Detroit — For a quarter-and-a-half on Friday, Detroit Renaissance showed it could be a team to watch in Detroit Public School League football’s future.
The rest of the way, the host Detroit King showed the gulf is still wide between PSL powerhouses and everyone else.
Senior quarterback Dequan Finn, a Central Michigan commit, threw or rushed for King’s first seven touchdowns and accounted for 389 yards of total offense in a 59-14 rout.
The win furthered the belief that Detroit Cass Tech and King will circle each other all season, culminating with a meeting in the PSL playoffs.
But Finn, despite finishing 12-of-21 passing for 284 yards and rushing for 105 yards on five carries, knows there’s work to do to add another state title the trophy case, which has seen three additions since 2007.
“The errors, we have to decrease,” Finn said after King committed 14 penalties despite a running clock all fourth quarter. “We had too many penalties. For us, we felt that we didn’t play a good, clean football game.
“If we clean up the mistakes and play fast, we’ll be the best team in the state.”
Defending PSL champion King (4-1, 3-0 PSL Black) and Cass Tech have alternated league titles since 2014. The powerhouses have won every PSL Division I title since 2012 and all but two since 2006.
Renaissance (3-2, 2-1) trailed 20-14 with 6:16 left in the second quarter after senior wide receiver Anthony Gary II caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from junior RaeQuan Beal.
Finn responded by capping a 9-play, 71-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Darrell Wyatt.
On Renaissance’s first play of the next drive, Randy Winans forced a fumble on a sack with Lorenzo White Jr. making the recovery.
Three plays later, Finn ran for a 7-yard touchdown and left another time for another score before halftime — a Finn-to-Rashawn Williams 20-yard scoring connection with 44 seconds left to go up 40-14 at the break.
“It’s the difference between a very talented veteran team, and a talented young team,” said Renaissance coach Drake Wilkins, who is back in the PSL after a stint at Madison Heights Madison. “I told them, it’s like a boxing match. You knocked them down in the first round, but you didn’t finish them.”
Williams (three catches, 58 yards) and Wyatt (two catches, 44 yards) caught two touchdowns apiece for King, which plays at Detroit Douglass next week. Jalen McGaughy (three catches, 130 yards), Shondel Hardnett (1-yard run), and Dominick Polidore-Hannah (49-yard punt return) added touchdowns.
Robert Army rushed for a touchdown for Renaissance, which plays host to Detroit Denby next week.
“I think Renaissance is a formidable opponent, we just got away from them,” King coach Tyrone Spencer said. “But the little things that win you state championships, that’s what we want to be able to execute on the regular.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.