Cody up next for PSL’s nationally-ranked Cass Tech football team

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

Only Cass Tech and Cody High’s football teams have held their opposition scoreless through the first two weeks of the Detroit Public School League season.

Those teams collide Friday at 4 p.m. at Northwestern High School in a battle for first place in the PSL West Division.

In other league action Friday (all 4 p.m. starts except where noted), Central is at Pershing, East English Village visits Denby, Osborn visits Douglass at Kettering High School, King is at Southeastern, Ford is at Renaissance, and visiting Mumford plays Western at Southwestern High School. In a nonleague game under the lights, Northwestern hosts Henry Ford Academy at 7 p.m.

While Cody has managed to keep pace in the PSL West, Cass Tech is increasingly gaining momentum as one of the best football teams to come out of the city in a long and storied history.

Coach Thomas Wilcher’s Technicians (2-0 in the league, 3-0 overall) are not only ranked No. 1 in the state but the defending Division I state champions have moved up to No. 8 in the nation this week in USA TODAY’s Super 25 prep football poll.

“This is a tough game for us,” said Comets’ Coach Calvin Norman. “To be honest, I think Cass is probably the best PSL team that I’ve ever seen, and that includes the 2007 King football team (that won the Division II state title). They’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of big guys up front that are strong. We’ve prepared our kids for the challenge, but the kids will really have to play a good football game in order to beat them.”

In bouncing back from a 35-0 nonleague loss to Detroit Catholic Central in the season opener, Cody (2-0 league, 2-1 overall) is coming off a 48-0 victory against Mumford after walloping Ford 54-0 two weeks ago in the league opener.

“Coming into the Cass game, I feel real good about our defense,” Norman said. “Even against Catholic Central, our defense didn’t play badly. Special teams played a big part in (the loss). They kept us defending inside the 20(-yard line) most of the game. But when we got them outside the 20, we were able to play a better defensive game.

“The thing about Cass Tech, we’ve got to be very physical with them. They’ve got a lot of great ballplayers and a lot of weapons. They’re going to score. But I’m looking for a very physical game to hopefully make the difference.”

Norman points to 5-10, 180-pound senior quarterback DeMarco Gulley as one of the Comets’ best assets. Gulley, who also plays defensive back, has accounted for nine touchdowns, eight offensively. He also has intercepted four passes, including one returned 105 yards for a TD.

Meanwhile, the Technicians have continued to roll, blanking Renaissance 44-0 last week after shutting out Northwestern 57-0 two weeks ago and defeating Birmingham Brother Rice 25-18 in their much-ballyhooed nonleague season opener.

Already Cass Tech has five seniors committed to playing Division I college football. They include safety Delano Hill (Iowa), defensive back Dejuan Rogers (Toledo), defensive back Jourdan Lewis (Michigan), offensive lineman David Dawson (Michigan), and offensive tackle Dennis Finley (Michigan State). Dawson was feted during an on-field ceremony last Friday for being named to the Under Armour All-American game, and Lewis will be paid tribute Oct. 1 during a school ceremony at 11:15 a.m. in recognition of being named to the U.S. Army All-American game.

Wilcher figures to have “eight to 10” Division 1 college recruits leave his program after this season. He says all the individual and team accolades have made this season a joy so far, but there’s still a long way to go.

“My job is to keep the team composed and improving and trying to stay healthy,” he said. “It’s great that the people are noticing the kids and what we’ve been doing. It has put us more in the spotlight and that’s been good for the PSL because it’s put our league more in the spotlight.”

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