In this week’s notebook we cover Friendship Collegiate, H.D. Woodson, Spalding, National Christian, St. John’s, Stuart, Freedom-Woodbridge, C.H. Flowers, Madison, Gonzaga, Georgetown Prep,
THE SNAP COUNT: THE CLASH OF H.D. WOODSON AND FRIENDSHIP COLLEGIATE ON FRIDAY IS A STAGE FOR THE DISTRICT’S TOP TEAMS AND TOP PLAYERS. THERE’S MORE AT STAKE THAN ONE WIN.
D.C. public school football is often maligned as not being as strong as the game is out in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. So a game with teams of this caliber is a special night for the city to celebrate, and an opportunity for these teams and these players to continue to reset the benchmark that defines the District’s football and schools.
“A lot of people, when you talk about football in the D.C. area, you kind of hear the same names over and over again: St. John’s, DeMatha, Wise,” Friendship Coach Mike Hunter said.
But No. 14 Woodson boasts a core of players with major college football offers. Cornerbacks Vincent Flythe III and Noah Boykin are headed to Maryland next year, and both turned down a handful of other Power Five conference scholarship offers. Running back Mychale Salahuddin is headed to Southern California.
Dontay Demus Jr., a wide receiver for No. 6 Friendship, is another Maryland commit. Defensive back Chauncey Moore will head to Temple after graduation. Sophomore quarterback Dyson Smith is quickly emerging as one of the city’s best.
After this matchup, billed “The Clash of the Titans,” by D.C. Councilman Vincent Gray, ended in a brawl in the DCSAA Championship last December, a September meeting with so much talent is another chance to prove what city athletes can do on the field.
The kind of position-by-position matchups these teams provide would make some WCAC fans jealous.
Boykin, at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, will play in man coverage against Demus, 6-4, 205. The two will be teammates in college.
Flythe will cover wide receiver Chris Ferguson, who last year played quarterback for the Knights.
Salahuddin, a four-star recruit, will run against a Friendship defense, led up front by Terrance Harris and Hassan Terry, that has yet to allow a point and has surrendered 69 yards of total offense through two games.
But perhaps more important that the result — given the state of football in the District, it’s likely the teams will meet again in another DCSAA championship game — is the stage it provides these student athletes. Finally, another decent local team, with equally exceptional athletes and equally accomplished coaches.
It is a spectacle, barring another melee, the city can be proud of and point toward.
“We play some good football here in the city, too,” Hunter said, “and people will see that on Friday.”
» SPALDING OFFENSE HASN’T MISSED A STEP
The No. 10 Cavaliers lost quarterback Evan Fochtman to graduation after finishing 9-2 last season, but return every other major cog in the offense.
That of course includes tailback Julius Chestnut, who rushed for 706 and 17 touchdowns as a junior. He opened the 2017 season with 96 yards and four scores in a 56-14 win over Annapolis.
“We’re experienced. We have a lot of guys who have been in the mix under the lights,” Coach Kyle Schmitt said. “It’s an exciting team to coach.”
Spalding hosts Good Counsel on Friday at 7 p.m.
» THIS CONDITIONING DRILL MUST BE AWFUL
Yeah, it’s awful, but it’s also what college football teams run to get in shape to run a hurry-up “Air Raid” offense, National Christian Coach Andre Kates said.
Kates played at Indiana and spent time in the Baltimore Ravens organization before coaching in the high school ranks. The Hoosiers didn’t have the size to compete with Big Ten Conference powers like Michigan and Ohio State, just like the Eagles don’t have the size to match up with better public school teams, let alone DeMatha and St. John’s.
So Kates brought in the same air-raid offense Indiana used during his time there, and to get players in shape, the Eagles run a drill called “10 100s” at the end of each practice.
It’s 10 100-yard dashes. Skill players have to complete them in 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Linemen get 4 minutes, 13 seconds.
“We went out and watched Oxon Hill and St. John’s and DeMatha,” Kates said. “They’re way bigger than us. I already tell our kids, ‘We’re starting from behind. We don’t have the size like they do.’ We have to put ourselves at an advantage. We have to do something different. We have to go fast.”
» ST. JOHN’S CANCELS GAME VS. IMG ACADEMY BECAUSE OF HURRICANE IRMA
St. John’s game scheduled for Friday night at national powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has been canceled because of Hurricane Irma’s impact on the west coast of Florida. The game will not be rescheduled.
The Cadets defeated St. Joseph’s (N.J.) last Saturday, 42-25. They will host St. John Bosco (Calif.) on Sept. 23.
» STUART QB IS “THE BEST-KEPT SECRET IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA”
Who is Ayhan Yenican? The Stuart quarterback who threw for 367 yards and 5 touchdowns last week.
“He’s the best-kept secret in Northern Virginia,” Raiders Coach Clarence Martin said.
Martin caught glimpses of what Yenican, at 6-3, 210 pounds, could do last year, when he went under center after Stuart’s starter went down, and threw for more than 400 yards in a game. Martin gave him some snaps here and there for the rest of the season, but it was never truly Yenican’s offense until this season.
“It was important to have a full offseason with him as the definite starter,” Martin said. “He has great chemistry with the receivers.”
Martin is high on Yenican’s downfield accuracy. Take a look at this deep ball, and you’ll understand why.
» DeMATHA QB LENHART SET TO RETURN AFTER KNEE INJURY
Stags senior quarterback Ty Lenhart left in the third quarter of DeMatha’s 36-0 win against Franklin last week with a sprained knee. He threw for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-12 passing. He told the Hyattsville Life & Times he’ll be healthy enough to start on Friday against McDonogh (Baltimore).
“I couldn’t breathe when I got up, and then my leg started hurting,” he said. Lenhart also had the wind knocked out of him on the play. “I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know my leg got hurt.’ But I’m all right. I just have to put a brace on it, and I’ll be fine for next week.”
» CAN C.H. FLOWERS’ DEFENSE BE THE FIRST TO STOP JADEN FAULKNER?
C.H. Flowers has taken notice. But the Jaguars (2-0) believe their defense will be the one finally to stop Faulkner on Saturday.
“Jaden will see things he’s never seen from a defense before,” senior defensive end Jamree Kromah said.
The C.H. Flowers defense has allowed a combined 10 points in wins over Patterson and Bel Air this season. The Jaguars’ dominance starts up front, Coach Dameon Powell said, with discipline from the defensive line trickling down to the rest of the unit, which plays in a 4-2-5 alignment that features five defensive backs.
Kromah, who is verbally committed to Old Dominion, said the team plays a gap-control defense, with the lineman reading their keys and picking their spots. They don’t rush, instead biding their time for the right chance to attack.
“We fly to the ball, we gang tackle,” junior defensive end Devin Sanders said. “They’re never going to see anything like this the rest of the season.”
» FREEDOM-WOODBRIDGE’S BIG-TIME OFFENSE ISN’T SURPRISING ANYMORE
The Eagles are done sneaking up on anyone in Prince William County — and they don’t have to. With nine starters returning on both sides of the ball, including junior running back Tyquan Brown and the entire offensive line, Freedom-Woodbridge has started the season by crushing its first three opponents.
Last Saturday, the Eagles beat 2014 Virginia 4A state champion Lake Taylor 58-7 to push their season point total to 188. Brown has 348 yards and six touchdowns on 46 carries, and senior quarterback A.J. Felton has thrown for 519 yards and six touchdowns to go along with six rushing touchdowns.
“Tyquan is our meat and potatoes along with the offensive line, but we’ve been getting all our skill positions involved” second-year Coach Darryl Overton said. “After last year, nothing in our district is new to us. Now we know what it takes to win in our district.”
After their latest win, the Eagles took time to throw a little shade at Lake Taylor and the Hampton Roads area code.
» MADISON QB OUT 2-3 WEEKS
Warhawks senior quarterback John Cothran left Madison’s win over West Potomac last week with a knee injury the team feared could be season-ending. Instead doctors told Cothran he’ll likely miss two to three weeks, he told the Post. He’s set to get an MRI Friday to confirm there are no ligament tears.
The No. 12 Warhawks face No. 7 Stone Bridge on Friday in Ashburn.
» GONZAGA READY FOR ANNUAL JESUIT CLASSIC
No. 5 Gonzaga has won the last five iterations of the annual Jesuit Gridiron Classic against Georgetown Prep, but last year’s matchup was the closest in recent years, with Gonzaga narrowly escaping with a 21-20 victory.
Eagles Coach Randy Trivers is banking on two things that he’s come to expect from the historic matchup, which dates all the way back to 1891.
“It’s going to draw a great crowd,” Trivers said of the game, whose proceeds will benefit the Washington Jesuit Academy, a tuition-free middle school that helps place boys from low-income neighborhoods in private schools around the area.
“[Prep Coach Dan Paro] is going to have his team well prepared,” Trivers added. “They’re going to be fundamentally sound, they’re going to play with great effort and they’re talented.”
The Little Hoyas enter the game unbeaten after opening the season with victories over O’Connell and Gilman, while Gonzaga is coming off a soundly executed 30-6 victory over the Peddie School in New Jersey.
» Monday notebook: Prince George’s County earns big wins over private schools
» Week 3 rewind: This time, Oxon Hill holds on with 19-12 win over Riverdale Baptist
» Week 3 rewind: Madison eventually finds its footing in 38-16 win over West Potomac
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a monster Week One: 7 catches, 93 yards, 2 touchdowns.
But Diggs, a two-way player at Good Counsel, was our All-Met defensive player of the year in 2011. Redskins defensive lineman Jonathan Allen cornerback Kendall Fuller (who went to Good Counsel with Diggs) were also on the All-Met defensive first team.
Here’s our team photo:
And here’s what we wrote about Diggs:
Repeat All-Met was a threat on nearly every play as Falcons went 12-0 and won third consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title. At cornerback, Diggs was seventh on the team with 31.5 tackles (5.5 for losses), intercepted four passes, broke up 10 passes and forced three fumbles. On offense, he caught 36 passes for 770 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing 17 times for 277 yards and three touchdowns. Also returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns. Of his 13 touchdowns, 10 were on plays that were at least 37 yards.
Michael Errigo, Dan Roth, Dillon Mullan and Joshua Needelman contributed to this report.