Novi — “Preseason Peny” is enough of a load, and “PSL Peny” usually runs through league play, but defensive players across the state have come to fear “Playoff Peny.”
Detroit King senior running back Peny Boone showed why he’s off to the Big Ten on Saturday, running through the Birmingham Seaholm defense in a 60-17 victory at Novi High School, sending King to the state finals for the fourth time in five seasons.
“I just get into another mode and start going crazy,” Boone said of his November persona. “Nobody wants to get hit in the cold.”
Boone set the tone early with an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. When all was said and done, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Maryland commit rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries. He added a touchdown pass late for good measure as King (11-2) moved on to Friday’s Division 2 final, where it will meet Muskegon Mona Shores (11-2) at 1 p.m.
“It’s ‘Playoff Peny’ right now, that’s what he’s been doing,” King coach Tyrone Spencer said. “In these playoffs these last two years, he’s been doing a great job and the offensive line has been doing a phenomenal job for him.”
King won Division 2 titles in 2015 and '16, then won the Division 3 title last season. Mona Shores lost in the Division 2 final last season to Warren De La Salle, 29-16.
On Saturday, Mona Shores topped Walled Lake Western, 57-56, as a 2-point conversion with 17 seconds to play was the difference.
In Novi, King’s Marshawn Lee caught a pair of touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Dante Moore, who finished 15-of-18 passing for 274 yards.
King started the season 0-2 after losses to Detroit Catholic Central and Muskegon. Since then, Moore has led King to 11 straight wins.
“He got rolling,” Boone said of Moore. “This is a young group, but we really just had to get together as a team.”
Jaylen Reed ran back an interception for a 56-yard score on the final play of the third quarter to force running clock in the fourth. Justin Whyte caught the touchdown pass from Boone and added a 76-yard rushing touchdown late to close the scoring. He finished with 99 yards on six carries.
Will McBride ran for and caught a touchdown for Seaholm (9-4), which was led by senior Chaz Strecker, who had 169 yards on 29 carries.
But the damage was done early and often by Boone and King, which led 34-3 at halftime before Seaholm scored two of the first three touchdowns of the second half.
“I think we got hit in the mouth early,” Seaholm coach Jim DeWald said. “(Boone) ran through a bunch of tackles. You can’t arm tackle him. He’s a big guy and a great back."
Seaholm reached the state semifinals for the second time and first since 1997. The school did it all running the veer, trying to control the clock and dominate with its offensive line.
“These kids are gritty, tough kids,” DeWald said. “I think they exceeded everyone’s expectations this year. These kids are resilient, they’re fun to coach, they work their tail off, and they’re never out of it.”
Seaholm snapped a seven-game losing streak to crosstown rival Groves in the postseason.
But for Seaholm, there was too much Boone to deal with on Saturday. And so far this fall, there’s been nobody to stop him during his time of year.
“He loves this, he lives for this moment, and he’s doing a great job,” Spencer said. “They don’t like to tackle him. I looked at a couple that are kind of reaching for him. He’s 220, he ain’t 240, but hey, he’s a big load.
“I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.