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Prep Football Roundup — Week 9

Raymond Mitchell

King’s Raymond Mitchell (23) races up field during the PSL Championship Oct. 19 at Ford Field. CHUCK JOHNSON, DPS PHOTO

King wins PSL crown in high-scoring contest, 51-48
Crusaders score 32 straight points in second quarter after trailing 20-0

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

DETROIT — Martin Luther King High won its first PSL Title since 2009 at this year’s Detroit Public School Championship at Ford Field Oct. 19.

The newly crowned champion Crusaders and the defending champions, the East English Village Academy Bulldogs — formerly Finney High — put on a game that kept the sparse but energetic crowd on the edge of their seats.

King, having to overcome a three-touchdown deficit, put on a barrage of scoring plays and held off a scoring charge by the Bulldogs to earn the PSL Crown. Not only did the Crusaders win the PSL Championship, they also earned their sixth win of the season to ensure a berth in this week’s MHSAA State Football Playoffs.

Now 6-3, King had to win last week’s game not only to win the city crown, but also to earn a shot at the state playoffs. A team must win six games to guarantee a berth or risk a chance of not making the post-season state tournament play.

“We’ve been down all year,” said King head coach Dale Harvel. “In fact we’ve been on the bubble all year.

“We had to get back into this game if we wanted to keep playing after this week. The defense began to play in the second quarter. We had to get a couple of stops to enable to do what we did. It was unusual, but we had to do it.”

East English Village, now 7-2, looked like a cinch to beat the Crusaders again as they did in the regular season (34-26). The first quarter belonged to the Bulldogs as senior running back Desmond King, who had 233 yards on 21 carries, scored from three yards out at the 7:34 mark and senior tight end Khalil Hill caught a 53-yard scoring pass from sophomore quarterback Anton Curtis as time expired. Hill also caught the two-point conversion pass. The Bulldogs led 14-0 after one quarter of play.

East English Village made it 20-0 when on second down senior linebacker Abrian Favors sacked King senior quarterback Divan Williams, forcing the ball loose. Bulldog senior defensive tackle Antoine Bedford picked up the fumble and ran in from 28 yards out at the 10:39 mark to make it 20-0 East English Village.

But then the tide began to turn. Junior running back Raymond Mitchell, who had 140 yards on 22 carries, scored on a 11-yard run on the Crusaders next possession at the 9:19 mark to put King on the board (20-6). The game turned into a close contest at the 9:08 mark when senior linebacker Savona Thomas sacked quarterback Curtis of East English forcing a fumble, enabling fellow Crusader senior defensive back James Alexander to return the ball 20 yards to pay dirt making the score 20-12.

The half ended with MLK leading 32-20. In the second half, MLK came out on fire when Williams hit Allen on a 38-yard scoring strike. It was 45-40 after three quarters of play.

There wasn’t any scoring in the first half of the fourth quarter until Mitchell made it 51-40 at the 5:18 mark scoring from two yards out. East English refused to surrender when King scored on a six-yard run and junior receiver Rico Lewis caught a two-point conversion pass to pull the Bulldogs to within three (51-48).

East English attempted a pass in closing seconds but Austin clinched the win for the Crusaders when he intercepted the pass with three seconds left.

“Our kids fought hard,” said East English head coach Rod Oden. “The team that made the least mistakes won. We put up a good fight to get back into the game. They (King) had a good game plan. We now have to get ready for the state (tournament).”

“In 20 years in coaching high school football I never saw a game played like this,” Harvel concluded. “Now we’re in the tournament.”

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