By Mark F. Gray
The difference between the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association Championship and the perennial D.C. State Champions from Friendship Collegiate is equivalent to varsity beating up on JV annually. This year’s D.C. State Athletic Association (DCSAA) championship game personified the gap between the leagues that meet each year for the “state” championship.
Friendship, whose defense was virtually impenetrable when they played the inner-city high school rivals all year, dropped a 20-0 shutout on Dunbar to win their second consecutive DCSAA class AA football championship at Catholic University. The Knights are the benchmark for the city teams and this year they left no doubt who was the best after this postseason performance.
Friendship Collegiate beat Dunbar high school in the DCSAA championship game to yet again win the DCSAA class AA title. (Courtesy Photo)
The Knights forced Dunbar into five turnovers during the game at devastating moments. Friendship intercepted two passes as Mike Daughtery and Kenneth Dudley, Jr. thwarted two Crimson Tide points when they were in scoring position. They also forced and recovered three fumbles that ended drives and created the cosmetic appearance of the competitive game.
Friendship was led by quarterback Dyson Smith who made two massive plays. However, the offensive tone was set early in the game when running back Kevon Smith – who was named the game’s most valuable player – scored on a long TD run in the third play. Once they had the lead the defense suffocated Dunbar.
As the teams traded body shots with punishing defense to open the game, Smith put the Crimson Tide on the canvas with the first of his two touchdown runs. On fourth and three, Smith rushed for a 17-yard TD run to effectively put the game away. He then launched the championship celebration when he scored on fourth and goal from the 3-yard line.
Friendship Collegiate’s latest championship validates Mike Hunter, the most underrated high school football coach in the DMV. Considering his team doesn’t have a practice field or a venue to call home, Hunter continues to dominate their “region”. They have become a fertile ground for major college recruiting and will send several of their marquee players from this year’s to elite programs around the country.