Sidwell Friends Coach John Simon put together an unconventional nonconference schedule this fall, slating regional teams far and wide to prepare for the Mid-Atlantic Conference season. There was Randolph Macon from Ashland to start the season, followed by Mercersburg Academy from Pennsylvania and schools from Baltimore and Hampton.
On Saturday, Simon’s team will meet Carroll in the inaugural District of Columbia Statewide Athletic Association Class A championship at Wilson, another unfamiliar opponent from the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. And it will be considered much more than an exotic matchup between schools on opposite ends of the city map – it represents an opportunity at another championship for the Quakers (6-4) and Lions (3-8), and a considerable step forward in the ambitious postseason agenda of the DCSAA.
“Carroll is playing in a very, very tough conference. . . no matter what their record is, they’re playing in a league that is probably one of the top leagues in the country,” Simon said. “And for us to be able to go up against them, it’s quite an honor for the school, because this is a team that, if you were to ask me to probably schedule them as one of our regular games, I probably wouldn’t do it, because they are a great team playing in a great conference.”
Sidwell Friends played Flint Hill in its regular season finale on Nov. 2nd, needing to beat the Huskies for a share of the MAC championship. The Quakers lost 48-15, but unlike in years past, there wasn’t a total deflation after the loss. The season was extended after earning a berth into the Class A playoffs.
That led to a 62-20 win over KIPP last weekend in the semifinal, as the Quakers were led by 273 yards passing from quarterback Ted Hefter and 119 yards rushing from senior Diamente Holloway. Hefter, who has thrown for 1,661 yards and 25 touchdowns this season, threw six touchdowns in the win, including four to Holloway.
Carroll shutout Cesar Chavez 49-0 in the other semifinal, snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Lions had one of their best offensive showings of the season in the win, as Keon Singleton and Christian Melgar combined for 264 yards rushing on 24 carries. Melgar has had a productive sophomore campaign, rushing for 933 yards and five touchdowns, while quarterback Scottie Law Jr. (who threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another 92 yards against Cesar Chavez) has accounted for over 900 yards of total offense and four touchdowns this year.
The new championship game represents expansion in the football postseason schedule for the DCSAA, which already boasts a AA division that features teams from the DCIAA and some public charter schools. The formation of the new playoff is aimed at giving “student athletes who traditionally don’t have the opportunity to compete for a championship, that opportunity,” said Clark Ray, the DCSAA Director of Athletics.
“For us, I think this is a step in the right direction,” Ray said, “in giving student athletes the opportunity to be exposed, and continue playing.”