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Led by its senior class, Cass Tech rolls to 49-20 win over Detroit Catholic Central in Division 1 Final

By: Jeff Dullack, November 26, 2016, 5:46 pm

Detroit – For Detroit Cass Tech’s senior class, Saturday afternoon was four years in the making.

A talent laden senior class, that entered four years ago, but had fallen just short of a Division 1 title in each of the previous three years.

But on Saturday afternoon, the Technicians, led by their senior class, completed the first unbeaten season in school history as Cass Tech rolled to a 49-20 win over Detroit Catholic Central to win its first title since 2012.

“I’m very happy, because I put it on their back, I rode their backs and they brought us here,” said Wilcher of his senior class. “To have the first undefeated season in Cass Tech high school, to be one of the first team that keeps coming back to state titles and going to state regionals and semifinal games, it’s just a hard feat. “Just to be able to do that each and every year, to come out here with kids who are going to keep responding, that’s very important.”

Coming out of halftime leading by just one touchdown, 21-14, Cass Tech found success early and often to start the second half, scoring three touchdowns in the just under six minutes.

Just 14 seconds into the third quarter, senior quarterback Rodney Hall found senior wide receiver Donovan Parker for a 42-yard touchdown, pushing the Cass Tech lead to 28-14.

Hall wasn’t done there, throwing the fourth of his five touchdown passes to Mr. Football Finalist Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 49-yard score. Just two minutes later, the Technicians blew the game wide open on a 2-yard run by Donovan Johnson to give Cass Tech a 42-14 lead with 6:15 left to play in the third quarter.

Peoples-Jones said that the success he and his teammates had to start the third quarter was a big key to Cass Tech’s win.

“It was very important,” he said. “C.C. is a great team, real physical, real run oriented. So our game plan was to stay consistent. The coaches made it very easy for us to come out here and execute a very clear game plan and I’m just so proud of my teammates and coaches for fighting for us all year.”

Peoples-Jones finished Saturday with six catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Hall, who missed last year’s state championship game against Romeo, made his state finals debut and did not disappoint, throwing for 220 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for 66 yards, to help lead the way for the Cass Tech offense.

His five touchdown passes ties a state championship game record.

“It’s huge for me, just to be able to make it back to this point,” said Hall. “I was just excited to come play, I’m glad we won.

It’s great to go out and play well and throw five touchdowns. The offense was clicking and guys were open and they did the rest.”

Wilcher said throughout his entire high school career, Hall has proven to be a winner, and showed that once again on Saturday.

“The most important thing about Rodney Hall is that you have to look at his stats,” he said. “He has phenomenal stats. He has a phenomenal win-loss record. I haven’t been around anything like that before. I just look at the games, he’s a gamer, he’s always bringing back a victory.”

Cass Tech struck first in the first quarter as Rodney Hall found Teone Allen on a short pass, but Allen turned up field for a 33-yard touchdown, giving the Technicians a 7-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

But the Shamrocks would respond with a classic Catholic Central drive, lasting 15-play, 73 yards and took over eight minutes off the clock, capped off by a one yard touchdown run by Isaac Darkangelo.

On the first play of the ensuing drive for Cass Tech, Jack Morris stepped in front of a pass by Hall and took off for a 35-yard interception return to put the Shamrocks up 14-7.

Dillon Dejong made his first start of the year at quarterback for the Shamrocks on Saturday as Catholic Central was forced to play without its starting quarterback Austin Brown on Saturday, after Brown suffered a leg injury in last week’s semifinal win over Romeo.

“Obviously when you lose your quarterback, there’s going to be different things that you try to do,” said Catholic Central coach Tom Mach. “He had a great year for us and did a great job all the way up to that point. But I thought the quarterback that went in at that point, Dejong, did a tremendous job, a gutsy job for only playing quarterback for three days in practice.

Cass Tech would recover and take a 21-14 lead into halftime behind a 20-yard pass from Hall to Allen, followed by a 60-yard touchdown run by Donovan Johnson with 4:39 left in the first half.