Detroit King continues to heal in wake of coach’s death
Detroit – It’s been a difficult week for the people associated with the program at Detroit King and for all of the programs within the Detroit Public School League.
The death of King coach Dale Harvel last week has left many in a state of shock and for players like senior Cepeda Phillips the healing process has begun but is far from over.
Phillips and other members of the King program participated in the inaugural Prep Kickoff Classic Fowling Tournament held at the Fowling Warehouse in Detroit on Wednesday. It was the PKC’s way of saying thank you to the 14 teams which will participate in the 11th annual PKC to be held Aug. 25-27 at Wayne State University.
Players and coaches from these teams were invited to compete in a fowling tournament and share in a bit of friendly competition before the official start of practice on Aug. 8.
Harvel was a longtime assistant coach at King under James Reynolds and took over for Reynolds in 2009. King won the Division 2 title last season and finished 14-0. Harvel suffered a heart attack and died last Friday after his team participated in a 7-on-7 tournament.
Phillips, a linebacker and fullback, was scheduled to travel to Kent, Ohio, that day in anticipation of giving Kent State a verbal commitment and did not partake in the 7-on-7 games.
“It was difficult for me,” Phillips said. “I was at home and resting, and I heard some of my family, like, whispering. I got up and went into the living room and asked what was going on. I’ve been with coach since the 10th grade. He was the program. Nothing went without his saying so.
“You lose him, you lose a piece of everything.”
Grief counselors were at King earlier this week and Phillips said it helped him and his teammates cope.
“It comes down to team bonding,” he said. “The team has to get together. We have to communicate. We’ve all got to talk to each other.”
The healing process continues on Friday with the viewing of the body at Clora Funeral Home from 4-8 p.m. The funeral home is located at Mound Road and 7 Mile in Detroit. The funeral is planned for Saturday.
Cass Tech star focuses on winning, not recruiting
Donovan Peoples-Jones is one of the most sought-after players in the country and don’t look for him tipping his hand as to where he will attend college in 2017.
Peoples-Jones is a 6-1, 185-pound receiver, defensive back and kick returned for Detroit Cass Tech, and he’s received a plethora of scholarship offers from what amounts to a Who’s Who of college programs.
“I can’t remember all of the schools that offered me,” he said on Wednesday at the PKC event. “I don’t want to say who’s in my top 10. I’m afraid I’ll leave somebody out.
“I’m here to have fun with my teammates. It’s competition. I’m just enjoying time with my teammates.”
Peoples-Jones said his focus was on winning a state championship and not recruiting. He did say he could make his decision as early as December.
Among those that have offered him a scholarship include Michigan, Michigan State, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame Ohio State, Southern California and Stanford.
Allen Park’s new coach pumped up for the season.
Tom Danosky has come full circle as a member of the Allen Park football program. He was the starting quarterback on the 1996 team, Tom Hoover’s first as a head coach. In 2002 Danosky joined the staff at Allen Park and for the past eight seasons has been the offensive coordinator calling plays with Hoover.
This past spring Hoover resigned as head coach and Danosky was named as his replacement.
“We met over spring break,” Danosky recalls. “Tom and I had breakfast like we always do and then he dropped it on me. I thought he’d be coaching for another five years.”
Hoover resigned because of health reasons and he wanted to make sure, in all his powers, that Danosky was the guy who replaced him. Just as Ed Bellas, the head coach before Hoover at Allen Park, did with Hoover 20 years ago.
“It’s humbling,” Danosky said. “I’ve always looked up to (Hoover). Heck, I got to play for Eddie and Hoover.
“I’m very excited. He’s been telling me for years. I’m next. It’s strange. I’m excited for the challenge. I love the tradition and want to carry it on. The cupboard isn’t bare. Just like Bellas, Hoover said he would never leave the cupboard bare when he left.”
Bellas did leave Hoover with talent. That ’96 team reached a Class BB semifinal. This season Allen Park returns eight starters on both sides of the ball and will be a strong contender for the Downriver League title.
One of those returning starters is Tyler Beachnau, a senior captain who is expected to start at safety and receiver.
“I was definitely surprised when (Hoover) left,” Beachnau said. “I understand. He has a lot going on.
“We always have high expectations at Allen Park, especially this year. Our athleticism is really good. Even our linemen get around well. And we all have high football IQs. We know how it works.”