Welcome to the Detroit Public School League Invitational.
Once upon a time it would seem like an impossible fantasy to imagine PSL teams playing for state championships in the state’s two biggest divisions on the same weekend. But here we are, and now the chore is for King and Cass Tech to win the two titles.
Can the PSLers do it? Who better to ask than the Son of Swami, whose crystal ball darn near froze in last weekend’s snowstorm?
But before SOS proceeds, he needs to send a shout out to all of the schools that did such an amazing job hosting semifinal games last week, especially Bob Dowd and his crew of volunteers at Troy Athens.
They did an excellent job preparing the Athens field for play, but that was not the most impressive aspect of the day. The concession stand’s special, the Bobby D cheeseburger which features pulled pork and cold slaw, was spectacular. SOS is certain it blocked three of SOS’s arteries, which gave Mrs. SOS something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.
As for the prospects of Cass Tech and King leaving Ford Field with championship trophies, the All-Knowing One says to count on it.
Last week SOS was a mediocre 11-5 (69%) in the semifinals, bringing his playoff total to 181-59 (75%).
Romeo (12-1) vs. Detroit Cass Tech (11-2), 1 Saturday. Romeo, the home of SOS’s personal videographer — Alexandra Bahou, has been incredibly impressive working its way through the field to get to Ford Field. It looked like Romeo got a break when Cass QB Rodney Hall broke his ankle in the regional, but replacement Aaron Jackson can still get the ball to Donovan Peoples-Jones and that means another title for the PSL. Momma Cass 34, Wherefore Art Thou 25.
Detroit King (13-0) vs. Lowell (12-1), 1 Friday. Lowell’s victory over Walled Lake Western last week was remarkable, but now the Red Arrows are coming into King’s house. If stopping receivers Donnie Corley and Lavert Hill is a difficult assignment, what happens now that running back Martell Pettaway is gobbling up huge chunks of turf every time he carries the ball? King of Wishful Thinking 33, Low and Outside 24.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (11-1) vs. Chelsea (12-1), 7:30 Saturday. St. Mary’s has been the odds-on favorite to repeat as state champs all season, and for a while it looked like it was going to be easy. But now the Eaglets have more injuries than the New England Patriots. Complicating matters is that Chelsea has a high-powered offense and quarterback Jack Bush has a plethora of quality receivers. Will McAvoy High 27, St. Mary’s by the Lake 24 (OT).
Zeeland West (13-0) vs. Flint Powers (11-2), 7:30 Friday. Quarterback Noah Sargent has been the do-it-all player for Powers, but now its find-the-football time. Who is going to be able to figure out which one of West’s running backs has the ball, and can they do it before the guy with the ball is standing in the end zone? And who is going to block West’s Zach VanValkenburg? Zeeland’s Best 35, Flint Power & Light 22.
River Rouge (12-1) vs. Grand Rapids West Catholic (11-2), 4:30 Saturday. What an amazing season River Rouge has had, turning the school with the greatest basketball legacy in the state into a football school. And then there is West Catholic, which is in the finals for the fourth straight season and attempting to win its third in a row. Mission accomplished. Catholics West of Grand Rapids 33, Rouge River 27.
Ithaca (13-0) vs. Clinton (13-0), 4:30 Friday. Does Ithaca, making its sixth straight appearance in the finals, have its own reserved parking spot at Ford field? How about its own locker room? Ithaca is shooting for its fifth title in that span, and it makes sense it will get it. But don’t sleep on Clinton’s Mathew Sexton. And don’t forget about his teammate Noah Poore. Either can score every time they touch the ball. Mythical 35, Hillary 34.
Pewamo-Westphalia (13-0) vs. Ishpeming (12-0), 10 a.m.Saturday. Hey, where’s Loyola? Without the Bull Dogs around, it seems like the Yoopers from Ishpeming are about to win their third state title in four years. But not so fast. Will the Hematites (you have to love the nickname) be able to tackle P-W’s Jared Smith, who is having the best year any running back has ever had? Pewamo Will Fail You 28, Ishmael 26.
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes (13-0) vs. Muskegon CC (10-2), 10 a.m. Friday. SOS isn’t sure Muskegon CC has seen a passer like Lakes’ Clay Senerius, who has plenty of weapons to go with him. And SOS understands that MCC isn’t as good as it has been the last two years, but the Crusaders are good enough. MCC-ABE 24, Waterford Our Gal 21.
Contact Mick McCabe: 313-223-4744 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mickmccabe1.