TROY — Cass Tech football continued its quest to defend its Division 1 state championship.
The Technicians beat Lake Orion High 34-27 Nov. 17 in a semifinal at Troy Athens.
“We knew if they scored once, we had to score twice,” Tech lineman Joshua Alabi said. “That’s what we did, and we’re going back to Ford Field. It feels wonderful.”
Tech never trailed in the contest and had as much as a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, getting scores from a 71-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jayru Campbell to Damon Web, a 5-yard scoring run from Mike Weber, and an 8-yard touchdown run from Campbell.
Lake Orion’s score came on a 1-yard plunge from Jacob Miller.
The Dragons cut the lead to 21-14 when quarterback Derek Delaura found receiver Chaz Miller over the middle from 10-yards out as time expired in the half.
“We felt at halftime we played as bad as we could play, and we were still in it and had a chance,” Lake Orion coach Chris Bell said. “In the second half, they just made more plays than we did. … They deserve to be going to Ford Field.”
Lake Orion tied it 21-21 on its second possession in the third when Delaura hit a wide open Jeremy King from 20 yards out.
The Technicians were quick to respond, going up 28-21 when Campbell threw a strike to Jourdan Lewis on a 29-yard post with 11:12 left in the game.
Lake Orion rebounded on its next possession, getting a 71-yard touchdown run from Corey Ester, but failed to convert the extra point, leaving it a 28-27 Tech lead.
After trading possessions, the Dragons were forced to let Tech score in order to get the ball back and have a chance. Tech’s Weber did the duty, walking in from 10 yards out with 2:28 left in the game to make it 34-27.
Lake Orion moved the ball near midfield, but eventually turned it over on downs on its final drive.
The last time these two teams met was in a semifinal in 2010, with Lake Orion winning and going on to claim the state title.
“They play sound football. We were glad we got a chance to play them again and go to Ford Field this time,” Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said.
The Technicians play Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 1 p.m. Nov. 23 at Ford Field in a rematch of last season’s title game.