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EPISODE 1
PUBLISHED ON 09/10/18

ON THE CRUSADE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP

EPISODE 1 / PUBLISHED ON 09/10/18
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As the sun set over the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit on a warm, late-August evening, Coach Tyrone Spencer knelt down mid-field to deliver the same mantra he’s drilled into his team all season, “Details matter.”

Coach Tyrone Spencer

When asked about what it means to play for King, all players echo the same attitude; it’s tradition, it’s hard work, it’s dedication to the game. And a lot of conditioning.

Spencer’s phrase was met with determined looks and collective head nods from the players of Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, just east of downtown. It’s their first regular season practice of 2018 and the team is mentally preparing themselves for the long journey ahead.

Last year, the King Crusaders experienced just how much those details matter first-hand.

The details were the difference between their 3rd straight trip to the division 2 state championship game, and the harsh reality; a long, cold bus ride home after losing to Warren’s De La Salle High School 14-13 in the 2017 state semi-finals.

Over the past decade, the King Crusaders captured three division-2 state championship titles and a number of DPS league championships, not to mention a handful of strong playoff runs through the years. The team established itself as a powerhouse, revered by opponents in and out of the state.

Their rise to power instilled strong bonds and a sense of pride within the team, the school community and the city of Detroit. Many of these players come from a family of former King players and graduates. With the support of the tight-knit community around them, and the pressure to put last year’s loss firmly in the past, the 2017 varsity Crusaders team are ready to build on the legacy that has been left for them.

SCHOOL DETAILS

Martin Luther King Jr.
Senior High School,
Division 2

LOCATION

/ Detroit, Michigan

HEAD COACH

/ Tyrone Spencer

2017 RECORD

/ 11-2

Checkout the team on Hudl

"If you want to play, you have to be a hard worker. That’s all it’s about here. Compete and you will play."

/ JUSTIN HOWARD, SOPHOMORE, DEFENSIVE LINE

For King, getting back to states in 2018 will be no easy task, although 3 weeks into the season, the team is 2-1. King opened the season with a convincing win at the Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic over another mid-west powerhouse, the East St. Louis Flyers.

Despite falling in week 2 to the western Michigan powerhouse, Muskegon High School, the Crusaders are back on track, grabbing their second win of the season this past Friday against an inner-conference opponent.

With the buzz of early season promise and the community behind them, if this year’s King Crusaders can focus on the details like they have during the off-season, they’ll have a chance to show out in 2018 and take home their 4th state championship in just over a decade.


READ MORE COLLAPSE
EPISODE 1
ON THE CRUSADE TO A CHAMPIONSHIP
09/10/18

As the sun set over the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit on a warm, late-August evening, Coach Tyrone Spencer knelt down mid-field to deliver the same mantra he’s drilled into his team all season, “Details matter.”

Coach Tyrone Spencer

When asked about what it means to play for King, all players echo the same attitude; it’s tradition, it’s hard work, it’s dedication to the game. And a lot of conditioning.

Spencer’s phrase was met with determined looks and collective head nods from the players of Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, just east of downtown. It’s their first regular season practice of 2018 and the team is mentally preparing themselves for the long journey ahead.

Last year, the King Crusaders experienced just how much those details matter first-hand.

The details were the difference between their 3rd straight trip to the division 2 state championship game, and the harsh reality; a long, cold bus ride home after losing to Warren’s De La Salle High School 14-13 in the 2017 state semi-finals.

Over the past decade, the King Crusaders captured three division-2 state championship titles and a number of DPS league championships, not to mention a handful of strong playoff runs through the years. The team established itself as a powerhouse, revered by opponents in and out of the state.

Their rise to power instilled strong bonds and a sense of pride within the team, the school community and the city of Detroit. Many of these players come from a family of former King players and graduates. With the support of the tight-knit community around them, and the pressure to put last year’s loss firmly in the past, the 2017 varsity Crusaders team are ready to build on the legacy that has been left for them.

"If you want to play, you have to be a hard worker. That’s all it’s about here. Compete and you will play."

/ JUSTIN HOWARD, SOPHOMORE, DEFENSIVE LINE

For King, getting back to states in 2018 will be no easy task, although 3 weeks into the season, the team is 2-1. King opened the season with a convincing win at the Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic over another mid-west powerhouse, the East St. Louis Flyers.

Despite falling in week 2 to the western Michigan powerhouse, Muskegon High School, the Crusaders are back on track, grabbing their second win of the season this past Friday against an inner-conference opponent.

With the buzz of early season promise and the community behind them, if this year’s King Crusaders can focus on the details like they have during the off-season, they’ll have a chance to show out in 2018 and take home their 4th state championship in just over a decade.


Clip 1
Randy Winans / Junior / Defensive End
9/17/18

After getting mixed up with the wrong crowd and a brush with the law last summer, Randy Winans made an oath: He was not going to let one bad decision define his life.

What could have been the beginning of a slippery slope ended up being exactly what Randy needed to refocus on the things that really mattered to him. Now, Randy has his sights set on playing college football. And to get there, he’s doubled-down on his efforts inside the classroom and improving his game outside of it. Randy is determined to cement his place in King’s football legacy; for his team, his family, and himself.

Clip 2
Justin Howard / Sophomore / Defensive Line
9/17/18

On the King’s varsity team, you need to have more than just raw talent to succeed—something Justin Howard reckons with every day on the field.

A sophomore on the varsity team, Justin is just now coming into his own on the defensive line and feels the weight of the team’s expectations resting very heavily on his shoulders. Motivated by his own desire to succeed and the challenge ahead of him, he treats every play as a chance to prove to his teammates he deserves a spot on the field. That although he’s still young, he’s a force to be reckoned with at any age.

Clip 3
Shondel Hardnett / Senior / Running Back
09/17/18

Every player has a driving force that gets them up early in the morning and through that extra mile at the end of the day—for Shondel Hardnett, it's his family.

Raised by a single mother with his two younger brothers, Shondel understands that he has to be a role model and mentor. He balances his commitment to the game with his duties at home; from waking up early to drop his mother off at work to watching his brothers after school while doing drills in his bedroom, Shondel takes care of his duties outside of the lines, so when it's time to strap up, everything just falls into place.

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