Cass Tech usurps PSL throne from King
PSL Championship at Ford Field
By Harry M. Anderson, Jr.
Special to the Michigan Citizen
There’s an old saying “Don’t believe the hype.” But during the PSL Championship on Oct. 25 at Ford Field, the hype was believable.
Billed as the “battle of the un-beatens,” the championship game between the defending PSL Champions, the Martin Luther King Crusaders, and the two-time defending state champions, the Cass Tech Technicians, gave the small, but zealous and boisterous crowd what they came to see: an outstanding football contest between two squads of young gladiators playing for the pride of their schools, while marching bands from both schools electrified the game.
Although the game had some offensive sparks on both sides of the ball, it was defense that determined the outcome. Three straight sacks by the Cass Tech defense enabled the Technicians (9-0) to defeat the Crusaders (7-1) in a hard fought 20-14 match up. It was the Technicians’ first PSL title since 2010.
“Our team came to play,” said Cass Tech Head Coach Thomas Wilcher. “I liked the gallant effort of our team because they stepped it up tonight. We kept stalling out and we had to make some changes, (but) our team kept the tempo up.” Wilcher praised quarterback Jayru Campbell for making great calls.
“This is the first PSL Title we’ve won since I’ve been here as a student,” said Campbell. “I find it a great accomplishment.”
Both teams had good offensive drives in the first quarter; the defense bent, but never broke, keeping the game scoreless after one quarter of play.
The game remained scoreless in the second quarter, until King running back Raymond Mitchell fumbled on the Crusaders’ 49. Cass Tech quickly recovered the ball. The Technicians capitalized on the turnover and scored first when running back Mike Weber raced 42 yards to the end zone off a draw play. The point-after kick by Robert Holmes gave Cass Tech a 7-0 lead.
The Technicians then made it 14-0 in the same quarter when Campbell fired a 71-yard scoring strike to freshman wide receiver Donovan People-Jones.
But nine seconds later, King quarterback James Speight rallied his fellow Crusaders and fired a 65-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Avonte Maddox. Their two-point conversion attempt failed, giving Cass Tech a lead of 14-6 going into half-time.
In the third quarter, Cass Tech extended its lead to 20-6 when Campbell threw a 17-yard scoring strike to tight end Christopher McDaniel. But Speight responded by rallying his troops again and fired 63-yard strike to wide receiver Omari McCauley. The two-point conversion pass to fullback Tyriq Thompson made it a 20-14 contest.
After all the offensive fireworks, the defenses of both teams took over in the scoreless fourth quarter. King stopped an offensive threat by Cass Tech when they recovered a fumbled on their own 28. Two minutes later, the Technicians stifled a Crusaders scoring opportunity when Damon Webb intercepted a King pass.
“I was very impressed with our defense,” said King Head Coach Dale Harvel. “We’re not going to let this loss get the best of us because we’re going to get ready for the state (Division II) playoffs.”
“I feel great winning the PSL Title,” said Cass Tech’s Peoples-Jones. “This win will give us motivation for the state playoffs and a chance at a three-peat.” Since the two teams are in different divisions, both will have an opportunity to compete in the state play-offs.
Campbell said he was happy with the win, but feels they have a lot a work to do as a team for the state (Division I) playoffs.
“We came out flat and we should’ve played harder,” he said. “We didn’t play our game because our play was average. But it’s great to get the ‘W.’ We’ve got to get better for the state playoffs.”