Cass Tech sophomore QB Rodney Hall’s comeback dramatics earn PSL Proud Strong Learner of the Week honors

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

Cass Tech sophomore quarterback Rodney Hall, who completed his final eight pass attempts for 150 yards and a touchdown last Friday in a season-opening 27-26 victory against Oak Park, has been named the Detroit Public School League’s first Proud Strong Learner of the Week for the 2014-15 athletic year.

DSC_0567Admittedly plagued by nerves earlier in the game, Hall combined with senior running back Mike Weber to engineer a comeback from a 19-6 deficit in the fourth quarter as the Technicians prevailed before a sellout crowd at Wayne State University in the marquee matchup of the Prep Kickoff Classic.

“I felt a lot of pressure coming in because a lot of people were doubting me, saying I wasn’t going to get the job done,” Hall said. “I’m just happy we won and I played well. I feel good that I picked it up.”

Hall, 15, shook off the effects of a lackluster first half to lead three scoring drives in the fourth quarter. He finished 13-of-20 for 170 yards, igniting the comeback by connecting with sophomore wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones on a perfectly-thrown 47-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter.

On the Technicians’ following possession, Hall found junior wide receiver Demetric Vance for a 42-yard completion that set up Weber’s two-yard TD run, and he hit Vance again for a 41-yard completion on CT’s final possession to set up Weber’s two-yard game-tying TD and Jalen Sparks’ game-winning extra-point kick.

Weber, who’s committed to the University of Michigan, ran for 150 yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 70-yard TD burst up the middle for the Technicians’ first score. The state’s top-ranked running back had a Proud Strong Learner of the Week-worthy performance, but Wilcher gave the nod to his sophomore QB for rising to the occasion.

“He managed the game and didn’t turn the ball over,’’ Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “When we got behind and told him to get ready to throw the ball, he stepped up and did the job.”

Hall is filling in until senior quarterback Jayru Campbell’s expected return to action around midseason. Wilcher likes the potential of his 6-2, 180-pound sophomore and expects Hall to build on his season-opening performance.

“I think it will keep him motivated to continue playing the position and to increase his skills,’’ Wilcher said. “He now knows that he can get the job done.”

Despite Campbell’s pending return, Wilcher says Hall’s development doesn’t mean that a quarterback controversy is brewing. Campbell, who led the Technicians to back-to-back Division 1 state championships in 2011-12 and a semifinal berth last year, will be the starter when he returns.

“(Hall) just makes our team stronger,’’ Wilcher said. “We don’t have to worry about injuries hurting us at the quarterback position. We can put in a two or three-quarterback system and do a lot more things with our offense.”

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 is sponsored by Detroit-area McDonald’s owner-operators.

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