King High quarterback Da’Vaun Williams was determined to give his team a chance to play for the Detroit Public School League football championship.
With six touchdowns, through the air and on the ground, the 6-1, 215-pound senior fulfilled his mission last Friday by leading the Crusaders to a 44-13 semifinal thrashing of Cass Tech that earned them a berth in the PSL Championship Game at Ford Field.
“He’s the best quarterback around and I’m going to keep saying it,” Coach Dale Harvel said of Williams, the PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week. “The kid’s been a three-year starter for us.”
In guiding the upset against previously No. 1-ranked Cass Tech, Williams connected on 12 of 19 passes for 286 yards and four TDs, while adding 90 yards and two TDs rushing. The victory was King’s fifth in a row after starting the season 0-3.
“The past two years, we took an “L” against them, so this year we came out with more enthusiasm and knowing we had to get this win,’’ Williams said. “ It wasn’t just to get to the city championship, but we needed that win to take another step toward the state playoffs.”
The Crusaders entered Friday night’s PSL championship game against East English Village with all their goals still in front of them. They’ve flourished despite being in a one-game knockout mode since taking their third loss of the season, a 61-6 forfeited victory against Osborn (for having an ineligible player).
“Even though that win was taken from us, I talked to the guys and told them that we couldn’t just fall back and pout about it,’’ Williams said. “We stayed focused and continued to do what we had to do.”
Williams says his footwork and his arm strength are his biggest assets. But he’s more than just a physically-talented QB. With a 3.5 grade point average and a 22 ACT score, he’s college-ready and has drawn interest from a dozen or more Division 1-AA and D-2 schools, including Northwood, Northern Michigan, Wayne State and Grand Valley State.
“I plan to major in sports management,’’ said Williams, who aspires to be a team owner one day. “I want to continue my playing career, but I also want to be the man upstairs,” he said.
For the season, Williams has accounted for 2,096 yards passing and 22 TDs with six interceptions, and has carried the ball 48 times for 412 yards and seven TDs.
“It feels good to be Proud Strong Learner of the Week for the second time,’’ said Williams, who also gained the honor as a junior while playing in the shadows of All-American running back Dennis Norfleet, a three-time PSLer of the Week and now a University of Michigan freshman.
“I think I’ve gotten more patient and a little more relaxed this season,’’ he said. “A lot of credit goes to the offensive line and our defense. Even with Dennis Norfleet going to Michigan, the King Crusaders are still taking another step toward the city championship and a state championship.”
On both counts, the Crusaders met with frustration last year. They lost the PSL Division I title game 21-19 against Crockett, and came up just shy of reaching the Division II state championship game with a 27-26 semifinal loss against Birmingham Brother Rice.
“Ever since then, I’ve been motivated and determined to get to that stage again,’’ Williams said. “For the senior class of 2013, this is it for us. As a senior, this is my last chance to play for the PSL championship and for the state championship. I’m really looking forward to finally winning a championship at Ford Field.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week award is representative of the league’s top boys and girls athletes. The award is presented by the DPS Office of Athletics and sponsored for the third year in a row by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators
Sports Information Director
Detroit Public Schools