By Jake Lourim
Dec. 8, 2019 at 7:02 p.m. EST
It had to happen this way, not just another Friendship Collegiate win but another dominant defensive performance. These days, the No. 11 Knights don’t just win championships; they do it without allowing points.
After forcing five turnovers in the first half and not surrendering a first down for the first 15 minutes of the second, Friendship Collegiate won its second straight D.C. State Athletic Association AA football title, beating Dunbar, 20-0, Sunday at Catholic University.
The Knights (10-3), who have won three of the past four DCSAA titles, shut out Wilson and Woodson in last year’s tournament; they dug in and blanked Archbishop Carroll, 7-0, in this year’s semifinals; and then they delivered another masterpiece Sunday, preventing No. 15 Dunbar (10-3) from reaching the red zone but for one fourth-quarter snap.
“They want to get to the ball, and when you let them loose, you just sit back and watch the spectacle,” Coach Mike Hunter said of his Knights.
After forcing a three-and-out on Dunbar’s first possession, Friendship Collegiate’s defense ended its next five series with takeaways — three fumble recoveries and two interceptions, as Mike Daugherty and Kenneth Dudley Jr. both snatched passes out of the air near the end zone.
Daugherty, amid the postgame celebration, gleamed with the pride of a game plan well-executed. Dunbar quarterback Amonte Dreher and his receivers looked first to the deep pass, on fly and corner routes. The Knights were hoping they would. They sat back in a nickel formation, ready for every pass Dreher heaved into the secondary.
“They came out and they played to our defense,” Daugherty said.
Even Friendship quarterback Dyson Smith, who delivered the daggers with a 17-yard run on fourth and three and a three-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal, admitted: “We really wouldn’t be where we are at this point without our defense.”
Friendship Collegiate’s offense, like last week, did enough. Running back Kevon Campbell, the game’s MVP, put the Eagles in the end zone on the third play from scrimmage.
The Knights prepared two full water coolers to be dumped on Hunter — the one occurrence he didn’t have a game plan to defend.
“These guys, they don’t have a lot,” Hunter said. His voice caught, and he tapped his forehead to temper the emotion. “We still don’t have a practice field. We don’t have a weight room. But they show up every day and they work hard, so there it is right there.”