The past two weeks have been a refreshing change of pace for Friendship Collegiate running back Kelvit Barrett, who along with his teammates grew familiar with the routine of spending weekends on the road playing national-caliber opponents. They were always on the move. One weekend they were waking up in Florida, playing one of the best teams in the Sunshine State. Then in a flash, it seemed, they were on the bus in New Jersey, headed to face one of the country’s best players in Jabrill Peppers, running back for one of the country’s best teams in Paramus Catholic.
But on Saturday in a DC State Athletic Association semifinal, Barrett had the chance to play against neighborhood kids from McKinley Tech — and he and the Knights didn’t squander their opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd at Wilson in Northwest Washington.
Barrett ran for 107 yards and scored three touchdowns, and fellow running back Jonathan Haden added 106 yards and two more scores as Friendship Collegiate beat McKinley Tech, 43-0, to advance to next week’s DCSAA title game against H.D. Woodson at Catholic University.
It will be the second consecutive trip to the championship game for the Knights (7-4), who have now won two games against District opponents this season by a combined score of 85-20 after taking out Perry Street Prep in the quarterfinals last week.
“It’s good, because our families get to stay home and see us, because when we go far, not everyone’s family can travel,” Barrett said. “It’s definitely good to put on for the home town.”
McKinley (9-5) threatened on its opening possession, marching to the Knights’ 20-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. That was as close as the game would get. Barrett rushed 80 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing play, and the Trainers fumbled back-to-back kickoffs to set up two more rushing scores by Barrett and Haden to give Friendship a quick 19-0 lead just seven minutes into the game.
Both Barrett and Haden rushed just seven times Saturday — and Haden’s 31-yard rushing touchdown near the end of the first half gave Friendship a 37-0 halftime lead that forced officials to run the clock the rest of the way.
Next week, the Knights will meet an H.D. Woodson team that emphasizes controlling the ball with the run and stopping the run in equal measure. It will be nice to see familiar faces for a third consecutive week, Haden said.
“It’s fun just playing, like, your friends you see outside, or who you’re just chilling with,” Haden said. “We know a lot of those guys at [H.D. Woodson]. . . . I expect them to come out and be hyped and everything, because it’s a big rivarly game. So I expect them to come out and be hyped, but i feel like, me and my team, we’re going to come out and do what we do.”