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Last Update: 11-12-2018 


Detroit Martin Luther King Crusaders


DeWitt Panthers

 Division 3 Bracket

Did you know?

This time of year, the weather can be pretty dicey for football games. A few years ago, recall that snow storm that hit east of central Michigan with six to 10 inches of snow for the semi-finals. That would certainly alter a lot of offenses.  Five years ago in the Panther semi-final at Goodrich agaisnt St. Clair, temperatures in the low 30s with a steady 30mph wind from the west that whipped the length of the east-west field. On the first play of the game, Christoper Ruby took a speed sweep handoff from QB Jake Johnson and when he rounded the right end and headed up the sideline against the wind, it was like he was wearing a parachute.

Late in the game, St. Clair drove 61 yards to inside the 10 with just under two minutes to go trailing by a point, 21-20. On a fourth and four from the four, the Saints lined up for a field goal into the stiff west wind.They got the kick off but it fluttered in the wind and dropped way to the right and short of the uprights and DeWitt went onto the finals.

The 1989 Panther trip to the semi-finals was not a sunny balmy day either. As head coach Gail Thornton recalls...  

Zeeland had a highly touted quarterback by the name of Jay Riemersma and he was headed to the University of Michigan to play football.  The weather came into play again, there was a huge ice storm during the night and when we arrived at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids, it had a solid inch of ice on the entire field.  The Zeeland coach went to the officials and attempted to postpone the game until 7pm so we could move to another field that was not covered in ice.  That was easy for him to say as Zeeland was only a few minutes away, but what was I supposed to do with our kids between 1 and 7pm!!  It turned into quite an argument, but I recall saying to the official that unless there is lightning, I thought the policy was to play the game, he agreed and the game was on.  The ice gave the offense's a real advantage.  Everyone thought it would be a one or two touchdown game, but it turned out to be a scoring frenzy.  Zeeland threw the ball all over the field and we ran our option and counter plays at will.  I remember vividly the feeling that came over me, when it finally came to me that we were "Going to the Dome", and we were going to play for the Class B State Championship!  Of course we wouldn't be able to compete with Farmington Hills Harrison!!

Panther Puzzle

The facilities at Lansing Catholic's Cougar Field were excellent for the Panther "home" game against Farmington. LC allowed all of DeWitt's game management to do their "normal" jobs. It was great to see our ticket sales group at the gate, the chain gang on the far sideline, the game management people in the press box including timer, scoreboard operator, spotters and announcer.

We have come to appreciate our announcer, John Stone. He informs us after every play. He does not announce "AND THAT IS ANOTHERRRRRRRR FIRRRRRRRST DOWN" screaming into the microphone. And he does not scream "HERE COMES YOUR PANNNNNNNNNNNNNTHERS".  He is very professional at every moment.

We know in DeWitt another football season has arrived when you can hear the golden tones of John at the mike.

And, it was a special event when several times in the first half, John announced Panther extra pionts of "Carson Hayes set to kick, Jacob Spedoske the holder and Adam Stone the snapper". As you may or may not know, senior Adam Stone is John's grandson. What a special moment. With Adam's dad Tom in the pressbox spotting and Grandmother Jeannie spotting, Panther football is truely a family community, you might even say a typical mom and pop operation.

The Puzzle:  How many years has John been announcing DeWitt Panther games?

Answer: Thursday

DeWitt, MI (11/12/2018): The DeWitt Panthers continue their run deep into the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 playoffs this Saturday afternoon when they face the champion of the Detroit Public School League Black Division Detroit Martin Luther King Crusaders. The semi-final game will be played at Brighton High School at 1:00. Tickets for the game are $7.

King is considered by some in the top five in the state in any division. Coach Tyrone Spencer's team is loaded with talent. They enter the game at 10-2 on the season with losses to Muskegon 24-21 and Detroit Cass Tech 48-7 in the Public School League final. Last week in the regional final, they defeated Allen Park 54-15.

The Crudsaders are loaded with talent and run a wide open passing game. Up front, they are as big as Muskegon. They will want to pass it over the defense and will do so with their QB Dequan Finn. The 6'1" senior has a strong arm and scans the field very well. When he has to pull it down and go, he is fast and scrambles well. He has accounted for 34 touchdowns himself during the regular season.  

The King defense is led by line backer Richard Miller. He reads the offense very well and is fast to the ball and a sure tackler.

King has a history of deep runs in the MHSAA playoffs. This is their first dip into Division 3, usually playing in Division 2. Their MHSAA enrollment is 1149. This is their third consecutive trip to the semi-finals and sixth in the last eight years. Last season they were outed from the playoffs by Warren De La Salle 14-13 in the semi-finals. They won the Division 2 final in 2016, 2015 and 2007.

Lansing, MI (11/10/2018):  The DeWitt Panthers took another step deeper into the 2018 MHSAA State Football Playoffs Saturday when the Panthers defeated the Farmington Falcons at a cold, snowy and windswept Cougar Stadium at Lansing Catholic High School.

With the win, the Panthers will advance to the state semi-finals to face Detroit Martin Luther King (11-1) at a site to be determined and announced Monday. Semi-final games are always at a neutral site. DeWitt will be the home team for the game based on playoff points. It will be the first semi-final appearance for DeWitt since 2013. It is the 9th semi-final appearance for a Rob Zimmerman coached team and 11th overall for DeWitt.

Lansing Catholic graciously allowed the Panthers to host the regional final game at the newly renovated Cougar Stadium due to the poor condition of DeWitt's Memorial Stadium grass. Snow was on the field as the Panther faithful arrived, and there were a lot of them. DeWitt's Tyler Warren blew the snow off the field by taking the opening kickoff back 79 yards. Thaddeus Anwar ran in the two point conversion and it was 8-0 Panthers at the 11:49 mark of the first quarter.

DeWitt kicked off to Farmington and the Falcons took over on their own 30. A 13 yard loss on a sack by Panther Noah Behovitz of the Falcon QB Anthony Reaves pushed the Falcons back to their own 17. Falcon running back Kenall Williams was held for no gain and Farmington faced a third and 23. A Reaves pass over the middle was picked by Panther MLB Jace Preston and he returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. A Carson Hayes extra point made it 15-0 before your hot chocolate was cool enough to sip.

Following another three and out by Farmington, the Panther offense finally got a chance to get onto the field, spotted a 15-0 score by the special teams and defense. DeWitt went 64 yards in eight plays and scored on a 33 yard pass and run from Blake Gatfield to Derek Hamp. Hamp caught the ball at the 20 and juked several would be Falcons to take it in for the score.

The next Panther possession started near mid-field. Gatfield snuck around the left end, had a great downfield block by Hamp and was driven out of bounds at the Falcon 10. Two rugged runs by Anwar to the one yard line and Andrew Debri took it in for the final yard and it was 29-0 late in the first quarter.

DeWitt would score two more times in the first half, on a 32 yard run by Anwar and a 27 yard pass from Gatfield to Warren. DeWitt ended the half by letting the clock run out at the Falcon 3. At the half, the total yards were in DeWitt's favor 250 to 27.

Farmington put together an eight play, 64 yard drive and scored with a minute to play when speedster Kendall Williams took it in from 12 yards. Following the game, the Falcons honored their seniors on the opposite sideline in a very fitting and emotional way, with the seniors lined up every five yards and all of the coaches and underclass men taking turns shaking their hands. Farmington also displayed quality sportsmanship by honoring DeWitt with applause at the presentation of the regional final trophy from DeWitt's athletic director Mike Brya to Coach Zimmerman.

DeWitt was led by Anwar's 73 yards rushing, along with Gatfield's 48. Blake passed for 100 yards and two scores, to Hamp and Warren. Defensively, the Panthers limited Farmington to 96 total yards, an interception by Preston and a blocked punt by Brandon Melton. Melton had five tackles.

The Panthers move on at 12-0 to face King. Farmington bows out with an 8-4, a big turn around after last year's 3-6 season.




Regional Final Semi Final


6 - 0

12 - 0

Beat Farmington 42-7 Detroit Martin Luther King

*East Lansing

5 - 1

9 - 2

*Okemos 4 - 2 7 - 4    

Grand Ledge

3 - 3 3 - 5    

Holt 2 - 4 3 - 6    


1 - 5

2 - 7

   Waverly 0 - 6 1 - 8    

*2018 Playoff Qualifier

Sports Page Links
Lansing State Journal Detroit Free Press
Detroit News Grand Rapids Press
Flint Journal Jackson Citizen Patroit
WLNS Sports WLNS 5th Quarter
WILX Sports Blitz The Game 730AM
State Champs Network MHSAA Football
DeWitt Athletic Hall of Fame
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's preview on the upcoming Panther season.
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over GRChristian
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over Northern
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over Okemos
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over Holt
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over East Lansing 
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over Everett
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over Grand Ledge 
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over St. Joseph
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over Waverly 
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over St. Johns
Please enjoy Mike McKeon's article on DeWitt over East Lansing 









*Click on icon to view team  information, 2009-2017.

Panther Profiles:

DeWitt, MI (Fall 2015): Many players have had the opportunity to move on from high school football to the college game from DeWitt High School. Recently, DeWittFootball.org had the opportunity to catch up with Ryan Anderson. Ryan was a receiver for the DeWitt 2011 and 2012 teams. Ryan was accepted to play football for Saginaw Valley State University, following in the steps of several other Panthers, including Caleb Higbie and Jason Fleet. Ryan played at SVSU for two seasons and now plays for Olivet College.

Please click here to read more including his 2017 accomplishments...

DeWitt, MI (Winter 2015): Recently DeWittFootball.org had the opportunity to catch up with Paul Jorgensen. Paul was one of the most talented players to play for DeWitt and was an integral part of the success of the program from 2007 through 2009. A two way lineman for the Panthers, he played the “blind side” left tackle on offense and end on defense. 

Please click here to

The DeWitt Panthers have played a lot of great games over the years, but perhaps none as exciting at the 2012 Division 3 District Championship game at Linden.

Please click here to


Please send inquiries and comments to info@DeWittFootball.org