PSL title: Seniors lead Cass Tech past King, 41-20

PSL title: Seniors lead Cass Tech past King, 41-20

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PSL title: Seniors lead Cass Tech past King, 41-20

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Detroit Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher poses with the PSL title trophy Friday at Ford Field.

Detroit Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher poses with the PSL title trophy Friday at Ford Field.

A talented group of seniors helped Detroit Cass Tech wrestle the Detroit Public School League Division I crown away from defending champion Detroit King, 41-20, Friday night at Ford Field.

The seniors didn’t forget the two losses they suffered at the hands of the Division 2 power as juniors a year ago.

When the teams met at Cass Tech on Sept. 20, the Technicians used home field (and its muddy surface) for a 31-18 victory.

Cass Tech, ranked No. 1 in Division 1, improved to 9-0. King is 7-2.

King hoped a faster track at Ford Field would help its cause, but it only showcased the elusiveness of Cass Tech’s senior quarterback Rodney Hall, All-America receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and wide receiver/defensive back/running back Jaylen Kelly-Powell.

“It’s our last time playing King,” said Peoples-Jones. “They’re a good team. They played us hard. Rivalries like this you’ll remember forever. We executed everything we’ve been working on the last couple of months. We have to cut down on those penalties. They hurt us a lot.”

Cass Tech showed some different wrinkles Friday, giving the opposition some other things to think about.

“I think the most important thing was we had the opportunity to get better and trying to make sure our team kept trying to improve,” said Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher. “We have a long way to go. I just like our special teams. We want to be better on special teams. Our kicker did an outstanding job. He was big time.

“We were trying to make sure we got our athletes the ball and put pressure on people.”

Cass Tech’s defense stifled sophomore quarterback Dequan Finn and didn’t allow the Crusaders’ ground game to get going.

With Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh in attendance, two of the most talented cousins in the state squared off for the last time in high school — Kelly-Powell for the Technicians and Ambry Thomas for the Crusaders. Both are being wooed by U-M — and being the diplomat he is, Harbaugh spend time on both sidelines.

Meanwhile, Kelly-Powell spent a lot of time lining up in the backfield against King, rushing seven times for 71 yards.

After stopping King on downs, the Technicians wasted no time getting the ball into the hands of one of their many stars.

Peoples-Jones beat Thomas on a fly pattern for a 55-yard touchdown pass with 8:57 left in the first quarter to give Cass Tech a 7-0 lead.

“We planned that,” said Peoples-Jones. “(Hall) trusted me. I trusted him to throw it and we came down with it.”

King’s next drive ended in the Cass Tech end zone on an interception by senior Donovan Williams.

The slippery Hall weaved his way through a host of defenders for a 40-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Technicians a 14-0 lead.

When Hall went out after completing a 32-yard pass to Kelly-Powell, backup Aaron Jackson ended the drive with a 1-yard TD run to give the Division 1 power a 21-0 lead at halftime.

Taking the second-half kickoff, the Technicians pounded the ball, using almost 6 minutes of the third quarter and a pass-interference call on Thomas against Peoples-Jones.

Hall scored from 5 yards with 5:25 left to give Cass Tech a 28-0 lead.

Thomas finally got loose in the Cass Tech secondary, scoring on a 37-yard pass play with 4:16 left in the third to give the Crusaders their first points, 28-6.

For good measure, Cass Tech worked on special teams, with Luis Borjas kicking field goals of 39 and 43 yards to make it 34-6.

Thomas caught his second of three TD catches, a 13-yarder, and the two-point conversion pass to make it 34-14.

“We fought,” said Thomas, who hugged and talked to his cousin after the game. “We probably won’t play a better team.”

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PSL title: Seniors lead Cass Tech past King, 41-20
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