Cass Tech High’s football team depends on a strong defense, and it starts up front with senior lineman Darryl Goldsmith, the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week.
“He’s been one of the strongest guys on the team the last couple of years,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said of his 6-1, 315 pound nose guard-offensive guard.
“Against (Dearborn) Fordson, he had eight tackles for losses and, offensively, was over 90 per cent in blocking efficiency. He bench-presses almost 400 pounds. His real strength is that he’s quick with strong hands and has a low center of gravity.”
Goldsmith’s dominant play in the trenches helped the Technicians (8-3) win their third game in a row last Friday. Their 33-7 victory against Fordson earned a district championship and advanced them into Friday’s 7 p.m. Michigan High School Athletic Association quarterfinal game against Warren De LaSalle at St. Clair Shores Lakeshore High School.
“The difference right now is discipline,’’ Goldsmith said. “We’re really a young team. Even though we have a lot of seniors, they didn’t play a whole lot last year. It’s taken awhile for us to develop the discipline that we’re showing now.”
Goldsmith, a four-year starter, was one of the most experienced returnees from last year’s 12-1 team that fashioned the first unbeaten 9-0 regular season in the school’s history. That team advanced all the way to the Division 1 state semifinals before fumbling five yards from the goal line and losing in the last seconds 24-21 to eventual state champion Lake Orion.
“We were just talking about that this weekend,’’ Goldsmith said. “We held a meeting at Coach Wilcher’s house, and it was a meeting that was set up by the payers, so that shows we’re serious. We told ourselves that if we get to the point that we were last year, this time we’re going to punch it in and we’re going to Ford Field. We’ve got our heads on straight, we’ve put all the losses behind us and we’re ready for the long haul.”
In addition to getting “stronger, faster and quicker,” in his four seasons at Cass, Goldsmith said he’s become comfortable in a leadership role on and off the field. That wasn’t always the case.
“I went from the guy that wasn’t in class on time to being the guy who’s first in class because my teachers told me people look up to me,’’ he said. “I’ve made a total transformation, a full 180.
“On the field, I’ve really improved my knowledge of the game. By me being as strong as I am, I could just try to toss guys out of the way. But I use my head to put myself in position to make big plays.”
College recruiters have taken notice. Goldsmith, who plans to major in either business or physical science, hasn’t committed to a college yet but he’s chosen his preferred side of the ball.
“I love defense,” he said. “ I’m strong enough and quick enough to play either way. But like the college coaches told me, I’d have to be crazy to want to play offense. It’s a lot more fun running around and tackling people than going up against bigger guys and trying to stop them from getting to where they want to be.”
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