The building that once housed Southfield High is now called Southfield Arts and Technology.
Blue and white, formerly the school colors, are now white, blue and red with touch of gray. Blue Jays? The nickname is now the Warriors.
There’s no longer a rivalry with Southfield-Lathrup because that school closed at the end of last school year. Outside of Lathrup’s building, it says University High School Academy.
Malcolm P. Tutankhamun, an alum of Lathrup, is now the offensive line coach at A&T under head coach Tim Conley. Jason Solomon, the head football coach at Lathrup last season, is now the linebackers coach for the Warriors.
“It’s really hard just to know I can’t go back to the physical building and seeing the SL,” said Tutankhamun, who played his college football at Howard University. “Seeing how the schools merged, I see how something beautiful can rise from the ashes of both of the schools and the names. The kids coming together on the field is really something beautiful. I think it’s really great for the city of Southfield; to just have one school to focus on in terms of athletics.
“I like being a part of something new that’s coming in.”
It’s becoming a blended family.
Conley, the former Southfield High coach, got the Southfield A&T job in January. Since then, he formed activities to bring the two student bodies together in an attempt to bond.
“We started weight lifting and team activities,” Conley said. “We went to basketball games together, put a cheering section together for the Lathrup girls’ team or for the Southfield team. We do a thing called March Madness, where kids earn points to pick their number. These kids are great. They’re just kids. We did a lot of community service. We had a robot competition at the school, a bunch of Lathrup kids came over. We had a field day.
“They all knew each other. They all probably went to middle school together.”
When he said he had 13 starters back on defense, he included Lathrup players.
Four of them, all seniors, are penciled in to start: Keith Powe, a physical 5-foot-10, 220-pound linebacker; nose guard Kwai Cooper (5-9, 280); defensive lineman Ed McCoy, 6-3, 220; and Marcell Green, a 6-1, 220-pound linebacker.
On offense, Powe is expected to see time in the backfield as a starting running back behind sophomore quarterback Samuel Johnson III.
“We needed the depth,” Conley said. “In the program, we have about 50 from Lathrup between JV and varsity. We’re in the OAA Red (Conference) now and that’s a grind out. You have some really great weight-lifting programs behind these teams like Oxford and Lake Orion and Clarkston.
“You have to have that depth to play those big schools. We left a great league and we’re crossing over with (Birmingham) Groves and Oak Park. We lose (Farmington Hills) Harrison.”
Conley is surrounded by talent.
Linebacker Lorenzo McCaskill was honorable mention All-State and had 110 tackles last year. He’s being recruited by the likes of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Eric Eldridge, a 340-pound offensive lineman, has committed to Ball State.
Running back Eric McArn rushed for 1,300 yards and 11 TDs. He has 11 offers.
Wide receiver Brandon Gray caught eight touchdown passes last year and has 15 offers.
Junior defensive end Andre Carter has 16 offers and is a relative unknown in the state.
Then there’s Johnson. As a freshman, he passed for 1,700 yards, threw 20 touchdowns and had just three interceptions. His scholarship offer list is up to 20.
“We didn’t ask him to do a whole lot last year, but this year we expect more,” Conley said.
That’s fine with him.
“We have an experienced O-line and an experienced receiving core,” Johnson said. “I think we should be pretty good. The transition has been cool. My teammates from Lathrup are good. All we can do is come together as a team and ball-out this year. I know the tempo of the game and I’ve adjusted. I’m older and more experienced and I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.