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Cass Tech wins seventh consecutive district title with 24-7 win over Dearborn

By: Ben Szilagy, November 4, 2016, 10:31 pm

Dearborn — Getting automatically penciled into the state finals to start the playoffs is nice, but it also takes winning a district championship to get there.

Detroit Cass Tech took another step towards returning to the state finals with a 24-7 win over Dearborn to claim its seventh straight district title.

“We played a rough game. We didn’t execute on plays that we should have. We had some fumbles today that we don’t normally drop, and gave Dearborn a lot of momentum at times,” senior Rodney Hall said

”I didn’t play well. We all didn’t play up to par. We have to get better because we’re living week-by-week now. This is one goal, but the overall goal is that state championship. “

Tech (11-0) and its defense paved to way early to give the Technicians a short field to start drives near midfield the entire first half.

After a 30-yard field goal by senior Luis Borjas for a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, senior linebacker Jordan Lewis once again gave CT a short field forcing Michael Phillips to throw his first interception of the season.

“Kids are trying to make plays, and they’re playing hard to put themselves in that position,” Wilcher said.

Hall marched his offense down the field with the help of a 49-yard pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones who brought the ball to the Dearborn 17 yard line after a spinning forward for 20 additional yards.

Four plays later sophomore Jaren Mangham dove over the pile for a 10-0 lead with 8:51 left in the second quarter. Hall added to the lead, 17-0, two drives later after he kept the ball on the read-option for a 1-yard score.

“He runs the ball better than he did. He’s reads on the option are great, and the way he hides the ball has improved,” Wilcher said of his quarterback’s development. “We need to get the ball into our playmaker’s hands to be balanced. We need to make sure that percentage is there going forward.”

Dearborn (9-2) hung tough and played inspired to start the second half as its defense recovered a fumble to give the Pioneers a short field.

Their leader, senior quarterback Michael Phillips, provided the lone Dearborn score, 17-7 on a one-yard touchdown run with 9:44 left in the third quarter.

“I love this group of kids, and I’m going to miss this group,” Dearborn coach John Powell said. “Mike is going to be one of the legendary quarterbacks here for a long time. He broke the school record for touchdowns in a season, he’s 22-8 as a starter, and he leaves behind him a great legacy.

“You’re never happy to lose. But losing to these guys, and what they have is tough. We weathered the storm as best as we could. The offense moved the ball, and we fought hard.”

Cass Tech has a methodical drive on the ensuing possession that drained the clock, and the will of the Pioneers. Hall earned his second touchdown of the game on a one yard run with 4:43 left in the quarter for a 24-7 lead.

Cass Tech will face Saline in the regional final next week.