At 5-2, playoffs within reach for MLK Cougars football

After Friday night’s rain-soaked 34-8 win over Boys Latin Charter High, the Martin Luther King High School Cougars football team not only ran its season record to 5-2, but settled into third place in the Public League AAA Division.

The road to securing a playoff berth, with just three games remaining before the first round starts on Nov. 22, includes matchups with the first-place Franklin High Electrons (Oct. 26) and the Overbrook Panthers, who also sport a 4-2 division record (3 p.m. Saturday), according to PIAA standings.

For a team that hadn’t won a game outright in two seasons before this unique preseason camp commenced, a fifth consecutive victory seemed like a significant milestone, but one which Head Coach Ed Dunn downplayed.

In his pregame address, Dunn warned of “trap games … that good teams lose” to seemingly outmatched opposition.

And, in Friday’s second quarter, Latin Charter twice came within striking distance, but were rebuffed by turnovers, including an interception at the Cougars’ five-yard-line which linebacker Derrick Morton returned into Latin territory.

The wet weather forced King into a rushing attack, with quarterback Joseph Walker, running back Devonte Hunter and Tileem Yates scoring on the ground. However, wide receiver Delane Hart caught two touchdown passes as well, leading the Cougars to victory.

The postgame vibe was not celebratory.

“You’re not playing like your hungry,” said Dunn, predicting a week of instilling “hard work” at the practice field.

The Cougars try to increase their winning streak to six with a Friday afternoon game at Overbrook High School.

Update: Dunn tells NewsWorks that a win on Saturday will likely secure a playoff berth for the Cougars.

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