PSL powers Detroit Cass Tech and Detroit King resume their intense rivalry Friday at 5 p.m. at King, and the loser will be saddled with a rare 1-3 start.
The teams will take the field with 1-2 records, each earning their first victory of the season last Friday, King blanking Detroit Osborn 48-0 and Cass Tech defeating Detroit Western 24-6.
Cass Tech and King have flexed their muscles this past decade with each team winning three state championships.
Cass Tech is 92-16 this decade, winning Division 1 state titles in 2011, ’12 and ’16 with a perfect 14-0 record. Cass Tech is also 6-4 in the series with King, including a dominating 42-8 win in last year’s PSL championship game.
King is 83-20, winning Division 2 state titles in 2015 and ’16, and earning the Division 3 state championship last season.
While big things were expected from King – which showcases Maryland-bound running back Peny Boone and Indiana-bound receiver Rashawn Williams – Cass Tech was supposed to get better as the season moved on with a rare inexperienced roster … but still loaded with talent.
“It’s important to get this win for both teams,” said King fourth-year head coach Tyrone Spencer. “Cass really has to get a win and we have to get a win because it’s important to go 2-2, can’t go 1-3. That’s all that I’ve been talking to my guys about.”
Spencer has been pleased with the play of freshman quarterback Dante Moore but needs Boone to get going after struggling early in the season. Boone struggled early last season, as well, before dominating in postseason play.
“We’ve cleaned some things up, needed to get a lot of stuff done with our running backs and their steps, getting on track,” Spencer said. “Our shoulders weren’t being squared enough. It’s almost like the same thing we went through last year where he (Boone) wants to make the big play every time he touches the ball, go 80 yards, and you can’t do that. He’s been better in practice this week, so we like where he is right now.
“Dante’s doing well. I like how he’s playing, threw for three touchdowns last week.”
Spencer is wary of Cass Tech quarterback Sebastian Brown.
“Sebastian Brown is athletic, he can run and he can throw,” Spencer said. “We have to contain him and try not to let them get into a rhythm.”
Cass Tech veteran coach Thomas Wilcher is confident with Brown at quarterback but hopes he will have a healthy Kobe King (6-1, 230) back at running back. King, a junior, injured his ankle in Week 1.
Wilcher thinks Cass Tech will need to run the ball effectively to defeat King.
“We need to be able to run the ball.” Wilcher said. “We’re trying to get things together on the offensive line. This is the most inexperienced team, so the youth isn’t the problem, experience is the problem.”
Pick: King by 6.
Other top games
No. 5 Birmingham Groves (3-0) at No. 10 Oak Park (2-1), 6 p.m. Friday: Groves is off to a great start, including a 24-17 win over preseason No. 1 West Bloomfield in Week 2, followed by a 42-0 rout of Rochester last week.
Oak Park bounced back from a Week 1 20-14 loss at West Bloomfield by putting up big numbers in a Week 2 53-0 rout of Rochester, followed by an impressive comeback win over Clarkston last week, using a game-ending 24-0 run to turn a 41-40 deficit into a 64-41 victory.
Look for Oak Park quarterback Frank Black to continue his strong play.
Pick: Oak Park by 2.
No. 4 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (3-0) at No. 16 Walled Lake Western (3-0), 7 p.m. Friday: After missing the playoffs the last two years, St. Mary’s is playing championship-caliber football while averaging 41 points a game.
Veteran coach George Porritt has to be pleased with his team’s punishing running game, along with enough damage through the passing game in quarterback Grant Henson and receiver/cornerback Kam Arnold.
The question is: Can St. Mary’s defense slow down the aerial attack of Western’s quarterback Zach Trainor and receivers Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen and 6-5 Sam Ahern.
Pick: St. Mary’s by 4.
Clarkston (1-2) at No. 9 West Bloomfield (2-1), 7 p.m. Friday: Clarkston has won three Division 1 state championships this decade (2013, ’14, ’17), but has to pull off an upset at West Bloomfield or fall to 1-3 which, would be as many losses in a season since going 7-4 in 2011.
Clarkston has won the last two meetings between the teams, 3-2 in the ’17 state title game at Ford Field, then 28-25 last season, and has an impressive passing combination in sophomore quarterback Mike DePillo and receiver Matt Miller.
But Clarkston has to tighten things up defensively if it plans to stay in the game since four-star junior running back Donovan Edwards has the ability to bust loose for a TD every time he touches the ball.
Pick: West Bloomfield by 8.
No. 11 Warren De La Salle (2-1) at Birmingham Brother Rice (3-0), 7 p.m. Friday: Warren De La Salle has got its running game going at a high level after a Week 1 41-7 loss at Muskegon – now ranked No. 1 in The Detroit News Super 20 – scoring 115 points during the last two games.
De La Salle faces a big challenge in going up against Brother Rice’s strong defense, which has limited opponents to just 10 points all season.
Pick: De La Salle by 7.