The Sidwell Friends football team won its first DC State Championship (A Division) on Saturday, November 28, with a gripping come-from-behind victory over Eastern High School. A game that saw over 80 points scored came down to a gutsy defensive stand by the Quakers to preserve a 44 - 38 point win when Josh Portnoy '16 strip sacked the elusive Eastern quarterback at the Sidwell Friends' five yard line on the final play of the game. Read more coverage of the game from The Washington Post.
The Quakers went into the 4th quarter with an eight point lead, 30 - 22, but the game was far from over. Sidwell Friends added a touchdown pass from Ted Hefter '16 to Dylan Greynolds '17 at the 8:32 mark to make it 36 - 22, but could not get the two point conversion (check out a video of the touchdown here). For a time, it seemed as if that would haunt the Quakers. Eastern made a big play and answered with their own touchdown less than twenty seconds later, and added the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 36 - 30. With eight minutes to play, the Quakers were unable to string together a long drive, and Eastern got the ball back at midfield after Sidwell Friends gambled and came up short on a 4th down conversion. Eastern’s quarterback Jarome Johnson, who had had a big day, wasted no time in driving his team downfield and running it in on for a 20-yard touchdown. Johnson then hit a receiver in the back of the end zone to convert the extra points and give Eastern a 38 - 36 lead with 5:58 on the clock. The Quakers ensuing drive stalled at midfield, and Eastern got the ball back with three minutes to play. On the following series, Sidwell Friends’ defense came up with the first of two defensive stands in the final three minutes, and the Quakers had the ball at their own 45 yard line with two minutes to play.
The Eastern defense smothered the Quakers on the first three downs, and Sidwell Friends' championship chances came down to the longest of long shots, needing the 4th and 14 conversion to keep their drive alive. Hefter eluded the Eastern pass rush and found Greynolds on the near sideline, and the Quakers had the first down by inches. Moments later, Sidwell Friends was back in the same position, needing another 4th down conversion (this time on 4th and 3rd) to continue the drive. Hefter and Greynolds once again came through in the clutch, connecting for the first down. Hefter then took his team up to the line quickly, where he drew in the Eastern pass rush and delivered a short screen to R.C. Walbrook '18 who took the ball in 25 yards for the go-ahead touchdown (Hefter's 3rd touchdown pass of the day). With the score 42 - 38, Mark Chichester '18 (game MVP with 30 carries for 183 yards and two rushing touchdowns on the day on offense, while also playing the full game on defense) made a superhuman second effort to run in the two-point conversion, giving Sidwell Friends a 44 - 38 lead with 54 seconds left.
It almost seemed as if the Quakers had scored too soon, when Eastern’s Johnson ran 30 yards to bring the ball up past midfield with over 30 seconds yet to play. Johnson then found a receiver, who seemed destined for the Sidwell Friends end zone before the pursuing Quaker defense brought him down at the five yard line with five seconds on the clock. On the snap, Quaker defender Portnoy slipped through the blockers and sacked Johnson, forcing the fumble to end the game as time expired. (Click here for a link to a short video from The Washington Post of the final play.)
Congratulations to Coach John Simon, his coaching staff, and most of all to the 2015 State Championship Sidwell Quakers Football Team!
Also check out photos of the Quakers' historic season where they dominated the Frogs when taking on Maret, defeated the Panters when facing Potomac School, and were victorious at their season opener vs. George Mason High School.