FOOTBALL: James Speights’ 5 Total Touchdowns Leads ML King to 52-12 Victory Over Denby, And PSL-East Title
DETROIT – Coming into the final game of the regular season in the Detroit PSL, the East Division was up for grabs, with three teams vying for that number one spot.
Martin Luther King came into Friday night’s game with the best possible chances of winning the division, with an unblemished 4-0 record in league play. The Crusaders had already squeaked by rival East English Village Prep 6-0 in week two, and just had to take care of Denby to win the division out right.
King (5-0) jumped off to an early 7-0 lead on their first drive of the game, when senior quarterback James Speight hit junior Tyriq Thompson for an 8-yard touchdown pass, capping off an eight play, 60-yard drive. Denby would respond with a touchdown of their own on their very first drive, and the game had the looks of a possible shootout early.
Denby’s quarterback Reynard Lewis found wide receiver Malik Whitehead streaking down the Tars sideline wide open for an 81-yard scoring strike. Denby would miss the extra-point attempt, and trail King 7-6.
With the help of great field position, it didn’t take King too long to respond to Denby. After a huge punt return by Avonte Maddox to the Denby 29-yard line, sophomore running back DJ Griffin rumbled into the endzone from 7-yards out to put King up 14-7, with 5:33 left in the first.
After allowing that big play to Denby, the King defense forced them to punt five straight times, while adding to their lead. Already up 22-6, Speight connected with Maddox on a 33-yard touchdown pass to give King the 30-6 lead.
Speight hit Maddox five times, for 106 yards and one touchdown on the day. Speight also had a big day himself, passing for 343 yards, or 20-27 passing and four touchdowns, including a 44-yarder to Jalen Embry (10 catches, 211 yards, 1 touchdown) that put them up 38-6 with 3:30 left before the half.
Denby’s offense wasn’t able to do much against King the entire game, but did capitalize on opportunities when they were there. Early in the 4th, Lewis and Whitehead would hook up again, this time from 50-yards out to pull the score to 44-12.
By then the game was far out of reach, and when the final whistle had sounded, King would walk away the victors, 52-12. With the win, King finished 5-0 in the PSL-East, clinching the division title. The Crusaders will now face Mumford (6-1) next Friday in the Detroit PSL semifinals for a chance to return to Ford Field to defend their city title.
Mumford lost to Cass Tech (7-0) 41-6 on Friday night, behind a 156 yards rushing, and two touchdowns from Mike Weber. The Technicians will face East English Village Prep (5-2) in their PSL semifinal game next week.