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Top high school football teams fight for coveted state titles

After taking care of every opponent along the way, Damascus capped a perfect season with a state title route of Dundalk Thursday night. (WTOP/Noah Frank)

WASHINGTON — We still have a week to go before Virginia plays its state championship games, but in Maryland and the District, the time is now.

Damascus got the weekend off to a smashing start behind a transcendent performance from their senior feature back, Jake Funk. Already sitting on a Maryland state record-setting season with 50 touchdowns, Funk found the end zone seven times in Thursday night’s Maryland 3A state title victory over Dundalk, six of them coming in the first half. The Swarmin’ Hornets led 41-8 at the half and cruised to a 55-14 victory and the state championship that eluded them in 2014.

Wise (13-0) and Howard (13-0) will play for the 4A title Friday night.

Meanwhile, Stone Bridge (9-4) and Tuscarora (13-0) will battle it out in the Virginia 5A semifinals Friday night after surviving high-scoring affairs, as will South County (13-0) and Westfield (12-1) Saturday afternoon in the 6A bracket. But there is one more state title game taking place Saturday right here in D.C., with Gonzaga taking on H.D. Woodson.

For a stretch, it looked like Gonzaga (10-2) might run the table on the WCAC and finish among the top five or ten ranked teams in the nation. After upsetting DeMatha on national TV to move to 7-0, the Eagles were in the conference driver’s seat. But they lost a heartbreaker, letting a fourth-quarter lead slip away against rival St. John’s, the Cadets scoring the winning touchdown by inches on fourth and goal with just 30 seconds to play in a 21-17 final.

A playoff loss to Good Counsel ended their WCAC bid, but the Eagles bounced back to beat Friendship Collegiate 52-31 last week in a game that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates, setting up a rematch of last year’s DCSAA title game with Woodson (8-4).

The Warriors started the season just 2-4, but came on strong, winning their final six, including a rematch with Wilson last week, 40-24. They jumped out to a 34-6 lead, with Khalil Wright throwing for nearly 300 yards and five scores in the victory.

Gonzaga featured a balanced attack, with quarterback Sam Brown and running back Tyree Randolph each going for over 1,400 yards. Brown has accounted for 14 scores through the air, while Randolph has punched in 18 on the ground. Between the two teams, there is the promise of a high-scoring affair, as the Eagles average 33 points per game, while the Warriors have put up better than 36 during their winning streak.

WTOP will be at Howard University providing live coverage for the 2 p.m. kick on Saturday. Follow along for updates, photos and videos from the game.

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