20 YEARS OF STATE CHAMPS! 20 STATE CHAMPIONS SERIES: 2003 Detroit Deporres
Detroit — The storied Detroit St. Martin DePorres football program won the last of its 12 state championship in 2003. The Catholic School located on Detroit’s upper Westside closed its doors two years later, shuttering an athletic powerhouse in multiple sports that produced multiple pro football and basketball players.
The 2003 DePorres gridiron gang was loaded with elite playmakers, led by brother wide receivers David and Carl Grimes. David went on to play at Notre Dame and the NFL. He played on the practice squads for the NFL’s Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Carl played at Michigan State.
The man who was at the helm of the DePorres club for its final four state-title runs, Greg Carter, thinks back fondly on the program’s last crown 19 years ago.
“Wow, that team had so many big-time performers, those guys were dogs, just everything you want in a group of competitors going to battle for you,” Carter said. “They embodied the De Porres winning spirit and culture. They were always up to the challenge, no matter what it was or how hard it was. That’s what DePorres football was all about.”
Carter was mentored by the Godfather of DePorres football, Ron Thompson, responsible for the program’s first eight state championships. He took the reins from Thompson in 1994 after 16 years as his top assistant.
“The DePorres football connection is a special bond, a fraternity of champions,” Carter said. “That legacy never dies. We take it with us wherever we go, the same values, the same traditions, the same principles. It’s served as the foundation for everything I’ve done since in the coaching profession.”
Carter is the head football coach and athletic director at Oak Park High School these days. Before he arrived at Oak Park, he guided Inkster to three appearances in the Division 3 state finals between 2005 and 2010. Much of Carter’s staff at Inkster and now at Oak Park are former DePorres guys.
“We talk about what we did at DePorres every time we can, we keep the legacy alive by continuing to teach the lessons imparted on us there and preaching the fundamentals of football and life on a daily basis,” Carter said,
Carter’s 2003 championship DePorres team finished 12-2 and beat Beal City 20-9 in the Division 8 state finals. The rest of the DePorres titles were won in Division 7 or the old Class C bracket.
David Grimes and Daryl Graham clinched the state crown for DePorres with touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback Carlos Simpson hit Grimes for an 88-yard score and Graham (Wayne State-Michigan Tech) ran in his second touchdown of the day with less than 90 seconds left on the clock to put a bow on the championship. Simpson (Cincinnati-Jackson St.) threw for 125 yards and rushed for another 100 in the game. Defensive ends Terrance Thomas (Indiana) and Dominique Ware (Michigan) each recorded a sack.