King headed to semi­fi­nal for third straight sea­son

The Detroit News - - High Schools - BY ERIC COUGH­LIN Spe­cial to The Detroit News Eric Cough­lin is a free­lance writer.

Allen Park — For the sixth time since 2011, Detroit King’s foot­ball team is headed to the state semi­fi­nals.

King (10-2) stomped Allen Park (9-3), 54-15, in the Divi­sion 3, Re­gion 4 fi­nal on a chilly Fri­day night.

“I was re­ally pleased with all three phases of the game,” King coach Ty­rone Spencer said. “I don’t think we played per­fect, but at the end of the day I’m proud of what we were able to do.”

King se­nior quar­ter­back DeQuan Finn, con­fi­dent at the con­trols of King’s spread at­tack, played a dy­namic game, go­ing 9for-10 throw­ing for 204 yards with 127 rush­ing yards and six to­tal touch­downs.

“It feels good know­ing we’re go­ing to the semi­fi­nals for the third con­sec­u­tive year,” Finn said. “We’re just tak­ing it one game at a time.”

Among the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of Finn’s arm were se­nior wide re­ceivers Do­minick Poli­dore-Han­nah, who had three catches for 47 yards, and Ah­mad Gard­ner, who col­lected four passes for 126 yards, in­clud­ing scores of 37 and 75 yards.

“I was watch­ing the cov­er­age,” Gard­ner said. “I knew ex­actly how deep to run my routes, and my quar­ter­back DeQuan (Finn) found me.”

King’s de­fense flew around the field, with se­nior safety Marvin Grant in­flict­ing se­ri­ous dam­age on Allen Park’s of­fense. Grant is com­mit­ted to Pur­due and con­sid­ered King’s top player in the 2019 re­cruit­ing class.

King, en­joy­ing its 10thstraight play­off ap­pear­ance, was the faster, more phys­i­cal team, and it showed. When King’s skill play­ers had the ball, they sim­ply ran away from Allen Park tack­lers, and when that didn’t work, they ran through them. A run­ning clock was quar­ter.

Allen Park ju­nior run­ning back Nico Tiberia didn’t play af­ter suf­fer­ing a leg in­jury on Tues­day in prac­tice. Tiberia ran for 96 yards and two touch­downs in Allen Park’s dis­trict win.

Allen Park started on a high note, jump­ing on a King fum­ble af­ter a sloppy hand­off ex­change, but on the first snap of King’s sec­ond pos­ses­sion, Finn took a snap from shot­gun and sailed through the Allen Park de­fense un­touched for 76 yards to open the scor­ing. Af­ter an Allen Park three­and-out, Finn hit Poli­dore-Han­nah on a screen pass. Poli­doreHan­nah shed sev­eral tack­lers on his way to a 35-yard gain, fi­nally wres­tled down at Allen Park’s 7yard line. Ju­nior run­ning back Peny Boone scored on a run to the right on the next play to make it 14-0 for King.

Finn scored on a 1-yard run on the sec­ond play of the sec­ond quar­ter, putting King up, 21-0. Mo­ments later, Finn found a cov­ered Gard­ner, who fought off de­fen­sive hold­ing and went up to haul down a 37-yard touch­down pass to put King up, 28-0. Allen Park mounted a drive on its next pos­ses­sion, capped by a 1-yard Ma­teo Balderas quar­ter­back sneak to make it 28-7 for King. King an­swered on a 44-yard Finn run up the mid­dle. The ex­tra point at­tempt was blocked, leav­ing King firmly in charge, 34-7. A Pol­i­dare-Han­nah punt re­turn gave King an­other chance to score in the first half, and Finn con­verted with an­other 1-yard plunge. King couldn’t con­vert the two-point at­tempt, and the first half ended 40-7 for King.

Finn hit Gard­ner 10 yards down­field, and Gard­ner did the rest, run­ning away from Allen Park’s sec­ondary for a 75-yard touch­down, mak­ing it 47-7.



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