House of Champions, Divided

In the city of Detroit there is one topic that divides the city:

Which school is better Cass Tech or Martin Luther King?

There are numerous angles to take in approaching the answer, but the current criteria is on the football field. This Friday Cass Tech and King battle once again for supremacy at Ford Field at 7:00 pm. The two most recognized and distinguished programs in the city will answer the question this year on the field, but in the Sanders household the answer is always debatable.


Chris Sanders, a DE on King’s State Championship team in 2007, played under the defensive coordinator and current head coach Dale Harvel. Leading by example as great big brothers do, one would think his younger brother Brian would follow in his footsteps and become a Crusader, but that wasn’t the case nor did it surprise Chris. “I knew once he told me in the 7th grade he was considering Cass, I knew it was going to be Cass”, Chris admitted in our interview. When asked if he rooted for or against his brother while he played at Cass, Chris simply prayed for no injuries to his former teammates or his brother. He did however root for King in 2012 when a win against Cass in the city semifinals would have clinched a state playoff berth after starting the season 0-3.(King won that game 44-13)


Brian, also a defensive end, stated academics and the relationship with one of the Cass coaches as the deciding factors in him attending Cass. Once Brian told his teammates his brother was a former Crusader he caught some flack, but that experience also gave him an insight none of his fellow Technicians had. Brian declared,

“I saw what a great team was by him(Chris) playing on a state championship team…and I knew from watching him that we had the pieces to be that team and win a couple of state titles.”

And they did just that winning back to back championships becoming the first Detroit Public School League team to win a Division 1 title. Brian is currently a Red-Shirt Freshman at Bowling Green State University.

Championship Rings

The biggest question that surrounds both these programs are there championships. The questions aren’t based om the legitimacy of the championships, but rather which carried more weight in the city. Detroit King was the 1st Detroit Public School League team to play for a State Championship(1990 & 1991) as well as the first to win a Division II State Championship (2007). Cass Tech on the other hand was the 1st Detroit Public School League team to win a Division I Championship and then repeated the feat the next year. (2011 & 2012). Who better to settle the debate than the Sanders brothers.

When posed with the question Chris feels the King Championship, because

“there was always speculation that PSL teams weren’t disciplined enough to win state championships, what our team did showed that wasn’t true…also, you can’t beat perfection, we went 14-0! Anybody that stood up got knocked down!”

Surprisingly, Brian held a similar sentiment hesitantly revealing,

“Honestly…I would have to say it was King winning the first state title. In my eyes a lot of kids coming out of Detroit PAL they went to Orchard Lake, Brother Rice and Catholic Central. Once King won their state title it kind of made parents and little league coaches realize that, Hey there are inner city schools that are just as disciplined and they can win a state title and do the same thing.”

Both Sanders brothers seem to have grasped the true meaning of this rivalry and how much it means to football in the Detroit area. Chris and Brian did adamantly disagree on one major point, the winner of the 2014 City Championship. Both proud alums are sticking with their alma mater to most importantly give them bragging rights for the next year.

Who do you think will win the City Championship?

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