Friendship Academy, Washington, D.C.

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For the first installment of the "Underdogs" series -- a glimpse into some of the most inspiring high school football stories in thenation -- SI.com spotlights Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, D.C. Since opening its doors in 2000, Friendship has transformed itself into one of the most well respected programs in the country, one that earned 19 college scholarships in the class of 2012.

But its rise on the gridiron was unlikely. Led by coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the Knights overcame a multitude of obstacles, from being denied entry into the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association to honing their craft on makeshift practice facilities (Friendship still doesn't even have a locker room). The team showed resilience in the face of adversity -- using its situation as steadfast motivation to succeed.

Friendship went 9-1 in 2011. And it might only be the beginning. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the Knights as they prepare for their much-anticipated 2012 campaign.

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