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Dominant defensive performance leads Detroit King past Cass Tech, into PSL Final

By: Jeff Dullack, October 14, 2017, 10:00 pm

Detroit – Over the course of the last four years, Detroit King and Detroit Cass Tech have made it a habit of meeting in the Detroit Public School League Final, but on Saturday afternoon, the two teams met in the PSL semifinal at Detroit Northwestern high school.

Behind a dominant defensive effort, King would punch its ticket for a seventh straight trip to the PSL Final, beating Cass Tech 17-7 as the Crusader defense did not allow a point on Saturday.

King will face Detroit East English Village Prep in the PSL Final on Friday night at 7:00 at Ford Field.

King head coach Tyrone Spencer said that he knew his team would be ready for Saturday’s game after his team’s practice on Friday and said that he saw a team that was ready for their rivals when they took the field.

“Those guys were ready to play,” he said. “We had walkthrough practice on Friday and I could tell that they were ready to go. They were locked in, they were focused and they took it personal and they came out and showed it early on.”

King was red-hot to start the game as senior Jae’veyon Morton would return the opening kickoff 93 yards to give the Crusaders a 6-0 lead with 11:39 left in the first quarter.

Morton said that even he was surprised by his game-opening touchdown and also added that he felt that it helped set the tone for himself and his teammates early on.

“I was real happy when I did that,” he said. “I was surprised, for real, I was thinking ‘Wow, it’s that easy?’

“I just saw a hole and hit it as fast as I could and scored.”

On Cass Tech’s first offensive possession of the game, the Technicians would fumble on their second play and the ball would be scooped up by King’s Tyrece Woods, who would return the ball inside the Cass Tech 5-yard line.

Shortly after, King quarterback DeQuann Finn would score on a 4-yard touchdown run to extend King’s lead to 14-0 after a successful 2-pt. conversion just 90 seconds into the game.

But the Crusaders weren’t done there, after a mishandled snap on a Cass Tech punt attempt, King would take over at the Technicians’ 5-yard line and would add to their lead as Darrell Wyatt booted a 21-yard field goal to make it 17-0 with 4:11 remaining in the opening quarter.

The King defense was dominant throughout Saturday’s game as the Crusaders tallied four first half takeaways, including interceptions by Maurice Brown and Marvin Grant.

“We knew we had to come out strong,” Grant said. “That kick return really set it off and built the momentum. The defense has just been practicing and working on mental all week, so we just had to come out and set the tone on defense and that would be the ballgame.”

Cass Tech would finally  get on the scoreboard in the closing moments of the second quarter when senior defensive back Kalon Gervin stepped in front of a Finn pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown with three seconds left before halftime to cut King’s lead to 17-7.

While the second half turned out to be rather uneventful for both teams, the King defense came up with its biggest stand late in the fourth quarter after the Crusaders failed to get a punt away, Cass Tech took over inside the King 5-yard line, looking to cut into the 10-point deficit.

But on third down, the King defense forced and recovered a fumble inside the 1-yard line and the Crusaders’ offense was able to run out the clock to secure the 17-7 win to advance back to the PSL Final.

Spencer said that he was obviously pleased with his team’s defensive performance and said that stopping the Cass Tech rushing attack was a focal point of their game plan going into Saturday.

“Really just stopping their run game,” he said. “We know that they’re an option team when you look at them and having to contain that quarterback. We thought that we played the best running back with Markese Stepp – who’s going to Notre Dame – at Indianapolis Cathedral, so we felt that anybody else, we can handle.”