With what has been billed as the biggest game of the season, Detroit Martin Luther King (8-0) and Detroit Cass Tech (7-1) definitely didn’t disappoint. After being forced to forfeit the Division 1 City Championship to Cass after a brawl with Detroit Cody, having the DPS Emergency Manager Darnell Earley overturn the decision and being allowed to play the game, then finding out they would be without three (3) key starters, King proved on the field that they deserved to be the City Champions, as they defeated Cass Tech 27-25.
From the opening coin flip, you could see that this game had a lot of bad blood. The captains from both teams stared down each other like they were preparing for a heavyweight title fight. And, boy this game was just that.
After playing the 1st quarter to a 0-0 tie, the Technicians drew first blood as Albert Pace connected on a 26-yard field goal to give Cass Tech a 3-0 lead. The Crusaders immediately countered, as they marched right down the field. Quarterback Armani Posey found an outstretched Dontre Boyd for a 17-yard touchdown pass, Anwar Miah then made the extra point to give King the lead 7-3.
King’s defense stiffened and forced a punt by Cass Tech. The Technician defense returned the favored and forced the Crusaders to punt. That’s when Cass Tech’s return man Donovan Peoples-Jones took a King punt and returned it 44-yards to put Cass Tech up 9-7. They then converted the 2-point conversion as quarterback Rodney Hall took it in himself to put Cass Tech up 11-7.
King showed Cass Tech they were in a slugfest, as the Crusaders again marched down the field. Posey once again found the hands of Boyd on a 2-yard touchdown pass. A missed extra point gave King a 13-11 lead headed into the locker room.
Cass Tech answered the bell early in the 3rd quarter as their Special Teams struck again on a 92-yard kickoff return by Donovan Johnson to put the Technicians back on top 18-13. Not to be outdone, the Crusaders struck right back as Posey found an open LaVert Hill, who took the pass 85-yard to put King in the lead 19-18. Posey then found Donnie Corley in the end zone to complete the 2-point conversion that put King up 21-18.
Cass Tech showed King that they weren’t giving up as Coach Thomas Wilcher and the Technicians decided to go for it on a 4th and 3. Johnson took a pitch from Rodney Hall and scampered 3 yards for a score and the extra point to put the Technicians up once again 25-21. This would be the last time the Technicians would score. King’s running back Kevin Willis put the Crusaders in the lead to stay. Willis plowed 10 yards for a touchdown, another missed the extra point, but the Crusaders were now ahead 27-25.
King’s defense stiffened again as the clock ran down to secure the 27-25 victory for Coach Dale Harvel and the King Crusaders. This was truly an instant classic. After 2 straight years of the Technicians taking home the City Championship over King, the Crusaders finally took their rightful seat on the throne.
Interview with King Head Coach Dale Harvel
Article by: Darin Battle
Photos: Sports Q&A Preps