Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
In appreciation and recognition of two outstanding playoff runs that elevated the statewide stature of the Detroit Public School League, Cass Tech High’s (12-1) football team and Crockett High’s (11-2) football team are the PSL’s Proud Strong Learners of the Week.
Although both had their hopes for a state championship dashed abruptly Saturday in the Michigan High School Athletic Association semifinals, it doesn’t diminish the impact that each team made in bringing positive publicity to the city, the school district and the PSL.
Previously undefeated Cass Tech’s 24-21 loss to Lake Orion in Division 1 and Crockett’s 33-13 loss to Williamston in Division 4 came after each team defeated three playoff opponents to win district and regional championships.
“This season showed just how much the PSL has improved, and it’s going to keep getting better and better,” Technicians coach Thomas Wilcher said. “The coaches in our league are now more focused. They see what can be done when you put in the work. This whole season has been a great learning experience. It sets the tone for next year to keep building on the foundation needed to go further.”
Cass Tech will graduate several key members from its best team in school history. At least five players are set to play Division 1 collegiate football. But with five starters returning on offense and nine returning on defense, the Technicians are positioned to continue their success next fall.
The same optimistic forecast holds true for Coach Rod Oden’s Rockets, who were loaded with freshmen and sophomore players this season. With nine starters on offense and nine starters on defense set to return in 2011, Crockett’s program will remain representative of PSL power.
“This season made other schools aware that our kids (in the PSL) work hard, too,” Oden said. “Our team and Cass showed everybody that we play football in this league at the top level in the state. Our playoff victories showed that.”
Before last Saturday, Crockett’s only loss this season was against Cass in the PSL “A Division” city championship game.
“We had a lot of learning experiences this year, and the main one was our ability to overcome deficits,” Oden said. “We won 11 and lost two, but we trailed in eight different ballgames. We didn’t have a season like Cass’ where they led every minute of every game. We fought through a lot of adversity, and that builds championship character. Our players know to never give up.”
If there was a common denominator between the PSL’s two top teams, it was their commitment to test themselves against the best.
“Neither of us shied from good competition,” Oden said. “Each year, we’ve opened up with games outside the area. This year, we had Monroe (St. Mary’s) and won, and Cass played (Ann Arbor) Pioneer and won. You’ve got to step out of your comfort zone to compete on a state level. Both of our teams have been willing to do that.”
This marks the final PSLers of the Week selections for the fall sports season.