FOOTBALL: Jayru Campbell Leads Detroit Cass Tech To A 32-17 Comeback Win Over Macomb Dakota
DETROIT – Four straight state semifinal game appearances is an incredible feat for any program, in any division.
Detroit Cass Tech accomplished that Saturday afternoon with a 32-17 come from behind win over Macomb Dakota in the Division 1 regional final.
"Our defense stepped it up a lot," said Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher. "I think some of the moves we made in the second half really made a big difference."
Cass Tech found itself in unfamiliar territory, trailing Dakota 10-0 after one quarter, and getting completely dominated in all three phases of the game.
Dakota scored on their first two offensive possessions, on a 20-yard field by Pasquale Madonna, and a 5-yard touchdown run by Benji Marshall that made it 10-0 with 1:05 left in the first.
Undisciplined penalties by Cass Tech, and the stellar play of the Dakota defense early on gave you that feeling of an epic upset in the making. Already up 10-0, Dakota had an opportunity to put more points on the board, but failed to do so.
Junior running back Robert Campbell lost control of the ball inside the Technicians 30-yard line, and Johnny Miggins scooped up the fumble, returning it to their own 38-yard line. That play was arguably the play of the game, when just two plays later Cass Tech scored.
Junior quarterback Jayru Campbell found a whole up the middle and took it 61-yards untouched, making the score 10-7 with 6:06 left before the half. Dakota would respond with another touchdown of their own on the ensuing kickoff and take a 17-7 lead into the half. But the second half looked like a totally different game for both teams.
"As a team the second half was better," Campbell said. "We had a long talk in the locker room about the mistakes we made, and things we could have did better. So as a team I would definitely say our performance was a team in the second half."
Campbell may have given his team all the credit, but his performance was nothing short of spectacular. The Michigan State commit orchestrated four consecutive scoring drives for Cass Tech, finishing 12-16 for 183 yards, and a touchdown. He also has 148 rushing yards to go go along with three touchdowns.
"I knew the defense would key in on Mike Weber, Gary Hosey and Deon Drake," Campbell said. "Coach Wilcher told me that I was going to have to use my legs this game and that’s what I did."
With the score 17-13 now midway through the third, Cass Tech took over the lead and never looked back. Campbell found senior Andre Cook open in the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown pass, making the score 19-17. A short 7-yard touchdown run by Campbell made it 26-17 with 1:10 left in the third, but Dakota wasn’t out of it just yet.
Dakota quarterback Tyler Crowell drove his team all the way down inside the Cass Tech 20-yard line. A score would have made the game interesting, but Ohio State commit Damon Webb picked Crowell off inside the endzone.
Four plays later Campbell put the nail in the coffin with a spectacular 65-yard touchdown run, that took the air out of the Dakota faithful. Cass Tech went on to win 32-17, behind a great performance by Campbell, and the defense in the second half.
"I wasn’t concerned at all during halftime," Campbell said. "We don’t lose at home, and I knew my team was going to come out and stay poised and under control."
In a familiar matchup, Cass Tech will now face Detroit Catholic Central for a chance to play at Ford Field. The two teams met up in the last two state final games, with Cass Tech winning both in 2011, and 2012.
"I’m glad we have an opportunity to play them again," Wilcher said. "I think it’s something everybody wants to see, Cass Tech versus CC in the cold."