Credit: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery

The rise of charters over the past decade has effectively created a second education system atop D.C.’s traditional public schools. And in 2011, that two-track arrangement extended into sports. The best football team in the city, by far, was at Friendship Collegiate Academy, a charter. Friendship had no home field or locker rooms—and couldn’t even develop local rivalries, because charters aren’t allowed into the public schools’ athletic league. But while the DCPS league again grappled with the sorts of humiliating clerical snafus that have long hampered it, Friendship’s team thrived. In an October matchup billed as “The Real Turkey Bowl,” Friendship trounced defending DCPS champs H.D. Woodson High School, 46-6. The city’s player of the year was Friendship’s running back, Albert Reid. The most prized recruit in town was Friendship’s lineman, Eddie Goldman. Last year’s Friendship team had 14 players that got college scholarships; this year’s squad should top that. As more football parents learn about this collegiate pipeline, the talent shift from public to charter school will only get more pronounced.