FOOTBALL: RJ Mitchell, ML King Defeat East English Village Prep in 2 OT
DETROIT – Whenever Detroit King and Detroit East English Village Prep get together, there are sure to be fireworks. The last two times the PSL-East Division foes met on the gridiron, they combined for 159 points, with King winning the last meeting 51-48 in the PSL title game last October.
This time around, there were less fireworks, more defense and more big penalties as King narrowly defeated East English Village Prep once again, 6-0 in a double overtime affair Friday night.
King put up 54 points on Port Huron last week, but points were very hard to come by Friday night against a good East English Village Prep defense. The Bulldogs forced King senior quarterback James Speight into three interceptions on the night, and held King’s offense scoreless through regulation.
The Crusaders had a few opportunities to open the game up, but two touchdowns receptions by receiver Avonte Maddox were annulled by penalties. Maddox scored on a 74-yard bomb in the first quarter, but was brought back because of an illegal block. A 51-yard screen pass was also brought back in the third quarter due to holding.
"From what I saw, we did some knuckle head stuff on the first one that was called back", said King head coach Dale Harvel. "Maddox was in the endzone already and we made a terrible block, and then he splits it again for a touchdown and that one was called back. That one wasn’t reasonable, because the referee was down the field somewhere."
East English had opportunities to win the game late in in regulation, but Melvin Coleman intercepted a Speight pass with 3:59 to play. And with 1:09 remaining, King’s defense again came up strong. After getting good field position at their own 36-yard line, the Bulldogs were forced to punt just four plays later.
In the first overtime, King received the ball to start the period but couldn’t convert any points on the drive. Sophomore running back DJ Griffin was stopped short of the goal line on a 4th and 3 play. East English Village Prep’s had an opportunity to win the game on their next possession, but a 35-yard field goal try by Nate Boleware was blocked by ML King’s defensive front.
Two false start penalties would hurt the Bulldogs in the second overtime, as they received the ball first in the period. But on 4th and 9, quarterback Anton Curtis’ pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage by Dayvon Austin giving King the ball back and an opportunity to win the game.
And the Crusaders wasted no further time putting this one away, turning to senior running back RJ Mitchell who had just returned from a team leave of absence. Mitchell took the handoff and drove around the left side of the line and into the endzone untouched, giving King the 6-0 victory in double-overtime.
"I saw that the inside was clogged up, and I’ve played these guys for three years, I know how they’re run defense is", Mitchell said of his game winning play. "My coach tells me to hit the outside all the time in practice, and that’s what I did. We had a couple good games against them last year, so I’m sure we’ll see them again", Mitchell added.
King ran it’s record to 2-0 on the season, while East English Village Prep falls to 0-2.