On the first play from scrimmage Friday night, North Point junior tailback Marquel Dickerson ran to his left, turned the corner and dashed 80 yards for a touchdown against a Friendship Collegiate squad that had limited past opponents this season to an average of five points per game.
And if it wasn’t clear at that moment, Dickerson and the Eagles continued to re-emphasize throughout their 27-18 upset victory over the third-ranked Knights that confidence was a crucial factor in what became a shocking outcome. One team, the previously-undefeated visitors, entered with too much; the other, a home squad backed against the figurative wall as it pertained to its playoff hopes, had just enough.
When it was over, Friendship Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim gathered his players and berated them for their lack of focus and execution. He was critical of himself and of his coaching staff, as well.
“We’re not as good as y’all think we are,” Rahim told his players, who had entered halftime trailing, 20-0. “You can’t spot teams 20 points and think we’re just going to come back.”