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Cass Tech holds off Saline, 21-14

State Football Regional
Big plays on defense helps Technicians defeat Hornets

By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen


Damon Webb

SAVES THE GAME: Cass Tech’s Damon Webb made the play of the game as he intercepted a Saline pass in the closing seconds as Cass Tech held off Saline High in a MHSAA Regional Championship Nov. 9 at Saline High. The Technicians play at Lake Orion Nov. 17. CHUCK JOHNSON, DPS PHOTOS

“We kind of fell apart last week against Dearborn,” Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher said.

“The keys this week were the big plays the defense made and we ran the ball hard on offense.

“I liked the way the defense played this week. They stayed relentless and worked hard. It’s great to make it through the regional. I’m just glad to get the win to move onto next week.”

Cass Tech never trailed in the contest. They jumped ahead when junior running back Deon Drake capped a 98-yard scoring drive with a 19-yard run with 2:30 left in the first quarter.

The PAT by senior Ken Snapp made it 7-0 Technicians after one quarter of play.

Saline, unable to move the ball with conventional plays against the Cass Tech defense, went to a few razzle-dazzle plays in the second quarter. The Hornets moved the ball down to the Technicians’ five with eight minutes left in the half, ran into a brick wall defense and had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by senior Greg Hammond. Cass tech led 7-3 at the half.

The Cass Tech offensive line started to show its stuff as it pushed the Hornet defense down the field in the third quarter. The Technicians offense began to jell as they marched down the field to pay dirt. Sophomore Mike Weber (19 carries, 169 yards, two touchdowns) capped the drive running through Saline defenders on a17-yard touchdown at the 6:49 mark of the third period. Cass Tech led 14-3 through three quarters of play.

But the Hornets never gave up and came out throwing to start the fourth quarter. On third and six with 9:21 left to play, senior quarterback Tyler Palka raced 40 yards to score Saline’s first touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion pass made it 14-11. Cass Tech’s offense drove down the field on its next possession, but lost the ball on downs at the Saline 26.

That’s when the Technicians defense took charge.

Cass Tech forced a fumble and recovered it on the Hornets 16 with 4:30 to play. The Technicians hit pay dirt with 2:54 to play when Weber scored from four yards out. Cass Tech extended its lead to 21-11. But the Hornets weren’t through as they drove to the Cass Tech five with 2:00 left.

The Technicians defense once again held tight. They stopped Saline on third and goal with 1:10 remaining, forcing the Hornets to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Hammond.

With the score now 21-14, Saline got the ball back on the Cass Tech 46 via an onside kick with 55 seconds to play to try to tie the game to force overtime or win the game on a two-point play.

However, Cass Tech junior Damon Webb had other plans. With 39 seconds left, the Technicians corner intercepted the pass to end the game and give Cass Tech its third regional crown in a row.

“I knew they were going deep so I made a break to the ball,” Webb said. “This is why I play the game.

“This week we stayed to our assignments and did what the coaches told us to do. I’m looking forward to next week.”

“When I play football I run hard and just play,” said Weber. “We have one more week before Ford Field.”

Cass Tech travels to Lake Orion High on Nov. 17 in the MHSAA Division 1 Semi-final. Game time is TBA.

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