PSL football fever in the air for Mumford at Cass Tech battle of unbeatens; Denby at unbeaten King also looms large

Chuck Johnson
Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics

The Detroit Public School League football championship game is Oct. 25 at Ford Field, but title fever is already in the air.

Anticipation is sky-high for Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Cass Tech, where Coach Thomas Wilcher’s two-time Division 1 defending state champion Technicians (6-0 overall, 5-0 league) will face Mumford (6-0 overall, 5-0 league) in a battle of unbeatens for first place in the PSL West.

“This is great for the league,” Mumford coach Donshell English said. “This is one of those times where the PSL can showcase itself. This game will let the rest of the state see how competitive we are and what they can look forward to when it’s time for the state playoffs. It should be a good game, win or lose.”

The Cass Tech-Mumford winner will advance to next week’s league semifinals as the West division’s No. 1 seed, while the loser is also assured a semifinal berth as the No. 2 seed.

Next Friday’s (Oct. 18) semifinals, to be held at DCP-Northwestern High’s field, will match the No. 2 seed from West against the No. 1 seed from the East at 5 p.m., followed by the No. 1 seed from the West against the No. 2 East seed at 7 p.m.

King High, the defending PSL champion, is also unbeaten. The Crusaders (5-0, 4-0 league)  can clinch the East’s top seed Friday with a victory against visiting Denby (5-1 overall, 3-1 league), while East English Village (4-2 overall, 3-1 league) can grab the other East semifinal berth when it visits Pershing (1-5 overall, 1-3 league). Both games are at 4 p.m.

In other games Friday, all 4 p.m. starts, Douglass (1-4 overall, 1-3 PSL East) is at Southeastern (1-5 overall, 1-4 PSL East), Cody (3-3 overall, 3-2 PSL West) is at winless Central (0-6 overall, 0-5 PSL West), DCP-Northwestern (4-2 overall, 3-2  PSL West) is at Renaissance (3-3 overall, 3-2 PSL West) and winless Ford (0-6 overall, 0-5 PSL West) plays Western (2-4 overall, 1-4 PSL West) at DCP-Northwestern’s field. Osborn (2-4 overall, 2-3 PSL East) visits Garden City at 7 p.m. in a nonleague game.

“Every game in the PSL is (potentially) a tough game,’’ said Cass Tech coach Wilcher, asked about his expectations for Friday night. “It’s the mindset of the kids that makes it either easy or tough.”

Like most observers, Wilcher has been impressed by Mumford’s turnaround just one season after the Mustangs finished 2-7 overall.

“They’ve done a great job to come from last place to first place in our league,” Wilcher said. “I hope they continue to have great success each and every year.”

Adding to the flavor of Friday night’s marquee matchup is the fact that Mumford’s head coach and coaching staff are all Cass Tech alumni. In fact, four of English’s assistants played for Wilcher at Cass Tech. “They know how I think,’’ Wilcher said.  “I think that gives them an edge.”

“I’m going to always be proud to be a Cass Tech alum,’’ English said. “I love Cass, but I also love competing against Cass. You think about it in the back of your mind, but when the game starts you never think about it. You just try to do the best you can to win.”

English previously guided Southeastern’s program to the top of the PSL. In his second season at Mumford, he has moved the Mustangs forward in short order and said he expected as much.

“Even though we were 2-7 last year, we got better every game,’’ English said. “Even the Cass game, which we lost 49-0, the score at halftime was 13-0. We ended up winning our last two games and were playing pretty good.

“We’ve gotten our kids stronger in the weight room and they now understand what it takes. But we expected this. When I gave my preseason selections to the media, I put Cass first, just out of respect for being the two-time state champions. But I put Mumford second because this is what I expected us to do.”

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