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King, East English to battle for PSL East

PSL Championship: King (white jerseys) battle East English Village at last year’s PSL Championship at Ford Field won by King 51-48. CHUCK JOHNSON DPS PHOTOS

PSL Championship: King (white jerseys) battle East English Village at last year’s PSL Championship at Ford Field won by King 51-48. CHUCK JOHNSON DPS PHOTOS

Prep football preview, Pt. 2

Defending champ Crusaders and Bulldogs will pull away from the pack

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

The two squads that clashed in the high scoring 51-48 PSL Final last year at Ford Field are again the top two favorites to fight it out for the PSL East crown this fall. Defending PSL Champion Martin Luther King  Highand runner-up East English Village are expected to dominate the division and make the post-season playoffs.

“I think we should have a pretty good year because we didn’t lose that much according to skill,” said King’s Head Coach Dale Harvel.

Of the 56 Crusaders in uniform, 18 are returning lettermen. Senior Avonte Maddox is one of the tri-captains. Maddox, who runs a 4.38 40 and scored 13 TDs last year, plays multiple positions (Running back, free safety, slot receiver, quarterback). Senior defensive back/receiver Jalen Embry (10 TDs) and senior inside linebacker/defensive end Carl Fuller, a three-year starter, will lead the Crusaders.

King opens the season at home this Friday against Port Huron at 7 p.m.

East English Head Coach Rod Oden is very anxious to get the 2013 season started. The Bulldog’s skipper has a 30-man squad loaded with talent.

“I’m excited about our new group of players,” he said. “We have six starters with experience and a group of young players.”

Junior quarterback Anton Curtis will lead East English on the offensive side of the ball. Curtis rushed and passed for 26 touchdowns last season with 1,250 yards passing and 680 yards rushing. His main target will be senior wide receiver Rico Lewis who caught 47 passes and scored eight TDs for 524 yards.  Sophomore tailback Nathaniel Bowlware will be in the backfield for the Bulldogs. Last year Bowlware scored 23 TDs and rushed for 1,360 yards.

On defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker and defensive end Kamal March ,who had 17 sacks and six blocked punts last year, will lead the defense as well as a trio of sophomore linebackers: middle linebacker Andrew DeMoss and outside linebackers Armani Posey and Malik Lewis.

The Bulldogs will face another team of Bulldogs from Detroit, Loyola, Friday, Aug. 30, at Wayne State at 1 p.m.

Douglass Academy Hurricanes

Frederick Douglass is one of several teams in the PSL East with new coaches, players and directions. After two years as an assistant coach, Leonard Holmes has now risen as the new head coach for the Hurricanes. With only three returning starters from last year’s squad that made the state playoffs, Holmes, who also coached 20 years at East Catholic, said his 30-man squad will be competitive in the PSL East.

“Our plan is to play football to our ability,” Holmes said. “Almost everyone is new because some of the players left because last year’s coach left the school.

“I think we’ll be okay because there are things these kids can do. Our kids will play multiple positions, a sort of ‘on the job training’.”

One of the key returners for the Douglass Academy will be senior wide receiver/defensive back Kollef Perkins who played last year as a defensive end, leading the team in quarterback sacks. Other returners are junior linebacker/fullback William Butler, sophomore linebacker/guard Kamar Graves and senior linebacker/running back Marquise Poole. Three players from the Ben Carson School of Math & Science are also on this year’s roster.

The Hurricanes will play at Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7p.m.

Denby Tars

Tony Blankenship, another first year coach, takes over a squad of 27 players and is relying on four returning starters from last year to help Denby get in gear this fall to stay in step with the PSL East ‘three’: King, East English and Douglass.

“We have a mixture of quality players. We have some veteran players and some mature younger players. If the four key players have good leadership we’ll have a good season,” says Blankenship

The four key returners are senior middle linebacker Shawn Murphy who led the Tars in tackles last year, senior quarterback Raynard Lewis, junior defensive tackle/guard Kris Magnum and senior defensive end and offensive tackle Keonna Vandergraf.

Denby will play at Henry Ford on Friday, Aug. 30 at 5:30 p.m.

Southeastern  Jungaleers

Working on structure and organization, the new head coach and athletic director for Southeastern, Terrence Wilson, is rebuilding the Jungaleers from the ground up with a small, but cohesive nucleus.

“We cleared up a lot of academic and discipline problems,” said the former St. Martin DePorres and Concordia University standout. “We’re not worried much about this season because we have to take care of our in-house,” Wilson said. “We have a small group of kids we can trust. I’ll also have a coaching staff of strong moral values. We’re pushing discipline because we were lacking that.”

Wilson has seven returning players out of a squad of 30, which has 17 juniors. Anchoring the offensive line will be senior center/defensive end Deonjae Jones. Senior Will Williams will play multiple offensive positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and safety, while junior Quintez Stokes will be in his first season at starting QB. Junior running back/corner back Brandon Mitchell, who had 40 tackles last year, is also back for Southeastern.

“I really know that King and East English is the top of the crop,” Wilson said. “We want to be in the mix. Our junior class will be our best one next season.”

Southeastern travels to Monroe for its first contest on Friday, Aug. 30 at 7p.m.

Osborn Knights

Hoping to climb out of the basement of the PSL East, Knights’ head coach George Coker has 14 returning players on this year’s 25-player squad. With that type of experienced players, the Osborn skipper hopes to get a few more wins this season.

“We’re excited because were deep at the skilled positions,” Coker said. “We’re a little shallow on the line.

“We’re hungry for the season to get started. This is a coachable group which is the most important point.”

Leading the army of Knights will be senior quarterback/linebacker Martez Jemison, junior wide receiver/safety Shayshone Bonner, junior quarterback/defensive end DeJon Johnson, and junior wide receiver/cornerback DeAndre May.

The Knights face Western International at Mumford on Saturday, Aug 31 at 2 p.m.

Pershing Doughboys

Former Pershing High and Syracuse standout Antonio Johnson knows he has his work cut out for him as he takes over a squad of only 20 players on this year’s Doughboys squad. It might be a long season for the school located on East Seven Mile and Ryan.

“A lot of kids were dropping like flies,” he said. “We’re struggling through the rebuilding stage.

The last coach resigned last year with three games left in the season which might explain our current situation. We have an inexperienced team that is part of our rebuilding program.”

The players hoping to keep the Doughboys heads up will be senior defensive tackle/center Javon Thomas, senior running back/defensive back Shawn Kinnard, senior defensive back/running back Jalen Tice and junior DB/RB Fred Roberts.

The Doughboys will travel to Romulus to play the Eagles on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m.

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