• Michigan


By: SCOTT BURNSTEIN, October 20, 2022, 10:48 am


Detroit — The glass ceiling for the Detroit PSL on the gridiron was finally broken in 2007 by the Detroit King Crusaders.

Coached by Jim Renyolds, the ’07 King team went 14-0 and rallied to bump off Midland 47-21 in the Division 2 state championship game to give the Crusaders the long talent-rich PSL’s first state football title. The legendary and revered Reynolds, the PSL’s winningest football coach ever, died in December 2020 at age 75.
Reynolds had previously taken back-to-back teams to the state finals in 1989 and 1990, but the Crusaders fell in both contests to Muskegon and Detroit Catholic Central. The 2007 squad got an injection of playmaking magic courtesy of a rival school’s shuttering in the months before the season kicked off.
More specifically, King benefited greatly from the addition of future NFL defensive end/linebacker Nick Perry (USC), who came over to the program because Detroit Mackenzie had suddenly closed in the spring and was one of the elite sack masters in MHSAA history. King credited Perry with 150 tackles and 36 sacks that season.
“Nick was the missing piece,” said all-state running back Darrin Williams at the time in an interview with The Detroit Free Press. “He knew what he was walking into. He knew our roster and knew he was going to do what he’s come here and done.”
Williams rushed for almost 3,000 yards that season before going on to play in college at Cincinnati. Perry played six seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He was the Packers’ first-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Perry posted 7 tackles in the state finals against Midland. Williams busted up the Midland defense for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Donovan Dickerson threw for 176 yards and a pair of scores, including a 29-yard touchdown strike to receiver Flenard Whitfield that vaulted King into a lead (28-21) it wouldn’t look back from on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. His interception for a score at the end of the third quarter knotted the high-intensity affair at 21-21.
Dickerson played for Morgan State at the college level. Whitfield was a basketball star at King and continued his hoops journey in college for Western Michigan.
Mackenzie head coach Leonard Cry jumped to King as well that season, rejoining Renyolds coaching staff after having served as an assistant at King earlier in his career. Cry brought with him Perry and four other former Mackenzie starters for King’s 2007 run to the crown.
Dale Harvel was Renyolds’ defensive coordinator and his coaching proved integral in cultivating Perry’s punishing play in his only year in the program. Harvel went on to succeed Renyolds as the Crusaders’ head coach and won two state championship of his own prior to falling victim to a fatal heart attack during a summer workout with his team in 2016.