Battling cramps for most of the night, Friendship Collegiate Jay Cammon, Jr. had to continue to fight. The cramps began in the first quarter, and limited the linebacker/tailback to just two carries in the Knights’ season opener against St. Frances (Baltimore) Friday at Spingarn. He also missed a couple of defensive possessions.
But with St. Frances at Friendship’s 40-yard line, and the Knights holding a two-point lead, Friendship turned to its senior to make a play.
With less than one minute remaining, St. Frances dialed up a passing play. Cammon back pedaled into his zone, then saw the Panthers receiver make a cut on a post route. He jumped the route and snagged the ball with 50 seconds remaining to clinch the Knights’ 14-12 victory.
“First the trainer said I was supposed to be out, and I knew the team needed me. I put my helmet on and told my coach to put me back in,” Cammon said. “I told [the defense] we can’t let them get any more yards. I made the right read, I believe.”
The Knights two touchdowns came on runs by Vincent Abney and Donnell Thompson, in the first and third quarter, respectively. St. Frances answered each score, but a safety early in the first quarter provided the difference for Friendship.
“I think both teams played really hard. There was some young guys on both sides of the ball,” Knight Coach Mike Hunter said. “I think the first game had the kind of mistakes you’d expect, and they affected both teams.”
Cammon finished the evening with eight tackles, and the Knights totaled four interceptions. The Knights will travel to Baltimore to face Dunbar on Friday, then face Wilson on Sept. 12 at Catholic University as part of the Pigskin Classic.
Friendship honored the passing of former standout Marquese Meadow by adding the phrase “I haven’t eaten” to its pregame chant. Meadow, who died Sunday from complications of heat stroke, used the phrase to motivate the team last season. The team also plans to add a helmet stick featuring Meadow’s number, 57.
Much is expected of Ballou this season, and a defense that features two senior Football Bowl Subdivision commits and juniors with increasing college interest is essential to the Knights success.
Ballou opened the season Friday with a 41-0 rout of Perry Street Prep at Spingarn, and that star-studded defense played a starring role. The Knights forced five fumbles — two by senior outside linebacker Ayinde Morris. He forced turnovers on a punt return and a rushing play.
“I think we did great, and that’s just the beginning of the season,” Morris said. “It’s much more to come than that. On the run play, he cut back to my side and I made the hit. And on the punt it was just a clear shot.”
Morris is undersized at linebacker at 5-foot-8, 150-pounds, but he makes up for it with a fiery approach to the game. The defense uses the first-year player’s energy for inspiration. Morris played Pop Warner growing up, but this is his first year of high school football after transferring from Friendship Collegiate.
“Everybody feeds off my tempo,” Morris said. “You have to be passionate playing football, you can’t be a dull person. They feed off my aggression.”