It was a case of season delayed for Detroit Martin Luther King and Southfield A&T.
The teams had to wait 2 hours, 40 minutes before starting because of a rain delay Saturday at the Wayne State field.
King, the defending Division 2 champion, was breaking in a new head coach, Tyrone Spencer, the former defensive coordinator under Dale Harvel, who died this summer.
Each player had “Harvel” on the back of his jersey instead of his own name.
“It was my idea. We didn’t let them see the uniforms until they came in this morning to the locker room,” said Spencer, who received a water shower after his first victory.
“It was our way of honoring Coach.”
A&T, a blend of players from Southfield High and Southfield-Lathrup, was playing its first game under the renamed school with new colors: red, white and blue with a tinge of gray, and a new nickname, the Warriors.
The No. 13 wearing Harvel’s name was defensive back/receiver Ambry Thomas, ranked as the second best player in the state.
He lived up to his billing on both sides of the ball in King’s 39-0 victory, its 15th in a row.
Thomas caught three passes for 111 yards and scored on a 34-yard TD reception.
“I heard some noise during the week about they were going to beat us,” Thomas said. “We knew Coach (Harvel) didn’t want us to let up on these guys. We came out here with an attitude.”
The Crusaders overwhelmed the Warriors in the second quarter with 27 points. Meanwhile, Warriors receivers dropped passes and couldn’t control King’s run game, which featured senior Kevin Willis, who accounted for four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving. He finished with 161 yards on the ground.
“He played for us last year, he’s a senior,” Spencer said. “He played a big part in a win for us last season.”
After both teams sputtered in the first quarter, the Crusaders finally got on the board when All-Stater Thomas caught a 34-yard TD pass from sophomore quarterback Dequan Finn on a post pattern to give the Crusaders a 7-0 lead with 10:49 left in the half.
King’s Cepeda Phillips recovered a fumble on the next possession and turned the miscue into a 7-yard TD run by Willis with 8:13 left in the first half to make it 13-0.
Warriors sophomore quarterback Samuel Johnson III struggled in part because his receivers dropped at least three passes in the first half. He was 7-for-28 for 80 yards.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.