Martin Luther King versus Cass Tech: A rivalry divides the Drake household

The state of Michigan is known to have its share of rivalries:

Ford versus General Motors

The Motown sound versus Techno

Michigan Wolverines versus Michigan State Spartans

But perhaps the most talked about rivalry in the city of Detroit is between two high schools: Martin Luther King and Cass Tech.

When these two schools meet on Friday October 25th at Ford Field for the 2013 Detroit Public School football championship,  there will be one family, the Drake’s, with rooting interest on both sides of the stadium.

On one side you have Deon Drake Sr. and his wife Keisha Drake both alumnus of Detroit Martin Luther King Jr. High School and on the other their children: senior star linebacker Deon Drake Jr. and younger sister Diamond who both are current students at Cass Technical High School.

Even if you did not attend either school but lived in Metro Detroit, you understand the longstanding hatred dislike between the schools and may be wondering, why would a King Crusader allow his children to become Cass Technicians?

For Drake Sr. the reason was simple; Academics.

In choosing a high school for the younger Drake, Deon Sr. initially took his son to the school where he was a 1994 graduate and member of the Crusader football program; but with the school in transition academically, he and his wife felt that the level of education was not the same as when they attended the school 19 years ago — So sending his son to attend Cass Tech was an easy choice, even though it was his rival school.

The decision on and off the field seems to have been the right one. The Technician football program has won consecutive Division 1 state titles and the schools and the strong academic foundation put Deon Jr. in the position to be offered athletic scholarships by high academic programs like Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse and Michigan State.

This past summer the younger Drake committed to play at Michigan State and his father referenced MSU Head Coach Mark Dantonio’s blue-collar mentality as one of the primary reasons he felt comfortable sending his son to play for im for the next four seasons.

Even though it pains him to stand on the Cass sidelines and have to root against his own school this Friday, Deon Sr. understands how big of an opportunity this is for his son to end his PSL career on a high note.

Except for two games most of this season was spent recovering from an ACL injury — so for his son to be able to come back and potentially have an impact in such an important game, he is willing to set aside his Crusader allegiance… but not for too much longer.

He has already jokingly mentioned the upon his son graduation he will be burning all Technician apparel he currently owns and has no problem proudly letting the Technician coaches know that he is a Crusader.

He is also looking forward to painting his son’s room a more appropriate black and gold color– It currently is green and white and at the request of his son will probably have to stay that way considering the Spartans colors are the same.

Even if he can’t redecorate the room like he wants, if the elder Drake’s prediction for another King victory comes true again (he correctly predicted that they would beat Cass in the 2012 city semi-finals) he and his wife will be able to enjoy spoils of a King victory which could include extra chores or late night water runs by the children.

However if Drake Jr. and his Cass teammates are able to capture the city championship, the elder Drake’s only way of escaping the ridicule of his children reminding him of this loss may be on his deathbed — and even then he may not be able to avoid hearing that dreaded “CT fire up” chant.

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