King’s title run heats up as Ambry Thomas’ decision draws near

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Detroit King's Ambry Thomas had 37 catches for 902 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading his team to a second consecutive Division 2 title.

Detroit -- Four-star cornerback / receiver Ambry Thomas will always demand attention from opposing defenses, so he played the role of decoy Saturday in Detroit King’s 21-7 comeback win over Temperance Bedford in a Division 2 regional.

King, 10-2 and ranked No. 8, will play No. 15 Birmingham Groves in a semifinal Saturday at Dearborn. No. 2 Walled Lake Western will face No. 11 Lowell in the other semifinal at Brighton with the winners moving on to Ford Field for the title game on Nov. 25.

With Bedford trying its best to shut down Thomas and carrying a 7-6 lead into the fourth quarter, junior receiver Jaeveyon Morton got behind the secondary twice, hauling in a 57-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Dequan Finn — also grabbing the 2-point conversion for a 14-7 lead with 10:56 left — then grabbing a 50-yard toss for a touchdown and a 21-7 cushion with 6:35 left.

“I’m very proud of him,” Thomas said of Morton. “He’s shining and I’m still doing what I do. I’m kind of like a decoy right now, letting my other receivers shine, and I love it. Just glad we’re winning. I’m really proud of everybody since our (offensive) line stepped up in the second half, quarterback stepped up, receivers stepped up. We started slow and we need to pick it up.

“It actually pulls us closer together, even though we’re already close because of the loss of our coach (Dale Harvel). I love my team and winning is the only thing that matters. This is all dedicated to our coach and we all know what we have to do to move forward and get another win (to get back to Ford Field for a chance of winning a state title).”

Harvel suffered a fatal heart attack this past summer during a 7-on-7 camp. He guided the Crusaders to a state championship last year.

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While Thomas is focused on the journey to the title, he talked about his recruiting situation.

“I’m going to graduate early so I can enroll and start college in January,” Thomas said. “I just have six weeks to decide, probably going to take two officials, probably to Florida and Arizona, but Michigan and Michigan State are still in the mix, too. I plan to make my commitment before December 20, still have a ways to go though.”

Louisville is also interested.

Groves coach Brendan Flaherty and his staff will be working hard on a plan to spoil King’s plans, trying to get a rematch with No. 2 Walled Lake Western in the state title game after falling to Western in last year’s district final.

“We’re really excited for the challenge,” Flaherty said. “Like I’ve told the kids, you have to slay a dragon if you want the princess. King has Division 1-caliber kids everywhere. They are big and talented so we have our work cut out for us.”

Groves has a talented defense — allowing an average of 10 points (25 in three postseason games) — led by linebacker Nate Wagner and a secondary that includes cornerback Collin Heard and safety Ryan Flaherty, Brendan’s son.

Michigan high school football semifinals schedule