While Cass Tech pulled off the biggest upset, King was a victim of the next biggest upset as the Crusaders, the PSL 2009 champions, lost to Redford Thurston.
A rash of turnovers and mistakes did in King (7-3). It is almost impossible to survive four intercepted passes, a fumble, a blocked punt and an onside kick. King lost the Division 2 game 29-18.
A late fourth-quarter rally by King fell short despite touchdown passes of 80 and 94 yards. Thurston will play Inkster this weekend in the District Final.
Crockett, meanwhile, held on to beat one of the tougher teams in the state, Highland Park. The game was a defensive battle that Crockett won 12-0 in a Division 3 district semifinal.
Crockett (9-1) will host Hazel Park (8-2) this weekend.
“We couldn’t sustain any drives,” Highland Park coach Cedric Dortch told reporters after the game. “We couldn’t get any continuity. We’d make a good play and then something else would happen. Their defense played exceptionally well.”
Crockett’s offense did not do much either, but quarterback Tony Lippett made just enough plays when it counted to get the victory.
There was no score at halftime as the teams combined for eight first downs and 131 yards. Highland Park had the best opportunity to score. With less than two minutes to play it had possession on Crockett’s 20, but a fourth-down pass was incomplete with 57 seconds left.
Highland Park (6-4) fumbled the second half kickoff and Marquise Thomas recovered for Crockett at the 9. On the next play Lippett ran for the touchdown and a 6-0 lead.
Crockett stopped Highland Park on its next series on a fourth-and-1 at the Highland Park 45. It took Crockett 10 plays to score as Lippett went the final yard on a sneak. The conversion failed and Crockett led 12-0 with 3:48 left in the third quarter.
Statistically, Lippett wasn’t impressive as he rushed 12 times for 21 yards and completed just six passes in 17 attempts for 90 yards, but he converted at critical times. Crockett faced a fourth-and-5 on its scoring drive and Lippett gained six yards to keep the drive going.
But it was the defense that carried Crockett to a district final for the sixth time in the last seven years.
If this is going to be the year the PSL team and Inkster rise up and negotiate the minefield of opponents, Gholston, Edward Thomas, Jihad Rasheed, Lippett, Mathis, Terrence Stevens and Devin Gardner will have to continue to rise above the rest.
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