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Detroit King scores twice in second half to knock off Warren De La Salle

By: Jeff Dullack, August 29, 2015, 9:05 pm

Detroit – Knowing the challenge it faced going up against defending Division 2 state champion Warren De La Salle, Detroit Martin Luther King looked to make a statement in its season opener.

Despite getting off to a slow start and trailing 10-0 at halftime, it was key timely plays on offense and its punishing defense that helped the Crusaders hold on for a 12-10 win after a late missed field goal by De La Salle.

Defensively, aside from a 55-yard pass for De La Salle, the King defense was in complete control during the second half, something that King coach Dale Harvel said was keyed by his the defensive line’s ability to slow down the Pilot rushing attack in the second half.

“It made them be aware that we were going to be around and they couldn’t get in a comfort zone throwing the ball,” he said. “Their game is running the football and I think we did a good job of taking what they do well away and they had to go to throwing the football.”

With De La Salle holding a 10-0 lead to start the second half, King turned to Martinez Adams Calloway to help give the Crusaders a spark at the quarterback position.

Calloway made an instant impact as he connected with Ambry Thomas for a 50 yard touchdown in the third quarter to cut the De La Salle lead down to 10-6.

Thomas said that it was a big key for himself and his teammates to help get both Calloway and starting quarterback El Julian Jordan comfortable in the second half.

“Since we knew we had a young quarterback, we had to help get him into the game, throw some short passes,” he said. “Once we got him into his rhythm, we knew we had the ballgame.” 

Thomas would be named the Detroit King MVP for the game as he made three catches for 66 yards and also played a key part in the Crusader’s secondary.

In the fourth quarter, penalty wiped what would have been a long touchdown run by Allen Stritzinger to start the frame and shortly after, King would take its first lead of the game as Calloway scored on a 14-yard touchdown run to put the Crusaders up 12-10 with just over eight minutes left to play.

Harvell said that Calloway gave his team a change of pace and a bit of a spark when he came into the game.

“It was a change of pace,” he said. “He was able to get the ball in the seams and run the read-option and it stretched them (De La Salle) and he got underneath them a couple of times and hurt them it. It was something that we worked on all summer with Martinez.”

On the next De La Salle drive, the Pilots drove inside Detroit King territory, but an interception from Penn State-commit LaVert Hill, his second of the game, gave the Crusaders the ball back with under three minutes left to play.

“I knew they were going to throw the ball to my side,” Hill said of his interception. “So I just got ready, got focused and made a play on the ball and that was what I did.”

Hill’s interception came one play after offsetting penalties wiped out what would have been Donnie Corley’s second interception of the game. King finished the game with three interceptions.

“I thought their play was excellent in the secondary,” Harvell said of his secondary. “But once again, I will say this, it makes it a lot easier for those guys when you can pressure the quarterback and we got good pressure on the quarterback today.”

De La Salle would get the ball back late in the game, but a field goal attempt with just 15 seconds left to play fell just short giving King a win over the defending Division 2 state champions to start the season.

“It means a lot, they’re the defending champs,” Hill said. “We have 13 more games to go to the state championship and we’re just going forward after that.”

The lone touchdown for De La Salle came with 6:06 left to play in the first half when Tru Wilson scored on a 25-yard touchdown run to give the Pilots a 10-0 lead going into halftime.