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King wins one for fallen coach, rolls past Henry Ford 55-0

Football   | Branden Hunter

State Champs! Sports Network

DETROIT - Martin Luther King head coach, Dale Harvel, has patrolled the sidelines for the Crusaders since 1986. He was their defensive coordinator for years, before being named the head man in 2008, and is a big reason for King's success over the past 20 or more. 

Tragically, he suffered a heart attack last Saturday on the field, during King's 28-17 win over Mumford. The team came into today's game with heavy hearts, but they knew that they still had to play for him.

"It was tough knowing we didn't have our head coach with us," said junior quarterback Mikale Washington. "But we knew that we just had to keep playing, and keep him in our thoughts as we played the game.

"We knew that we had to take things into our own hands, keep the younger guys mature, and keep the game going."

King cruised to a 55-0 win over Detroit Henry Ford (1-5), with Washington throwing for three touchdowns. They didn't need much motivation to beat a lesser talented Henry Ford team, but the loss of their leader for the moment, was definitely some extra motivation.

"We wasn't going to let the news stop us," he said. "We were down, but we just had to keep grinding, and keep eating.

"We had a very intense, and motivating practice, so that helped us."

King (6-0) recorded it's third shut out of the season, and its defense has only given up 7.8 points per game this year. Led by senior linebacker, Tyriq Thompson,  King has always been known to have a tough defense, and one reason for that has been Harvel's influence on the program. 

"Our defense has always been consistent, and we just go out there and do what we do," said Thompson. "The loss of Coach Harvel actually affected us positively, even though it wasn't a good thing that happened. It wasn't just my senior leadership that stepped up, a few of the juniors did as well, and they stepped up today."

The coaching staff at King was also affected by Harvel's illness, with a good majority of them having played for him at King. He may not have been there in person, but the stern guy, with a visor and sunglasses on was certainly there in person. 

"We didn't change the routine at all for this week," said wide receivers coach Terel Patrick. "We stayed business as usual, and the kids did a good job remaining focused, even though our leader wasn't there."

Harvel is doing fine now, but his return to the sidelines is up in the air right right now. Hopefully he's able to make a full, and speedy recovery, to lead King into the state playoffs, as they collected their sixth win on the year, qualifying them for the tournament.