Prep picks: Detroit King, Muskegon meet again, months after state-finals thriller
No. 3 Muskegon makes its second long trip to Detroit in as many weeks to face No. 8 Detroit King Friday at 7 in a rematch of last year’s Division 3 state-championship game which was won by King 41-25 at Ford Field in Detroit.
King and Muskegon are familiar with each other. King traveled to Muskegon in Week 2 last year when Cameron Martinez directed a 65-yard, eight-place drive, scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:22 remaining for the difference in Muskegon’s 24-21 victory.
But King avenged the loss on the big stage despite a 211-yard rushing performance (37 carries, 2 TDs) performance by Martinez which left him with 2,527 yards rushing and 38 TDs, as King quarterback Dequan Finn threw for four TDs and ran for another to close out his prep career.
“It’s two good programs and it will be a rematch of what happened last year, so I’m sure they will be fired up and we want to get a win in our column this year, so we’ll be fired up, it will be a good, physical football game,” King fourth-year head coach Tyrone Spencer said.
Both teams know how to get to Ford Field with state championships on the line. King has won three state titles in the last four years and Muskegon has advanced to state title games six of the last seven years, winning the Division 3 championship in 2017.
So, what does King have to do to slow down the Ohio State-bound Martinez who led Muskegon to a 41-7 rout of defending Division 2 state champion Warren DeLaSalle last Friday at Wayne State’s Adams Field? He rushed for 182 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns.
“We just have to swarm to the football,” Spencer said. “You can’t over-pursuit a guy like him, just swarm to the football.
“Everybody has to tackle him, swarm to him and bottle him up. He’s a very, very, very good player, probably the most explosive guy we’ve played since Donovan Peoples-Jones (Detroit Cass Tech) and Mike Weber (Cass Tech).”
Pick: King by 2
Other top games
Port Huron Northern (1-0) at No. 20 Romeo (1-0), 7 Friday: Northern lost to Romeo 14-6 in Week 2 last year, its lone regular season loss, then trailed De La Salle, 7-3, at halftime before a 21-3 regional final loss.
The teams had impressive season openers with Northern defeating St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, 42-6, a team it had to go to overtime to beat last year, while Romeo defeated Oxford, 41-14.
Northern coach Larry Roelens expected big things from three-year varsity starters in quarterback Seth Klink, running back Theo Ellis and Michigan-bound defensive end Braiden McGregor, and he got great performances from them.
Pick: Port Huron Northern by 4
No. 13 Livonia Franklin (1-0) at Dearborn (1-0), 7 Friday: Dearborn played with a chip on its shoulder in the season opener, defeating KLAA West Division favorite Canton, 21-6, after being picked to finish sixth in the East Division.
Next up, Dearborn plays host to a Livonia Franklin team which advanced to the Division 2 state championship game in 2017, a regional final appearance last year, and defeated Howell, 58-21, last weekend.
Dearborn veteran coach John Powell has a pair of Big Ten commits to work with in tight end/linebacker Tommy Guajardo (Michigan State) and defensive lineman/tackle Ali Saad (Minnesota), along with physical running back Jake Tafelski who rushed for 180 yards in the opener.
Franklin is led by three-year starting quarterback Jake Kelbert who threw for 152 yards and three TDs and rushed for 76 and a score in the win over Howell.
Pick: Franklin by 6
No. 12 Birmingham Groves (1-0) at No. 1 West Bloomfield (1-0), 7 Friday: West Bloomfield passed its first test against a top-20 team with a 20-14 victory over then-No. 3 Oak Park and the state’s top player, Justin Rogers last Friday.
Now, coach Ron Bellamy’s West Bloomfield team has to get by a Groves team which advanced to the Division 2 state semifinals last year, and defeated Grosse Pointe South, 34-21, last Friday at Wayne State’s Adams Field.
West Bloomfield put up big numbers in wins over Groves the past two seasons (39-28 in ’18, 49-26 in ’17). They have an experienced quarterback in C.J. Harris and a healthy running back in Donovan Edwards.
Pick: West Bloomfield by 8