King runs past Ypsilanti Lincoln, 55-14, will play De La Salle in D2 semifinals
Detroit – There doesn’t seem to be much difference between this Detroit King team and the ones that won state titles in 2015 and ’16.
The constants are a stingy defense and the big-play capability of the offense.
The one difference could be subtle to some, obvious to others.
Coach Tyrone Spencer decided to make a change following the Detroit Public School League semifinal victory over Detroit Cass Tech on Oct. 14.
“We’re running the ball better,” Spencer said. “The last two years we really didn’t run it that well. We’ve committed to it. We committed to it after the Cass Tech game. That’s what we did and the offense, not just the line, committed to running the ball. We have (Dequan) Finn back there at quarterback and we have him running it more, too.”
King has never played better this season since Spencer and his team made that commitment. Friday’s game against Ypsilanti Lincoln (9-3) was yet another example. King rushed for 330 yards spread among four different ball carriers, including Finn, as the Crusaders defeated Lincoln, 55-14, in a Division 2 region final at King.
King (11-1) will play Warren De La Salle (10-2) in a semifinal either next Friday or Saturday at a site to be determined. De La Salle trailed Oak Park, 7-0, before coming back to win, 14-7.
Jalen Jackson, King’s top running back, saw limited action but still had 104 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries. He also scored on an 80-yard kickoff return. Shondel Hardnett had six carries for 34 yards, Finn had 66 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, all in the first half, and senior Qaadir Ali made most of his second-half opportunities as he had seven carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns.
Not to be overlooked was the play of King’s defense. Lincoln was held to 124 yards in the first half as King led 34-7. The only touchdown King allowed in the second half was on an interception return.
Finn, a junior, also had fine game throwing the ball before being removed in the third quarter. He was 9-of-17 passing for 104 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
“I liked the way the offense line executed,” Finn Said. “They dominated. Playing at home, we use it to our advantage but we can play anywhere.
“For me, I’m controlling the offense better. I know what to do and what not to do.”
Lincoln senior quarterback Cam Thompson played well at times. He rushed 13 times for 89 yards and was 4-of-11 passing for 47 yards.
“I was impressed with the way we played,” Spencer said. “I was concerned with their quarterback. He’s electric. Our guys fought through it all. Our game plan was to get the ball out of his hands. We have a team, a good mix of kids. We have seniors, juniors and sophomores all contributing.”