King stuns Lowell with a 40-yard touchdown pass on game's final play to take Division 2 title, 40-38Football  |
Detroit – Gabe Steed, as he had most of the game, had position on Detroit King star receiver Donnie Corley, Jr., in the end zone for the play of the Division 2 final.
Steed was side by side with Corley but Corley had the advantage. At 6-3, Corley is two inches taller and when both players leaped for the ball Steed got his right hand on it but Corley snatched it away with two. Corley’s 40-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Armani Posey gave King a stunning 40-38 victory over Lowell on Friday at Ford Field.
It was King’s only lead of the game.
King (14-0), ranked No. 1, trailed 17-0, 24-7 and 31-13 before staging a remarkable comeback.
The Crusaders won their only other title in 2007, 47-21, over Midland also in the Division 2 final. King trailed in that game, 21-7, in the third quarter and also finished 14-0.
Whereas King dominated Midland in the second half of that game, this game looked as if Lowell (12-2), making its sixth final appearance, would pull off the upset.
King began its winning drive on its 5-yard line with 37 seconds left. King’s 15th and final penalty pushed the ball back to the 3. Posey’s 22-yard pass to Lavert Hill gave King a first down at the 25, and Hill smartly got out of bounds.
Posey, who set a state final record with 383 passing yards, quickly spiked the ball after completing a 10-yard pass to Corley.
The second most important completion came next. Posey’s 25-yard pass to Dontre Boyd gave King a first down at Lowell’s 40 with 10 seconds left. Boyd hung on to the ball after crunching shoulder pad hit by safety Alex Anschutz and Boyd didn’t get up immediately. Boyd was helped off the field and coach Dale Harvel said his senior receiver had suffered shoulder injury but otherwise Boyd was fine.
On the next down Posey missed Ambry Thomas who was open down the left sideline and, with two seconds left, Harvel and offensive coordinator Terel Patrick discussed the game’s final play.
“We went with a four vertical package,” Harvel said. “We had Corley isolated on the Lowell (left) sideline.”
Corley said Steed didn’t receive help from the safety. And that’s all Posey needed to see.
“It’s one-on-one coverage with the best receiver in the state, Posey said. “He went up and made the play.”
Corley praised his teammates as well.
“It was a beautiful ball,” Corley said. “To me (Boyd’s catch) was the biggest play.”
Added Posey: “It’s a catch that put us in position to win.”
On a sad note for King, Boyd suffered a broken shoulder on his 25-yard reception.
King held a slight edge statistically, 436 yards to 400.
For the first 28 minutes Lowell owned this game. It took away King’s rushing attack and 1,000-yard rusher Martell Pettaway. Pettaway finished with a minus-three yards rushing. King had 53. Lowell rushed for 214 yards led by Max Dean with 99.
Lowell scored on each of its four first-half possessions and led 24-13 at halftime and increased that to 31-13 after Dean’s 4-yard touchdown run to cap the first series of the half. The score was set by a well-executed fake punt. On a fourth-and-1 Nathan Stephens ran 38 yards to King’s 5-yard line.
King pieced together its first 95-yard touchdown drive on the next series. Posey ended the drive with a nifty 41-yard pitch and catch with Ambry Thomas that brought the Crusaders to within 31-20.
Posey’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Hill and Pettaway’s conversion catch narrowed Lowell’s lead to 38-34 with 4:42 remaining.
Lowell took over on its 35 and gained two first downs before Steed’s 41-yard punt went out at the King 5.
“We played four quarters,” Harvel said. “On our final play we got good blocking up front.
“They took the run game away from us. We had to start throwing the ball.”
Posey embraced the challenge. A receiver-defensive back the first three games of the season, Posey took over and became a leader. He was 19-of-27 against Lowell for 383 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He was 14-of-18 in the second half for 239 yards and three touchdowns.
A finalist for State Champs Hungry Howie’s Mr. Football award Corley had one catch in the first half for seven yards. He had five in the second for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Boyd had five receptions for 126 yards and Hill had four for 77 and two touchdowns.
Lowell coach Noel Dean said his team played as well as he could expect.
“Our kids competed,” he said. “Anytime you’re going against a team that has 15 kids committed (to play for a university) it’s a challenge. At times the athleticism took over. But how many of you had us on the 40 (with a chance to win) on the last play?”