Published November 16, 2013
Cass Tech football stops Dakota in regional final
By Jason Carmel Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Jason on Twitter.
DETROIT — Detroit Cass Tech junior quarterback Jayru Campbell said he and his teammates had a long talk at halftime about how badly they played in the first half of their 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 regional final against Macomb Dakota Nov. 16.
Cass Tech trailed Dakota 17-7 at halftime and had committed seven penalties. The second half was a totally different story, as the Technicians outscored the Cougars 25-0 to capture a third straight D-1 regional title in a 32-17 win.
Cass Tech (12-0) advances to face Detroit Catholic Central in a state semifinal set for 1 p.m. Nov. 23 at Gibraltar Carlson. The Technicians and Shamrocks have met in the last two state finals — both of which were won by Cass Tech.
"As a team, I would say our performance was a 10 out of 10 in the second half," said Campbell, who ran for two 61-yard scores and a 7-yard score in the regional final. The first 61-yard scamper came on a read option play with 6:06 left in the first half and was Cass Tech's first score. The second came on a scramble with 6:37 left in the game to put the Technicians up 32-17.
"There was nothing to the right side of the field, so I went back to the left and I had a lot of blockers. The offensive line did a great job in the second half of blocking," said Campbell, who also threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Andre Cook. "We just needed to stay poised and take control. At halftime, we just made up our minds that we had to play harder."
An interception in the end zone by Cass Tech senior wide receiver Damon Webb with 9:14 to play set up Campbell's second touchdown run.
"They just kept doing their thing, and they busted a couple of big plays," Dakota coach Mike Giannone said. "They went bump coverage on our receivers, and we couldn't get off of them. I thought our guys played really well, but when you get the momentum going one way, it's hard to get it back."
Dakota (11-1) used some great field position to take an early 10-0 lead. A 6-yard touchdown run by Cougars sophomore running back Benji Marshall with 1:05 to play in the first quarter put Dakota up 10-0. Cougars senior kicker Pasquale Madonna nailed a 20-yard field goal try at 6:48 of the first quarter to put Dakota on the board. A 71-yard punt return by senior defensive back/wide receiver Mustafa Abdur-Rahman set up the field goal attempt.
The Cougars, which won D-1 state titles in 2006 and 2007, went up 17-7 with 26.4 seconds left in the first half when senior quarterback Tyler Crowell found senior wideout Brendan Mangan for a 9-yard score.
A 16-yard touchdown run from Cass Tech junior running back Mike Weber with 8:10 to play in the third quarter, which brought the Technicians within four at 17-13, started the run that would put Dakota away.
"We don't lose at home. We haven't lost at home in six years," Campbell said. "It's the playoffs. These are different circumstances. We have to play well."