FORT WASHINGTON – The Friendly High School football team has had its share of highs, lows and struggles throughout the year. However, the Patriots were able to culminate the regular season with a much-needed home victory, using a reliable ground attack coupled with a stout defensive effort to secure a 30-12 win over Surrattsville High School on Nov. 1.
Running back Daniel Raymond rushed for a game-high 123 yards on 12 carries and scored on a striking 77-yard kickoff return, while quarterback Ahmed Anunay added two more touchdowns on 31 yards rushing to lift Friendly (4-5) to the win on Senior Night.
Friendly Head Coach Eugene Dubose said that after seeing the hard-fought comeback victory Surrattsville pulled off on Oct. 25 against Crossland, he knew the Patriots would have their work cut out for them. Moreover, Dubose expressed how proud he was of his team; most of whom he said had no football experience before high school.
“This win was big because, first of all, most of my seniors. I got a couple of them who never played football before,” Dubose said. “So for them to compete this year and for us to make the playoffs and win four games was real big for us.”
It took a while for both teams to get going, as neither scored while both combinded for three turnovers in the first quarter.
The Patriots capped their first drive of the second quarter with a score when DayAmonte Campbell took a handoff and rushed 26 yards to the end zone. Reimello Smith ran in a two-point conversion to put his team up 8-0.
Hornets quarterback Ryan Otey responded with 17-yard passing touchdown to Nikko Letterlough with less than five minutes to go to bring the score to 8-6 after a failed two-point conversion. Afterward, Raymond quickly answered with a riveting 77-yard kickoff return to give Friendly the 14-6 advantage at halftime.
“As a coaching staff, we always say ‘if we had five to six Daniels, we probably would have a better record,’ because he plays at 100% and he plays hard,” Dubose said. “On every play, he’s in the game no matter what.”
The Patriots followed the game plan in the third quarter and continued to rush the ball, steadily advancing their way up the field play after play. The opening drive, which lasted more than half the quarter, concluded with an 11-yard dash to the end zone by Anunay that extended the lead to 16 points.
On the ensuing drive, the Hornets did not gain much yardage after a few rushes. On 4th-and-5, Otey heaved a 35-yard pass to Kordell Diggs to cut the deficit to 22-12 approaching the fourth quarter.
Surrattsville faced an aggressive late-game blitz and were held scoreless in the fourth, while Friendly added one more score on a three-yard carry by Anunay, to cap off their home victory.
After the game was over, fans, teammates and others walked over to commend Raymond for a great game. A six-foot senior, Raymond went from an inexperienced freshman to arguably one of the most versatile athletes on his team, also being used as a quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker, safety and cornerback.
“This last game of the (regular) season, the only thing that was on my mind was my stance, alignment and my assignment,” said Raymond, a Towson commit. “I was really trying to soak in everything. Soak in the fans, soak in my brothers, soak in every play and putting my all on the line for my bros, and that’s what I did tonight.”
Raymond suffered a hyperextended knee injury late in the fourth quarter. However, he confirmed that he will be good to go in time for the first round of the state playoffs.
For Surrattsville, Otey finished the night 13 for 26 with 199 yards passing for two touchdowns. Diggs also led the way with four receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown in addition to 68 yards on 12 carries.
“We just gotta stop the self-inflicted wounds. Way too many penalties when you’re playing a quality ball club with some nice talent, you can’t have the penalties that are going to hurt you,” Surrattsville Head Coach Tommy Daniels said.
“We did good, we kept fighting till the very end. We just didn’t execute, we had a lot of self-inflicted wounds, a lot of penalties,” Otey said. “We just gotta work on that during practice this week and get ready for playoffs.”
The Hornets (3-6) will attempt to bounce back in their state playoff first-round game at Randallstown on Nov. 8 while Friendly faces Fairmont Heights.