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King looks to repeat at D2 champions as season draws near

Football   | Kevin Moore

King looks to repeat at D2 champions as season draws near

 

Detroit - It’s almost that time of year again, Friday Night Lights, the smell of the gridiron and the intensity of the fans.

High school football will be in action at the end of the month.

Over the past 10 years the Detroit Public School League has become one of the dominant leagues.

With schools like Detroit King, the defending Division 2 champion, and Detroit Cass Tech, a Division 1 finalist a year ago, which has two state titles under its belt, and Detroit East English Village Prep, another consistent contender over the past few years, the PSL is a league that has earned respect.

The coaches held their meeting preseason on Tuesday in Detroit and the media had a chance to converse with the coaches.

The PSL boasts numerous talented prospects, some of whom will be in the running for State Champs Mr. Football award, such as Ambry Thomas of King and Donovan People-Jones of Cass Tech.

Over the course of the summer, the big headline in PSL football has been the sudden loss of King coach Dale Harvel.

King will have work to do as the spotlight will again shine on the Crusaders.

Tyrone Spencer, King’s new coach, said that this season will be a dedication to Harvel.

“The loss of coach Harvel definitely affected the program a lot,” said Spencer.  “But in everything we do, I want our players to do it out of respect for him.”

Thomas, who plays cornerback and wide receiver and is one of the top players in the state, will lead the Crusaders.

“Ambry, that’s our captain right there and I expect him to lead this team and I know he will do that,” Spencer said.  “This team knows they have a chip on their shoulder being the defending state champs and I believe that they are willing to accept the challenge.”

Knocking on the door will be Cass Tech, a team that will look to take back the PSL title.

The Technicians will return the state’s top prospect in receiver/defensive back Peoples-Jones.

The 6-2, 200-pound senior is ranked No. 12 nationally according to ESPN and has numerous scholarship offers from big time schools such as Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Michigan and Michigan, and the list just goes on. 

Thomas and Jones will look to lead their respective teams to a state title. 

Another team looking to make a run in the state tournament will be the Bulldogs of East English.

The Bulldogs finished 9-3 last season with key wins against Warren De La Salle and Grosse Point South in the playoffs.

Coach Rod Oden talked about building team depth at each position and building off of last year.

“We’re a blue collar team, our strength this year will be our offensive line who have been together for three years and as a team we need to take that next step,” Oden said.  “Our guys have been working hard on the field and in the weight room and I feel that if we our consistent this year we can compete with anyone.”

For some schools, this will be a rebuilding year.

Coach Lou Beatty at Detroit Renaissance said that he has three seniors this year and lost 15 last year.

“We definitely loss some key players from last year and it will be a test to replace those players, but my guys have bought into the program,” said Beatty.  “We have five to six high profile incoming freshman and I’m excited about that.”

Beatty said that his players have shown leadership and are more disciplined.

“I like what I’m seeing out of my players and in a year from now, it will be our year,” said Beatty.

The PSL will look to have more teams compete in the state playoffs such as Detroit Collegiate Prep at Northwestern and Detroit Denby which had winning seasons last year. DCP’s only loss was to Denby.

Detroit Mumford and Detroit Cody finished below .500 but are looking to build and improve this year.