2007 Varsity Preview: Detroit Crockett

In our continuing series of previews for the state of Michigan's top teams, we look at Detroit Crockett. The Rockets just may have the best offensive line in the state, will that be enough to get them deep into the playoffs?

DETROIT CROCKETT VOCATIONAL TECH ROCKETS

Public School League 1
Head Coach: Rod Oden
2006 record: 8-3

SCHEDULE
Fri 8/24 @Inkster 3PM
Fri 8/31 @Detroit Finney 3PM
Fri 9/7 @Cass Tech 3PM
Fri 9/14 King 3PM
Fri 9/21 Detroit Southeastern 3PM
Fri 9/28 Detroit Northwestern 3PM
Fri 10/5 Denby 3PM
Fri 10/12 TBA -
Fri 10/19 TBA -


KEY LOSSES
G/DT Michael Booker
QB Jamaris Smith
LB/RB Justin Cook

OVERVIEW
It is often said that football is won and lost up front and if that is the case, the Rockets are going to win their share of games this year. Maybe the best offensive line unit in the state returns, anchored by center Donald Mathis, a technically sound, smart and strong center. He’ll be flanked by Earnest Brown and powerful junior Aaron McCord. At the tackles, there is a contrast in styles with undersized, but quick Shelton Gaines and massive right tackle Nathaniel Justice. With Jamaris Smith gone, the reigns will be handed to sophomore Tony Lippett, who spent the second semester of his freshman year at camps preparing for the starting spot. He is a talent who can throw the ball well, but the questions will be decision making and game management. He’ll have quite the cast of skill players though, junior Khyran Major averaged over nine yards a carry a year ago and will the main man again this year. At the receivers, Floyd Simmons, Dezmond Hart and Valtorrey Showers are speedy playmakers who can make things happen after the catch, which should take some pressure off of Lippett.

The line on the other side of the ball is just as strong. Brown and senior Curtis Crain should anchor the middle, although there are four or five big bodies who can rotate at those tackle spots. McCord is an aggressive end on one side and Gaines just may be the best edge rusher in the state as evidenced by his 14 sacks a year ago. The linebackers are undersized, but Lacey McClendon and Simmons are quick to the ball and play bigger than their listed size. Hart picked off five passes from his safety spot a year ago and Showers has the speed and quickness to stick to receivers. Kevin Banks is a returning starter and Lamar Williams will provide quality depth at several secondary spots. Hart shifts from safety to corner after picking off five passes a year ago, he and Showers will form a great duo of cover corners. Simmons and Kevin Banks will begin as the safeties, but senior Darryl Bryant, who can play both corner and safety will see a lot of time.

BOTTOM LINE
Crockett is now up in PSL-1 and the opinions on how they will do are varied. This is a team who can bully you around a little bit with their line. The questions that remain are whether or not Lippett is ready to put a game on his shoulders if it comes down to a close one in the playoffs and if their lack of size at linebacker will catch up to them against power running teams. They have the hogs upfront and the speed everywhere else though, we'll just see how they adjust to the tougher competition week in and week out.

PROJECTED STARTERS
OFFENSE
QB - Tony Lippett So
RB 23 Khyran Major Jr
FB 22 Howlin Nelson Sr
SE 3 Floyd Simmons Sr
FL 6 Dezmond Hart Sr
TE 8 Amery Allen Sr
RT 73 Nathaniel Justice Sr
LT 57 Shelton Gaines Sr
G 52 Aaron McCord Jr
G 76 Earnest Brown Sr
C 54 Donald Mathis Sr
DEFENSE
DE 57 Shelton Gaines Sr
DT 61 Curtis Crain Sr
DT 76 Earnest Brown Sr
DE 52 Aaron McCord Jr
OLB 45 Lacey McClendon Sr
ILB 9 Kenyan Richardson Sr
OLB 8 Amery Allen Sr
CB 6 Dezmond Hart Sr
CB 7 Valtorrey Showers Sr
SS 3 Floyd Simmons Sr
FS 24 Kevin Banks Sr

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