Story by Malcolm Johnson
WASHINGTON (WUSA) — As the saying goes, “offense wins games, defense wins championships.”
If Friendship Collegiate Academy’s defense plays out the rest of the season the way they did Saturday night against the St. John’s Cadets, the Knights will likely be the first-ever D.C. state-wide champion. Friendship collected win number one with a 21-6 victory. The knights also established their 2012 identity early and often: power running and tenacious defense.
The Knights offense sputtered along for large portions of the game. What’s a struggling offense’s best friend? A a reliable running game, and that’s just what the Friendship has with Jonathan Haden. Haden rushed for 196 yards and two touchdown on 20 carries, and proved he was an every down back in the process.
“I wanted to show every one I was an every down back and that I could make big plays. They say I’m too small, I’m over rated because of my last name, I just wanted too show people what I can do,” said the junior Haden. His brother Joe, is a rising star in the NFL, playing cornerback for the Cleveland Browns.
In a game that was decided by which team made more explosive plays, St. John’s just didn’t have enough. The Cadets one touchdown on the day was by sophomore running back Omar Brown, a 24-yard dash down the right sideline in the first quarter. This would be the only time the Cadets lead the rest of the evening.
The Knights however, had no shortage of big plays. In the second quarter, Haden broke off a 64-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 6, with missed extra points by both teams. Amonta Peat caught a 21-yard touchdown pass later in the quarter, followed by a two-point conversion pass to senior wideout Davon Burris.
With a 14-6 lead going into halftime, the Knights would not give up the lead or control of the game. Defensively, Yannick Ngakoua played like a man possessed. The future Terp had four sacks and was a consistent presence in the Cadets backfield.
“I just tried to lead my team to victory, that was my main objective,” said Ngakoua. “I knew we were going to come out and do our thing, it doesn’t matter what conference the other team is from, we come out strong regardless.”
Notes: St. Johns junior linebacker Devin Williams suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter, sidelining him for the rest of the game.
St. Johns junior WR/DB Omar Truitt suffered a shoulder injury with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter.