Friendship Collegiate is ready to play as the D.C. State Athletic Association playoffs reach their penultimate stage. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

It’s an issue the Friendship Collegiate football team runs into every year around this time when the rest of the Washington area is already in the postseason. Due to their independent status, the Knights have an unorthodox schedule featuring a hodgepodge of teams and no league playoffs.

This year, that meant Friendship Collegiate had two bye weeks in a row before it returned to the field Saturday in a 54-6 win over Silver Oak Academy. After so much time off, actually playing in a game felt like a reward.

“It was very boring,” cornerback Christian Braswell said. “You don’t really ever get two weeks off back-to-back, so it was irritating. But at the same time, it was a time for us to get better and evaluate stuff.”

This is exactly what Coach Mike Hunter had in mind when he devised this regular-season schedule, which concludes this week with a game against fellow independent National Christian. With an eye toward the D.C. State Athletic Association Class AA playoffs later this month, he mapped out two weeks for the Knights to get rested and re-charged and then two weeks of tune-up games out of the break.

St. John’s and Gonzaga of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference won’t participate in this year’s DCSAA Class AA playoffs because of safety concerns, but Friendship (7-2) is already slated to face winless Carroll (0-9) on Nov. 26 in a semifinal matchup. The two District schools played in September, and the Knights came away with a 30-6 victory.

The winner will face this year’s Turkey Bowl champion from the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association in the DCSAA Class AA title game next month at Catholic University.

Before that, though, Hunter wanted to work out some minor kinks after an eight-game stretch to start the season in which the Knights’ defense emerged as one of the best in the Washington area. He elected to hold just three practices during the two off weeks, hopeful his team would return to the field ready to go.

The plan went off without a hitch Saturday when Friendship rolled past Silver Oak Academy. The offensive line had a strong performance opening up running lanes and protecting quarterback Chris Ferguson, Braswell came up with two interceptions and both the defense and special teams scored a touchdown.

“We went to the drawing board a lot, looked at a lot of film, so we can be in good shape and a good position for these big games,” Braswell said. “We’re not going to sleep on anybody we go against. I don’t care if they’re less talented than us. We’re going to come out every time and hit whoever’s next.”

Host B.J. Koubaroulis reveals the top plays from the week of football in the DMV area. (Video by Nick Plum for Synthesis/Koubaroulis LLC./The Washington Post)
The Big number: 78-0

Combined score in Theodore Roosevelt’s two wins over McKinley Tech this fall, including a 44-0 victory in the DCIAA Stripes semifinals last Thursday. Roosevelt will face regular season champion Bell, which shut out Cardozo in the other semifinal, in this weekend’s Gravy Bowl. Both teams will be going for their first Gravy Bowl title.

District player of the week

LB Shyheem Jackson, H.D. Woodson, Sr.

The Warriors rolled to a 44-0 win over Eastern Saturday in the DCIAA Stars semifinals and Jackson was in the middle of the defense’s shutout performance. He finished with 14 tackles, one sack and one intereception while slowing down dynamic dual-threat quarterback Jarome Johnson. Woodson will face Wilson when it attempts to capture its fourth straight Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving day.