Hamil­ton helps the Knights find some re­demp­tion


The Washington Post Sunday - - HIGH SCHOOLS - BY MADE­LINE RUNDLETT made­[email protected]­post.com

Af­ter catch­ing a deep pass to put his team up by two touch­downs, se­nior wide re­ceiver Jalen Hamil­ton sprinted to­ward the Friend­ship Col­le­giate bench in ela­tion.

This mo­ment had been a long time com­ing. Since Friend­ship’s loss to Bal­lou in last season’s D.C. State Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion Class AA ti­tle game, Hamil­ton’s phone screen car­ried a re­minder of his team’s short­com­ings — a photo of Bal­lou pos­ing in front of the cham­pi­onship ban­ner.

Hamil­ton and his Friend­ship team­mates got a taste of re­demp­tion in a 13-0 win over H.D. Woodson on Satur­day at East­ern Se­nior High.

“I changed a lot of things I did from last year af­ter los­ing an­other cham­pi­onship be­cause it hurt me,” Hamil­ton said. “We worked on that play a cou­ple of times this week, and we said if we ex­e­cute it cor­rectly, it’s go­ing to work out.”

Friend­ship (10-3) quickly got in front when se­nior cor­ner­back Amirr Ab­dul-Rahim in­ter­cepted a pass by Woodson quar­ter­back Jor­don Sharp and re­turned it for a touch­down mid­way through the first quar­ter.

“I just had to set the tone for the game with no points up,” Ab­dul-Rahim said.

Hamil­ton’s touch­down made the lead more com­fort­able for a Knights de­fense that came up big in the fourth quar­ter, forc­ing turnovers on con­sec­u­tive Woodson pos­ses­sions to close the game.

“It was de­fense. That’s what we do,” Ab­dul-Rahim said. “That’s what we’ve done all season.”

The Knights have won the DCSAA ti­tle twice in the past three years. Friend­ship’s last cham­pi­onship came against Woodson in 2016, also by a 13-0 shutout.

“Th­ese kids work very hard, and we want them to get this feel­ing at the end of the year,” Friend­ship Coach Mike Hunter said. “This year we said we’re com­ing back to get our ti­tle.”

It was a bit­ter end to the season for a Woodson team (9-4) that won nine straight af­ter it dropped its first three games of the season.

Friend­ship had been in that position be­fore, which made Satur­day’s vic­tory all the more sweet.

As the clock ran down, Hamil­ton bounced up and down the side­line con­grat­u­lat­ing his team­mates.

“It means a lot to win with this group of guys,” Hamil­ton said.

“Some of th­ese guys I’ve known since mid­dle school, so it’s big to bring the cham­pi­onship back to Friend­ship.”

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