Detroit — Jaylen Reed and Marshawn Lee came up with big plays to help No. 14 Detroit King defeat Detroit Denby, 27-6, in the Detroit Public School League Division 1 championship game Friday at Renaissance High.
With King freshman quarterback Dante Moore having trouble connecting with his receivers, it was Reed, a four-star junior safety, who forced a fumble on a blind-side sack with King holding a 7-6 lead with two minutes left in the half.
“Jaylen’s been doing it all year, and we needed that," King coach Tyrone Spencer said. "They really didn’t score on our defense."
King (7-2) took advantage of the short field, taking over at the Denby 25 and using a steady diet of Maryland-bound running back Peny Boone. He accounted for all 25 yards on five carries, including a 7-yard touchdown run on a third-and-2 for a 13-6 lead with 28 seconds left in the half.
King had one more shot to add some points in the final seconds after Blake Bailiff picked off a pass at the Denby 42, but Moore’s perfectly thrown ball in the end zone was broken up to end the half.
Moore, who already has offers from Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia and Illinois, connected on 6-of-18 passes in the first half for 82 yards.
King received the second-half kickoff and used a six-minute drive, moving 60 yards and converting a pair of fourth downs.
The first one came when Lee took the snap on a fake punt and picked up the first down at the Denby 49.
“On the fake, we’ve been working on that since the beginning of the season," Lee said. "We really didn’t have an opportunity to use it, had the perfect time to use it tonight and got the first down.”
Then Moore found Lee on a quick slant for a 47-yard TD pass on a fourth-and-8 play to open up a 20-6 lead midway through the third quarter.
“It was a middle screen, it was wide open and thank God I had blockers in front of me," Lee said. "I was able to turn the ball up, make a move on a safety and score."
King defeated Denby, 32-14, in Week 6.
Denby (7-2) struck first midway through the opening quarter, defensive back Keyon Hammond intercepted a Moore pass and returned it 16 yards for a touchdown and 6-0 lead.
Moore came back to give King a 7-6 lead with just under two minutes left in the first when he found Indiana-bound receiver Rashawn Williams for an 11-yard score to cap off a 68-yard drive.
And Moore was impressive during the drive, first finding Boone on a screen pass on third-and-15 for a 17-yard gain and sophomore Lynn Wyche-El on a third-and-long for 14 yards.
Spencer also tossed in a surprise by using Boone out of the Wildcat during the drive and Boone ran for seven yards out of the formation, setting up Moore’s TD pass to Williams.
King had another scoring opportunity midway through the second when it drove to the Denby 34. But Moore’s third-down pass to Boone was dropped before his fourth-down pass was intercepted by LaCraig Shorter at the 24.
Denby tight end/defensive end Latrell Thompkins showed why he will be playing next year at Toledo. He put pressure on Moore while also hauling in a 30-yard pass from Brandon Grimes to the King 32 in the second, only to have the drive stall when Marquez Bridges was sacked for a five-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 from the 23.
King’s defense limited Denby to 65 total yards in the first half, including 25 on the ground on 13 carries.
Denby moved inside the King 35 late in the third quarter, but Grimes’ third- and fourth-down passes fell incomplete.
King took advantage after the stop, with Boone breaking loose down the right sideline for 55 yards to the 1 on the final play of the third quarter. He scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to open up a 27-6 lead.
Allen Park 43, Southgate Anderson 0: Ethan Gajewski was 8-for-13 passing for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and Blake Gillian had seven tackles and one receiving touchdown for Allen Park (7-2, 6-2 Downriver). Anderson is 3-6, 2-6.
Birmingham Brother Rice 51, Detroit Cody 0: Jake Coulter was 9-of-16 passing for 117 yards and three touchdowns, Jaeden Johnson had eight carries for 85 yards and a touchdown, Ben Sacco had a receiving touchdown and Ryan Ervin returned a fumble 33 yards for a score for Brother Rice (6-3). Cody is 1-8.
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley 35, Utica 20: Myren Harris had 22 carries for 217 yards and four touchdowns, and Isaiah French had six tackles, including one for a loss, for Chippewa Valley (9-0). Utica is 3-6.
Dearborn Edsel Ford 35, Taylor 12: Ty Wyka was 7-for-15 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown, while Anthony Marano rushed for 71 yards with a touchdown and had a 45-yard TD catch for Edsel Ford (3-6, 3-5 Downriver). Taylor is 0-9, 0-8.
Detroit Community 38, Mount Clemens 14: Ben Johnson threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns, Mailk Smith had touchdown receptions of 95 and 40 yards, Lovenia Spivey had a 70-yard touchdown catch, Janiyen Thornton scored on a 65 yard reception, and Terrian Ayers and Damone Turner combined for 25 tackles for Community (6-3). Mount Clemens is 4-5.
Harper Woods 55, Dearborn Heights Robichaud 12: Christion Stokes rushed for 200 yards and had three touchdowns, including a 42-yard interception return, Lemuel Watley scored two touchdowns, and Demarious Givens had an 80-yard TD kickoff return for Harper Woods (4-4). Robichaud is 7-2.
Livonia Stevenson 26, Northville 6: Caden Woodall had 15 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns, Ray Kastl finished 13-for-24 passing with 113 yards and a rushing touchdown, and Lucas Kyle added a rushing touchdown for Stevenson (4-5). Northville is 3-6.
Macomb Dakota 49, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North 6: Zach Droski threw three touchdown passes, Caiden Sloan ran for three touchdowns and caught one, Uko Umana had a rushing touchdown, and Matt Love and Clinton Roberson each added a receiving touchdown for Dakota (5-4). North is 3-6.
Riverview 43, Redford Thurston 25: Christian Lopez had seven carries for 101 yards and made 18 tackles on defense, while Ben Johnson had four carries for 94 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a 28-yard interception return for Riverview (7-2). Julius Faulkner was 15-for-25 passing with 242 yards and a touchdown for Thurston (7-2).
Royal Oak Shrine 44, Detroit Old Redford 0: Conor Benson was 16-for-22 passing for 213 yards and two touchdowns, Jacob Sanders had 17 carries for 105 yards and four touchdowns, Anthony Massucci caught nine passes for 89 yards and Charlie Neihaus had four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown for Shrine (7-2). Old Redford is 2-7.
St. Clair Shores Lakeview 37, St. Clair Shores Lake Shore 13: Tristan Witt was 8-of-13 passing for 109 yards and had three total touchdowns, Jude Hage and Isaiah Robinson each had a receiving touchdown, and Jackson Bradley and William Bell each had a rushing touchdown for Lakeview (7-2). Lake Shore is 4-5.
Detroit News staff contributed