After snatching an interception and running 25 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown in Saturday’s inaugural Gravy Bowl against Phelps, McKinley Tech junior Dawayne Hill did what most players do in the end zone — he looked for teammates to join him in celebration.
But rather than leaping into the air for a side bump or slapping his helmet, two of Hill’s Trainers teammates scooped him up and carried him off of the field before plopping the giggling defensive back on the bench.
Royal treatment was in order for McKinley on Saturday as the Trainers blanked Phelps, 34-0, at Eastern to win the first DCIAA Stripes division championship. McKinley will next play Friendship Collegiate, a 42-20 winner against Perry Street Prep, in Saturday’s DCSAA semifinals.
Scattered along the road to triumph was a motivational speech from Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, an attention to explosive strength within second-year Coach Al Kallay’s new conditioning program and a sense of amnesia following last year’s 2-8 mark and the four straight losses that opened this season.
“We stayed hungry, even after losing to Dunbar in a game we really wanted to win,” senior De’Markco Moorer said. “We said once we got into the conference, we were going to go undefeated and start the building process.”
In constructing what now stands as a nine-game winning streak, the Trainers (9-4) developed an opportune defense capable of serving as a spark plug, as it did Saturday against Phelps (6-5). McKinley intercepted five passes and recovered three fumbles to provide its offense with favorable field position.
Moorer, who plays multiple positions on both sides of the ball, capitalized from there, scoring three rushing touchdowns out of the Wildcat formation.
“This is a major improvement for our program,” said Raymond Martin, who had two sacks. “I actually think it’s an appropriate start for us in the Stripes division, to get some success and then go from here. But we definitely want to have the opportunity to play in the Stars division if it’s there.”
As the Gravy Bowl winner, McKinley is eligible to apply for membership in the DCIAA Stars division at season’s end. If approved, the last-place team in the Stars would move to the Stripes.
DCPS Athletic Director Stephanie Evans said Saturday that should McKinley choose to apply, she and a 12-member committee will evaluate the state of both divisions and make a decision.
“I’ll have to talk with our principal and administrators, but the plan right now is to apply,” Kallay said.
“When I came here, our goal was to build the McKinley name, get banners and show everybody we have talented kids that play hard. We might be in the Stripes league, but like [rapper] Drake said, ‘We don’t ball the same.’ ”
Carroll returned the opening kickoff 70 yards for a score and never looked back in winning the inaugural DCSAA Class A football championship, 52-13, over Sidwell Friends at Wilson.
Carroll quarterback Scottie Law earned MVP honors as he passed for a touchdown and ran for another to help the Lions (4-8) build a 39-7 lead by halftime. Along with James Madlock’s opening return, the Lions also scored on a punt return and a fumble recovery to put together what Coach Rick Houchens called the team’s most complete effort of the season.
“It was a really good all-around display and nice to be able to showcase how good of a team we can be when we match up with schools our size,” Houchens said. “By competing against the DeMathas and St. John’s as a member of the [Washington Catholic Athletic Conference], it helped us gain experience. It’s huge and special for us to end the season like this.”