Bedford (9-2) is coming off of a 39-22 victory over Livonia Franklin while MLK (9-2) beat Oak Park 34-7. These two teams have never met in football.
The Crusaders are the defending Division 2 State Champions and also won the Division 2 title in 2007. MLK has appeared in the MHSAA playoffs 25 times while advancing to the championship game four times. The Crusaders are members of the Detroit Public School League. MLK opened in 1901 as Detroit Eastern High School and was renamed in September of 1968.
Bedford is making their 7th appearance in the MHSAA playoffs and have a 7-6 overall record in the post-season. Bedford is a member of the Southeast Conference Red Division. The Kicking Mules played in the Ohio-based Great Lakes Conference from 1961 until 1999.
Martin Luther King is led both offensively and defensively by WR/CB Ambry Thomas, a 4 star athlete who is being recruited by most major college programs in the country. He has great speed (4.45) and is a difference maker on both sides of the ball including special teams. The QB is sophomore Dequan Finn. The Crusaders boast a huge offensive line that includes 6-4, 305 lb senior Keshawn Evans, 6-3, 305 lb junior Aric Thomas and 6-2, 295 lb junior Josh Mayberry. On defense, senior CB Jesse Scarber is a player to watch out for along with 6-2, 225 lb sophomore MLB Tyrece Woods. The Crusaders give up an impressive 13 ppg.
Bedford is led by "the three Joeys" (sounds like a blue color coffee shop) and relies on a punishing running game. Senior Joey Weimer is an extremely athletic 6-4, 205 lb QB that leads the Kicking Mules in rushing (his best position may be the outfield in baseball). Senior Joey Oehlers is a 5-11, 180 lb FB. The third Joey does his damage on the defensive side of the ball and that is SS Joey Shepherd. The senior has a knack for the football and has helped lead an opportunistic Mule defense in the post season. Joining Shepherd on defense is 5-10, 210 lb senior MLB Chris Augustyniak. Although Bedford likes to run the ball, receiver David Jeffers is a player who can catch the football and can keep defenses off balance. Creating the holes for Weimer and Oehlers to run through are 6-0, 230lb senior C Jacob Curtis and 6-2, 245 lb senior tackle Trevor Carr.
This is a great matchup between the size and speed of the defending State Champion Crusaders against the athleticism and brawn of the Mules. MLK has only lost (twice) to undefeated Detroit Cass Tech while Bedford has lost close games to unbeaten's Saline and Detroit Country Day. Pick: Martin Luther King 41 Bedford 36
(Gary's Pick: MLK 28 Bedford 21)