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Big Win for Coolidge and the DCIAA

Without question, the most impressive showing by a DCIAA football team last week came from Coolidge, which went down to Fort Washington, spotted Friendly a 14-0 halftime lead, and came back to win, 16-14, as new quarterback Anthony Bowser ran and passed for a touchdown each in the fourth quarter.

This was a huge victory not just for the Colts (who were coming off a season-opening 34-6 loss at North Canton (Ohio) Hoover, which ended in the third quarter because of lightning), but also for the DCIAA, as a whole. The league often gets panned by outsiders, who claim its talent imbalance makes it uncompetitive, and the regular season is just a formality until the top two teams – most often Dunbar and H.D. Woodson - get to face one another in the Turkey Bowl.

DCIAA teams are put in a very tough position. The schools’ athletic departments operate on very thin budgets, and football teams, the schools’ top revenue producers, know they can schedule games against opponents outside of the Washington area for a predetermined guarantee that ranges anywhere from $1,500 to upwards of $5,000. Schedule two or three of those games each year, and that can buy you a lot of equipment necessary to keep your program running.

But, at the same time, when teams come back from these games with cash in hand, they often also have a loss, sometimes an ugly one. Since peers in the Washington area have no idea how good these teams in Ohio, Pennsylvania or West Virginia are relative to them, they assume, “Hey, one of the better DCIAA teams just got beat by four touchdowns by some school out in Ohio. They must not be that good.” When this happens time after time to each DCIAA team that schedules a guarantee, it has a very detrimental effect on the league’s perception. Some teams occasionally schedule strong Washington-area opponents, but are seldom close. Dunbar had a two-year contract to play Good Counsel in 2007 and ’08, while Woodson played DeMatha in 2004 and ’05. The DCIAA lost all four games, none decided by fewer than 26 points.

So, give Coolidge a lot of credit for scheduling this game. Friendly is hardly a walkover, even if it may not have the talent it had a couple of years ago when the Patriots went undefeated en route to the 2006 Maryland 3A title. The game came about when John Morgan took over at Friendly prior to last season after coaching at Fort Valley State and North Carolina Central the previous four years. He had recruited the area, and knew many local coaches. Coolidge's Jason Lane told him that if Friendly needed a game to give him a call. The two will play next year at Coolidge.

“I believe in playing the toughest opponents you can get,” Lane said, “because it makes you better the next time you play someone tough.”

We’ll see if that holds true this week. Coolidge hosts Ballou on Friday night. The Knights have outscored their first two opponents, 76-16, to start 2-0 for the first time this decade.

By Alan Goldenbach  |  September 8, 2009; 10:07 AM ET
Categories:  DCIAA football  | Tags: Ballou, Coolidge, DCIAA  
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A big win for the DCIAA indeed, but I'm surprised at the lack of play Friendship Edison's win over Gonzaga got from you guys this weekend. I know you featured them last week, but still, beating Gonzaga is a big deal - this program has been on the upswing for a few years and handily knocking off Dunbar and Gonzaga back to back is not something a lot of schools can boast about having done over the last 20 years or so. I hope we get more stories about FECA, and about how this program has been put together. Can they serve as a template for other charter schools to follow? Will this ratchet up pressure on DCPS to create a charter school league, or to allow charter schools to compete in the DCIAA (as I believe the public school league in Philly does)?

Posted by: MoMonroe | September 8, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the previous poster...Charter schools with Friendship Collegiate Academy leading the way should be allowed into the DCIAA if not for the only reason but to legitimize the diluted DCIAA championship. with Dunbar (who is falling off because of their sub par education opportunities)and 1 of 2 others will be there every year. Turkey Bowl is a real good name for that game.

Posted by: lightagent | September 12, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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