King High quarterback Williams named PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week

Da’Vaun Williams was a wide-eyed seventh grader in 2007 when M.L. King High became the first and only Detroit Public School League team to win a state football championship.

Now a 6-1, 210-pound junior, Williams is living out his dream as King’s starting quarterback. With the Crusaders standing just one victory from earning another shot at the state championship, the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week is confident the best is yet to come.

“This award is a good accomplishment and another step forward in life,’’ Williams said.  “For us to get this far as a team is what’s most significant. We’re not just here for nothing. We’re going to continue to play smart as a team and we’re going to come away with a state championship.”

A berth in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state championship game will be on the line Saturday at 1 p.m. when King (9-3) plays Birmingham Brother Rice (8-4) in the semifinals at West Bloomfield High School.

In advancing past Wyandotte Roosevelt 33-0 last Friday, the Crusaders got a stellar performance from Williams, who completed 10-of-17 passes for 154 yards including touchdown strikes of 41 and 20 yards in the first half.

King coach Dale Harvel calls Williams a perfect complement for the Crusaders’ sensational senior running back Dennis Norfleet.

“As a junior, he has developed into one of the top quarterbacks around,’’ Harvel said. “He’s a great leader and last week he really did a great job of controlling the game. When teams stack the box trying to take No. 21 (Norfleet) from us, our quarterback is going to hurt you.”

With a 3.8 grade point average, Williams has ambitions to earn a college football scholarship and major in sports management. He attributes his cerebral approach to football as being just as important to his success as his strong arm and throwing accuracy.

“I’m good at reading defenses,” he said. “It’s just a matter of knowing what to do and what not to do as a quarterback. I’m not going to say I’m great, because I’m not. But everything is right in front of me. I’m working toward becoming great by listening to the coaches and doing what I have to do to understand every aspect of the game.”
King’s 21-19 loss to Crockett in the PSL Division I championship game Oct. 21 at Ford Field has fueled the Crusaders’ determination to win the state title, Williams said.
“We took that loss and we built from it,” he said. “We didn’t downgrade ourselves or think our season was over. We just sucked it up, and now we’re going for the big prize.”

King is bidding for its fourth appearance at Ford Field in the state championships. It’s the only PSL team ever to play for a state championship, and that fact isn’t lost on Williams and his teammates.

“When I was little, all the older guys I grew up with played for King,’’ he said. “I always wanted to play for King. It’s my goal and the team’s goal to win a state championship and continue the Crusaders’ legacy.”

The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators

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