Public School League 1
Head Coach: Rod Oden
2006 record: 8-3
|Fri 8/31||@Detroit Finney||3PM|
|Fri 9/7||@Cass Tech||3PM|
|Fri 9/21||Detroit Southeastern||3PM|
|Fri 9/28||Detroit Northwestern||3PM|
G/DT Michael Booker
QB Jamaris Smith
LB/RB Justin Cook
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.
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.