Dontae Angus gripped the graphite-colored bicycle with his right hand and raised it over his head as he maneuvered around the pair of couches that have turned his garage into a hangout for friends.

His three friends, bikes in tow, were waiting in the alleyway behind his Juniata Park rowhouse. It was the last Sunday before Angus' football season begins at Martin Luther King. And the cool afternoon was his last chance to ride into the city and work on his tricks at a recently opened skate park near the Art Museum.

Despite his 6-foot-6, 320-pound frame, Angus is nimble on a bike.

The season Angus has been "waiting his whole life" for was five days away.

"This is it, my last year," Angus said. "I told everybody they better have clean uniforms - I want everything neat. No droopy pants, no saggy socks."

The two-way lineman will lead King on Friday night against Simon Gratz. He has made an oral commitment to play football next season at the University of Florida, and he aims to be the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

Long before football, Angus learned how to fix bicycles. His older brother, Devon Williams, was tired of constantly fixing Angus' bike and decided to teach him.

He has six bikes, most of which require work. Some need brakes, others need gears, and some need rims. Angus said any time he sees a bike, "I have to take it apart and fix it."

And as he carried one bike through the garage, he knew something was not quite right. He got down on his knees, quickly noticing a rear lug nut was loose.

Angus had meant to replace it, he said, and now it was so worn it would no longer hold the rim tight. He didn't have a replacement, and his friends searched their backpacks, to no avail. They said they would look at their homes for him before peddling out of the alley.

Upstairs in the kitchen, Angus' mother sizzled bacon on the stove, her reggae music blaring out the window and into the alley.

Jounieta Williams came to America from Jamaica as a child and was raised in Washington. She moved to Philadelphia when Angus was 5 and shortly after bought her first house while working 50 hours a week and earning slightly more than minimum wage.

Williams signed up Dontae, the second oldest of her five children, to play football for the Tabor Rams when he was 13. It was a tool they thought he could use to battle anger problems, as Angus said he always let little things bother him.

Instead of getting angry on the field, Angus said he would just smile and laugh.

"The only thing that bothers me now is if the referee isn't calling the other guy for holding," Angus said.

He was the Rams' biggest player, but he had never played football and was out of shape. The future Division I player began his career as a bench warmer.

He has blossomed into an aggressive pass rusher and run stopper. His coach, Ed Dunn, said Angus has a high ceiling and is still learning the game. Angus said he likes defense better. It's simple, he said, and there's more contact. The Gators recruited him to play defensive tackle.

This last high school season also will be Angus' first playing for King. He spent his first two high school seasons at Olney before transferring to Germantown.

Four months into his junior year, the district announced that Germantown and seven other high schools would be shuttered after the school year. Angus, along with Dunn, moved to Martin Luther King.

To qualify for college, Angus had to raise his grades this summer in mathematics through online courses. But the computer desk in his unfinished basement, which doubles as his bedroom, is empty. The house doesn't have an Internet connection, and Angus passed his computer to a friend after he rebuilt the hard drive.

His mother was working as a private care nurse but was laid off in January. She used the time off to fix up her house and said she is confident her diversified skills can land her another job.

Money was tight this summer, causing King's football coaches - many of whom volunteer - to pool together money to pay for Angus' classes, and he used a computer at the school.

After Angus' friends leave the alleyway, he heads back through the garage and into his bedroom. A miniature Florida Gators helmet sits atop Angus' television, and he keeps his sneakers on a Martin's potato-bread rack. The binder that contained his anime drawings, another hobby, was ruined a few months ago after a pipe burst in the laundry room.

"He's like a big teddy bear off the field," Dunn said. "He's sensitive; he likes art and fixing bikes. He's a really laid-back kid."

Williams thinks her son should stop riding bikes and focus on getting his driver's license. He already has a permit and practices in a neighborhood friend's smart car. It's amazing, his mother said, that he can even fit himself inside.

Williams sat on a living room couch and waited to see if his friends would return with the part. Either way, he had to continue his preparation for Friday.

The season of his life was just five days away.