DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL: Cass Tech emerges as repeat offender by downing Catholic Central
Technicians become first PSL school to win back-to-back state titles
BY DAN STICKRADT
DETROIT — In what was originally deemed as a an upset, Detroit Cass Tech made a statement last season by pounding perennial powerhouse Novi Detroit Catholic Central, 49-13, for its first Division 1 football state championship.
The eighth-ranked Technicians (12-2) validated their effort of 2011 by winning their second straight D-1 state title Saturday with another resounding, 36-21, victory over Catholic Central.
“I think my guys stepped up, did what they are supposed to do,” smiled Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher. “We put in the work and this is what you expect when you put in the time.”
Cass Tech captured became the first Detroit PSL school to ever win back-to-back state championships and the Technicians have now solidified themselves as the gold standard team in the City of Detroit and as a state powerhouse as well.
The Technicians played in their third straight Final Four.
“My mindset going in was to get off to a fast start and capitalize on mistakes,” said Wilcher. “Plus we had the city behind us. A lot of people had our backs.”
CC, which squeaked into the postseason at 5-4 and was the final at-large school in the D-1 field by a small margin, could never gain momentum. The Shamrocks, making their 15th all-time appearance in the state finals, simply could not contain Cass Tech’s big-play offense and overall team speed.
“It’s hard to (simulate) that type of speed in practice,” said CC coach Tom Mach. “We knew that they were fast and we tried not to let them utilize that speed. But they have some tremendous athletes on that team. They are a very talented football team.
“We knew going in from last year that we couldn’t make mistakes,” continued Mach. “And we did. We found ourselves in a hole and had to get out (of the hole).”
Cass Tech (12-2) never trailed, scoring twice in the opening frame to grab a 12-0 lead. Jourdan Lewis snagged an 89-yard pass from Jaru Campbell to open the scoring with 9:31 left in the first quarter, while Kenton Gibbs scooped up a fumble and returned it 58 yards for six more points with 7:25 left in the period.
Both extra points missed the mark.
“I think from my kids’ standpoint, we knew we had to get a fast start,” said Wilcher. “We had to capitalize early and we did that.”
Catholic Central finally got on the scoreboard with 2:02 left in the first half, when Zach Brock hauled in a 15-yard dart in the corner of the end zone from Garrett Moores
Cass Tech picked up a 31-yard field goal from the right side by Ken Snapp 45 seconds before intermission for a 15-7 halftime lead.
With its eight-point lead at the half, the Technicians sealed the deal with three touchdowns in the second half.
Cass Tech jumped on the Shamrocks for a quick score in the third quarter to widen the gap to 22-7, thanks to Deon Drake’s 30-yard TD sprint.
Moores helped CC cut into the Technicians lead with 5:57 left in the contest when his 10-yard strike to Bock was good for six in the corner of the end zone. The two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Shamrocks still in a 16-point hole.
Both teams scored late touchdowns inside the final 1:06. Delano Hill returned an interception 84 yards for the score, followed by Snapp’s final extra point for Cass Tech, while Jon Malone was on the receiving end of a 49-yard pass from Moores to cap the game’s scoring with 44 ticks left on the clock for Catholic Central.
“We had a goal of coming in and winning the state championship. We just fell a little short of that goal,” added Mach. “They were a better football team than we were today.”
Bock finished with six catches for 91 yards and Anthony Darkangelo (71 yards) and Malone (61 yards) had big receiving nights for Catholic Central, now 10-5 all-time in state title games. Moores finished 12-for-23 passing for 221 yards for the Shamrocks.
Weber led Cass Tech with 186 yards on 20 carries, Drake added 61 yards on four rushes and Campbell collected 154 passing yards on a 4-for-12 passing performance. Lewis had two catches for 101 yards for the Technicians.
(Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)