game. We played the game of football pretty well today."
The undefeated Crusaders came out throwing, and on just the second play of the game, quarterback Armani Posey connected with Donnie Corley for a 52-yard touchdown with 11:04 still to play in the first quarter.
"We didn't want to get in a situation where we had to throw the ball. We threw the ball when we wanted to and made plays when we had to with the passing game," Harvel said.
Posey finished 4-for-5 with 178 yards and three touchdowns. Corley added two catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns, and Dontre Boyd had three catches for 109 yards and a score.
"My offensive line was giving me a lot of time back there. Our running game was just phenomenal and it opened up a lot of passing lanes," Posey said.
Martell Pettaway led the running attack for King (12-0), finishing with 14 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown. Martinez Adams Calloway added eight carries for 51 yards and a touchdown, and Kevin Willis had five carries for 57 yards.
"Every practice we've been saying we need to dominate and push downfield. We've got a lot of momentum with us so we're ready to win the whole thing," Pettaway said.
Before Saturday, the Franklin offense was averaging almost 40 points per game, but the King defense stood tall and held a team with an explosive running game to just six points.
"The defense was outstanding. When you hold a good offensive team like Franklin to just six points, that's a great day for your defense," Harvel said.
Denzel Adams finished with 16 carries for 24 yards and a touchdown for Franklin (9-4), and was 3-for-5 for 89 yards and an interception.
King's last state title was in 2007.
"It feels good to head down there with some momentum," Posey said. "It starts in practice. Our defense is going to step up too. We're playing indoors so we won't have to worry about weather."
"If we do what we're supposed to do we'll have a shot at it," Harvel said.