Ward 8’s Johnson Center College Represents D.C. Nicely in West Va. Street Journey

The John Hayden Johnson Center College Panthers soccer workforce, based mostly in Ward 8, confidently walked out of the entrance of the college with dozens of scholars, school, employees, dad and mom, and neighborhood members cheering them on Sept. 8 to the bus ready to take them to their subsequent sport, towards the College Center College Hawks in Morgantown, West Virginia.

“We’re pleased with you, say we’re pleased with you,” chanted 5 members of the college’s cheerleading squad a number of occasions.

The younger males wore white costume shirts, khakis pants and a black and gold striped tie, representing the college colours. They walked single file to the bus carrying in a single day baggage and a few had paper baggage for snacks. Whereas the soccer gamers went to the bus, anti-violence activist and entrepreneur Ron Moten wore a white poster saying, “Let’s Go Johnson.” Some college students stood in entrance of the college constructing holding posters saying, “You Acquired This Panthers,” and “Let’s Go JMS.”

The Panthers have amassed a formidable win streak on the gridiron. The final time they misplaced a sport was in 2018. They've gained eight metropolis championships in recent times. They have been first within the nation rating for center faculty soccer in 2022. They have been touring to Morgantown to contest for the nationwide championship. Nevertheless, Panthers head coach Mike Sharrieff mentioned he's most pleased with the truth that lots of the gamers are on the college’s honor roll.

D.C. Helps the Panthers

When Moten discovered a couple of weeks in the past concerning the soccer workforce’s quest to play within the nationwide championship sport however lacked the funds to make the journey, he went into motion.

“They got here to my youth summit, and it broke my coronary heart that these younger males didn’t have the cash to go to West Virginia regardless of the obstacles they face and the good issues they're doing,” mentioned Moten, 53. “They've obtained no media consideration for what they're doing. Me and some others determined to step up and assist them.”

Moten mentioned by serving to the Panthers go to West Virginia, he was sending a message to younger folks locally.

“Within the Black neighborhood, there's a mentality that it's cool to be a idiot,” he mentioned. “That's mistaken, and we now have to do what we are able to to place a cease to that.”

D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (I-At Massive) was on the send-off and he mentioned the occasion produced reminiscences.

“I bear in mind as a younger man taking part in AAU basketball and touring all day to a match in Florida,” McDuffie, 49, mentioned. “That journey produced many reminiscences, and I shaped relationships that I nonetheless have right this moment.”

McDuffie famous the neighborhood turnout for the send-off and mentioned, “that is what success seems to be like, that is what a village seems to be like.”

Nicole Jasper was one of many dad and mom who attended the send-off. She is the mom of David Jasper, a sixth grader.

“I needed to be right here, that is his first journey,” Jasper, 52, mentioned. “That is an thrilling expertise for the kids right here. Coach Mike has completed an exquisite job with these younger folks.”

The Sport 

Sharrieff, 59, mentioned the workforce defeated the Hawks, 42-0. He mentioned the workforce’s linemen carried out effectively. The sport was performed on the stadium of College Center College.

“We had excellent work from our offensive line,” he mentioned. “Our line of defense did effectively additionally. Their physicality made all of the distinction within the sport.

Sharrieff mentioned gamers Trevor Mercer, Donovan Burch, Chris Alston, John Strickland, Daquran Tibbs, Tayron Burwell and Uriah Johnson have been among the many gamers who stood out. The coach mentioned he's wanting ahead to a productive season and hopes that his workforce will journey to Florida and Canada to play in 2024.

The Journey

Sharrieff mentioned there have been no issues with the 50 gamers that made the journey, together with assistant coaches and different employees.

“The younger males acted completely,” he mentioned. “We received quite a few compliments for our workforce’s manners. I educate my gamers to respect authority.

The coach mentioned on the Courtyard Marriott positioned in Morgantown, he had assistant coaches on every flooring the place the gamers have been roomed. There have been two gamers per room. Sharrieff mentioned there have been no issues with the in a single day keep.

“On Saturday [Sept. 9] the gamers needed to be foyer dressed and able to go by 6 a.m.,” he mentioned. “Lots of the gamers have been within the foyer by 5:45 a.m.”

All through the journey, the gamers ate at a Golden Corral in Frederick, Maryland, and Oliveria’s in Morgantown on Sept. 8. On Sept.  9, they ate at IHOP for breakfast and Buffalo Wild Wings after the sport earlier than departing for the District. They arrived at Johnson Center College within the night.

Taryon Burwell, 14 and an eighth grader, mentioned the journey to Morgantown was pleasing.

“The journey was enjoyable, however we noticed it as a enterprise,” Tayron mentioned. “It was expertise and we actually needed to mature when it got here to staying with our roommate. That's what they do in school and now we all know what it's like.”

Ziyon Jenifer, 13, who can be within the eighth, agreed together with his teammate.

“It was a tremendous expertise,” Ziyon mentioned. “That is one thing I've by no means completed earlier than. The entire expertise was nice. The room was good. The meals was good.”