Top games: East English is out to prove it can play with the best as it faces King in PSL showdown
Detroit – Rod Oden isn’t surprised by the impressive start of his team. What he is taken aback by is why anyone else would be.
Detroit East English Village Prep (2-0) handled each of its first two opponents easily (Walled Lake Central, Detroit Renaissance) and now Oden’s troops face their biggest challenge – No. 3-ranked Detroit King (2-0).
This is the first of three important games within the Detroit Public School League Division 1. The other two will pit East English against Detroit Cass Tech and Cass Tech against King.
First things first.
East English and King open the PSL Division 1 season on Friday at King at 5 p.m.
“We have a veteran ball club,” Oden said. “We have 10 starters back on offense and eight on defense. We have a good nucleus.
“The running game is our bread and butter. We’re using three backs and they’ve done a good job. But it’s a product of our offensive line.”
The offensive line is a veteran group but there’s just one senior, Chauncey Ghostin. Ghostin also starts at defensive end as does Cedric Lattimore. Lattimore starts at tight end, too. Both committed to Iowa and both are off to fine starts.
“Chauncey is having the best year of the two,” Oden said. “As a blocker he’s pushing people back. As a pass rusher he’s getting double teamed. Lattimore has three touchdown catches and he has the most tackles on the team but it’s Ghostin on the other side who collapses that side of the line.”
Oden said his team can’t make big mistakes, turnovers, major penalties, if they expect to beat King.
“We have to do the fundamentals,” he said. “We can’t give them additional opportunities.”
Both teams have new quarterbacks and Oden and his staff nor King coach Dale Harvel and his want their quarterbacks to decide the outcome.
Offensively, King has experienced most of its success, like East English, running the ball. Upset special: East English by 2.
All games are on Friday at 7 p.m.
Clarkston (1-1) at West Bloomfield (2-0): The Oakland Activities Association is down this season as traditional powers Lake Orion and Clarkston are a combined 1-3. This could be the year West Bloomfield takes the hammer away from these two teams and wins the Red Division title Pick: W. Bloomfield by 7.
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (1-1) at Sterling Heights Stevenson (2-0): Chippewa Valley must regroup after a difficult and, in some respects, disheartening loss to Macomb Dakota last week. Stevenson showed some might last week in defeating Utica Eisenhower. Chippewa Valley has more offensively to offer here. Pick: Chippewa Valley by 6.
East Grand Rapids (2-0) at Caledonia (2-0): The winner will challenge Lowell for the O-K White Division title. This will be the last meeting between these two fine programs for, perhaps, years to come as both schools will move to different divisions within the O-K Conference next season. Pick: Caledonia by 4.
Saline (2-0) at Ann Arbor Skyline (2-0): Division play within the Southeastern Conference begins this week and we find out just how good Skyline is after a much-talked about offseason that saw a number of players transfer in, most notably Daelin Hayes. Skyline is a talented group but the Eagles can’t match the depth of Saline nor do they match up well with Saline quarterback Josh Jackson. Pick: Saline by 8.
Lincoln Park (2-0) at Trenton (2-0): Trenton looks to be the team that could chase Allen Park and Wyandotte Roosevelt for the top two spots in the Downriver League. Despite Trenton’s fine start, Lincoln Park has been the surprise team in this league to this point. Pick: Trenton by 7.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (2-0) at Mishawaka (IN) Penn (3-0): St. Mary’s might not lose a game against a team from Michigan but the Eaglets won’t be favored in this one. Penn led Birmingham Brother Rice 7-0 at halftime before pulling away for a 29-7 victory last week. Pick: Penn by 6.
Rockford (1-1) at Muskegon Mona Shores (2-0): Mona Shores blistered its two opponents (combined score of 110-14) but the Rams present a much more formidable challenge. Rockford’s kicking game and defense should keep the Rams in this one. Pick: Mona Shores by 5.
Portage Central (2-0) at Stevensville Lakeshore (2-0): Add St. Joseph to the mix and these three teams will determine the champion in the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division. These teams have split their last six meetings. Pick: Lakeshore by 5.
Traverse City Central (2-0) at Traverse City West (0-2): West showed promise last week (16-14 loss to Hudsonville) after getting thumped by Midland in the opener. Central hasn’t faced the competition West has. This is seemingly always a close game, and this one should not deviate from that. Pick: West by 3.
Last week’s record: 10-0
Season record: 15-5