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Cass Tech takes out Renaissance to setup a PSL Championship vs King (Story by: Terry Foster)
The Cass Tech demolition of the Detroit Public School League continued Saturday even though the Technicians were super sloppy during a 40-0 victory over Detroit Renaissance in the PSL semifinal game at Northwestern High School.
The unbeaten Technicians (8-0) hardly looked like the No.1 team in the state with 16 penalties for 145 yards. Cass Tech now faces King (7-1) in the PSL Finals Friday night at Renaissance High School in what is now an annual season ending clash for inner city superiority. King or Cass have won the PSL championship each year since 2011 when Detroit Crocket beat Cass Tech twice and captured the crown.
Since then the PSL has turned into the Big Two and the Little 13 as King and Cass hoard most of the Detroit talent that does not leak into River Rouge, Grosse Pointe, West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills or a number of other Detroit suburbs.
The victory over Renaissance was the Technicians 43rd consecutive over a PSL team not named King since 2011. This season Cass has outscored PSL opponents 269-7. The only score came a week ago when Mumford scored against the Technicians reserves during the final seconds of a 41-7 CT victory.
Cass Tech players admit they were thinking ahead to King even though the Phoenix stood in the way of a huge championship game. That lack of focus led to the avalanche of penalties and just a 13-0 lead heading into the final minute of first half. But defensive back Ormondell Dingle recorded the first of his two interceptions and ran it back 83 yard for a touchdown and more comfortable 20-0 half time lead.
“You kind of get relaxed,” said Cass running back Lewis Nichols who rushed for 70 yards on 11 carries and opened the scoring on a two yard touchdown plunge. “Now the competition is starting to get heated. We’ve got King and then the state playoffs.”
The mistakes were so plentiful that Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher is not certain the Technicians can clean up the mental errors in just six days for King. But that is what he plans on doing. Cass might have been too low energy against the Phoenix and perhaps be too hyped up against rival King.
“That was a very sloppy game,” Wilcher said. “We’ve got to get better. I think the kids were looking forward to the next game.”
When asked if he expects his team to be more focused against King Wilcher replied: “I don’t know. I hope we get focused.”
Renaissance coach Drake Wilkins believes he can match King and Cass down the road. That is why he scheduled a tough four way scrimmage that included River Rouge and Oak Park and wants to stop the west side talent leakage to the suburbs.
His team played with great spirit but was crippled by eight penalties and four turnovers. He was hoping for additional experience by making the state playoffs, but the Saturday loss dropped the Phoenix to 4-4 and probably dashed any playoff hopes.
The Phoenix wore out after the first half. They gave up runs of 26, 12 and 13 yards to begin the third quarter. That was followed up by touchdown runs of 13 and 14 yards by Jaren Mangham.
Jordan Lowe added a 53 yard touchdown run.
Cass Tech quarterback Jalen Graham completed 10 of 18 passes for 114 yards and the CT defense allowed the Phoenix into the red zone just once.