Football quietly trumps violence at Friday night game in Detroit

DETROIT - Two weeks ago, Cass Tech's football season started with a black eye.

The ill-will had nothing to do with the on-field performance of the Technicians. Cass Tech beat Brother Rice in an impressive, season-opening 25-18 win.

The sour taste left in everyone's mouth that Saturday night came from the actions of a small collection of people in the crowd. And it took away from something special.

All anyone wanted to talk about afterwards was "more violence in Detroit," or the fears of "being at a high school football game, and you can't feel safe."

A few people can ruin a good thing. A community can rally and make that good thing great.

Nobody seemed to remember the undeniably outstanding environment festering an incredibly competitive game between two of the state's reigning champions that night.

Time passes, and things change. Perspectives open up, and realizations become apparent. Thirteen days after that August 25 opener, the only topic anyone wanted to discuss after Cass Tech's third game: Thomas Wilcher's team is freaky good.

They're not just talented, not just athletic. The Technicians are on another level, reserved in the state just for themselves.

Friday night, Cass Tech beat Renaissance 44-0. There was a running clock before the first half had ended. Sophomore quarterback Jayru Campbell threw four touchdown passes in the first 21 minutes of the game.

There were no fights in the stands and nobody "hit the deck" in fear of their lives.

Get this: the game was played at night. In Detroit. Between two Public League schools.


It shouldn't be.

The 7pm game is part of a new PSL initiative to choose one game from the league's schedule each week and put it in "prime time," if you will.

"I love it. I feel like this is what Friday night lights should be," Renaissance head coach Tyrice Grice said.

Two weeks after a thrilling victory was overshadowed by unfortunate misbehavior, Cass Tech hosted a night game at its home stadium. And the only lasting takeaway pertained to football.

A few people can ruin a good thing. A community can rally and make that good thing great.

The sense of community in Detroit Friday night drew a spark of constant electricity at that high school football stadium.

Violence damages homes, lives, and futures for too many every day in the city we rally around. It is and will be a challenge for years to come. It's an unfortunate reality.

A football team can't change a city. It can't change a budget crisis or the unemployment rate, but when a few people ruin a good thing, it's a nice reminder to realize a community, rallying around a football team, can make something truly great again.

Everyone knows the Technicians are the No. 1 team in the state of Michigan, and maybe their opponent was less-than-average Friday.

One thing is certain: after watching Cass Tech win the first ever Division 1 state title by a PSL team last season, the Technicians head coach notices a difference.

"It gives our kids hope. They see what we did. The attitude is different. The culture is different."

A high school football game was played in Detroit Friday night. A crowd of roughly a thousand people watched one of the best teams in the United States win handily.

For once, what didn't happen is worth pointing out.

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