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Predictions for the Top Games: Detroit PSL teams take on out-of-state powers

By: Tom Markowski, August 23, 2017, 12:25 pm

Detroit – Remember in 2007 when Detroit King won not only its first state title but the first title by any team from the Detroit Public School League?

Good. At least you’re following me so far.

Now, remember when King lost in a state final in back-to-back seasons (Class A in 1989, Class AA in 1990)? That could be a stretch for some of you.

No matter. It’s there in the record books.

The point is the PSL has come a long way. Known as a league with great players but not-so-great teams for years that label has been torn off. Much of the credit goes to James Reynolds, the head coach of those King teams in the late 1980s and 1990s, and the coach who broke through those barriers in 2007.

Let’s jump ahead to the 2000s. In 2008 and ’09 Detroit Southeastern reaches the Division 1 regional finals but can’t bust loose to the semifinals.

In 2010 Detroit Cass Tech reaches its first semifinal but loses a tough one, 24-21, to Lake Orion. From this point on Cass Tech becomes the dominant team in Division 1 winning title in 2011, ’12 and ’16, losing in the final in ’15 and reaching the semifinals in ’13 and ’14.

Add to this King’s Division 2 titles the past two seasons and semifinal appearances in 2011 and ’13, and the tables have turned. Now it’s the PSL teams setting the bar.

How far has this league come? Look at Cass Tech’s and King’s opponents to open the season. Neither is playing a team from Michigan the first two weeks. Cass Tech opens Thursday against Pickerington (OH) Central at the Glass Bowl in Toledo and then hosts Chicago Simeon on Sept. 1. King takes on Indianapolis Cathedral, one of the top teams in Indiana, on Saturday at Wayne State then plays at Toledo Central Catholic on Sept. 1.

Cass Tech and King won’t play a top suburban team or one from the Detroit Catholic League until the state playoffs. Until then they have everyone guessing just how good they are.

Cass Tech vs. Pickerington Central: Pick: Pickerington by 3.

King vs. Cathedral: Pick: King by 2.

Other top games

Rockford vs. Saline at Michigan Stadium, Thu., 4: Here’s a vote for Saline’s defense to pressure quarterback Jason Whittaker. Pick: Saline by 6.

Walled Lake Western vs. West Bloomfield at Wayne State, Thu., 4 p.m.: The scoreboard operator will be busy. Pick: W. Bloomfield by 3.

Dearborn Divine Child at Benton Harbor, Fri., 7: This could be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. Divine Child has quarterback Theo Day (Michigan State commit) and Benton Harbor is said to be improved. Pick: Divine Child by 4.  

Detroit Country Day at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Fri., 7: My guess is the offenses will be better prepared than what we saw in the 2016 Division 4 final. Pick: Catholic Central by 6.

Jackson Lumen Christi at Grand Rapids West Catholic, Fri., 7: Two defending state champions kick off the season in grand style. West Catholic has shown more consistency over the last half dozen years. Pick: W. Catholic by 7.

Iron Mountain at Ishpeming, Fri., 7: Here are two programs familiar with state playoff success. Ishpeming has had the upper hand recently. Pick: Ishpeming by 8.

Canton vs. Muskegon Mona Shores at U-M, Sat., noon: Interesting contrast in styles. What is similar is the fact that both teams like the run the ball. Pick: Canton by 2.

Oak Park vs. Utica Eisenhower at Wayne State, Sat., 3 p.m.: Oak Park decides this game on the line of scrimmage. Pick: Oak Park by 4.