DIVISION 2: Detroit King stymies Walled Lake Western | North Oakland Sports

DIVISION 2: Detroit King stymies Walled Lake Western

| November 25, 2016 | Comments (0)




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DETROIT — Detroit King didn’t have to wait until the last play to capture a state title this time around.

A year after rallying past Lowell, 40-38, courtesy of a touchdown on the final play of the game, the third-ranked Crusaders put together a sterling defensive unit Friday at Ford Field, crippling second-ranked Walled Lake Western, 18-0, for their second straight state title and third in the past decade.

“Just really proud of these kids and this season,” said King first-year head coach Ty Spencer. “We’ve worked very hard to get to this point. With everything that they went through, I can’t say enough about how much these guys matured over (the past few months).”

King dedicated the season to former coach Dale Harvel, who died of a heart attack last July. The Crusaders’ players did a mad dash to the east end zone immediately following the final horn to honor their fallen coach.

“They needed to express themselves,” added Spencer.

On the field, King forced four turnovers — all interceptions — and tied a MHSAA Finals record with two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Jay-Veyon Morton and Jesse Scarber had two picks apiece for the Crusaders.

Walled Lake Western, who edged top-ranked Lowell in the state semifinals, came in averaging 42.5 points an outing in the postseason. King (12-2) shut the door on the Warriors, who scored 465 points through the first 13 weeks only to be blanked in the finals.

King finally broke the stalemate when Ambry Thomas hauled in a 9-yard pass from Dequan Finn with 12 seconds left in the second period.  The quick drive came after the Warriors were forced to punt after a botched call had Western dropping a pass near the 50-yard line.

“It was a catch,” beamed Walled Lake Western coach Mike Zdebski. “He had three steps down, but that’s a bang-bang play for an official. That’s a really tough play to call. He made the right call, because he had to make the call. That one play is not going to win, or lose, this game right there, though. Sure, it might have made a difference with us driving instead of forcing us to punt and giving them great field position to score. the punt went a little ways and they scored with 12 seconds left in the half. But King made other plays that were the difference.”

King’s Scarber returned an interception 56 yards for the Crusaders’ second touchdown for a 12-0 lead with 10:37 left in the third quarter.

Morton put the game away when he returned an interception 66 yards for the score with 2:53 left in the contest.

“Our defense stepped up and made big plays the whole game,” smiled Spencer.

Western, which held King to only 40 yards of offense in the second half and only one offensive touchdown, was making its first state finals appearance since 1999.

The Warriors (12-2) were held to just 124 yards of offense, while holding King to only 158 yards of offense during the defensive struggle.

“I thought we did a great job defensively on them,” said Zdebski. “We just didn’t move the football the way we were used to this season. Credit King for that.”

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About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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