While fans tried to keep warm with hot chocolate and hand warmers, junior running back Charles Brooks brought the heat for Bell High School, rushing for 323 yards and three touchdowns as Bell defeated McKinley, 34-27, on Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C.

The two teams recently faced each other in the last game of the regular season, when Bell defeated McKinley, 7-6, on Nov. 7.

“They knew what we were going to do, we knew what they were going to do,” said Bell coach Desmond Alexander. “You just had to stop it, and that’s what it came down to.”

McKinley senior Dawayne Hill ran an 86-yard kick return into the end zone to tie the game at seven points in the first quarter. Bell junior quarterback Marlon West later scored on a quarterback keeper to give his team the lead heading into halftime.

Bell broke away in the third quarter, beginning with their first drive when Brooks passed the ball to junior receiver Dewonn Brown, who turned a trick play into a 63-yard touchdown reception.

Brooks rushed for two more touchdowns in the third quarter, including an 87-yard run that not only showcased his lightning speed in an open field, but also his ability to break defenders’ tackles.

“I was just being tough,” said Brooks, who has rushed for 2,122 yards this season. “And I got to thank my O-line (offensive line).”

Heading into the fourth quarter, McKinley trailed Bell by three touchdowns, but the game was far from over. McKinley junior receiver Tyler Castle—who finished with six receptions for 105 yards—caught a highly contested 21-yard touchdown reception with just over five minutes left to play. Senior receiver Zachary Denny later rushed for a 52-yard touchdown to bring McKinley within seven points. However, their late efforts weren’t enough, and Bell held on for the victory.

McKinley junior quarterback Derrick Taylor completed 13 of 27 passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns and also had one rushing touchdown. Denny had four carries for 78 yards and two receptions for 62 yards. Bell sophomore running back Tajon Tutt also contributed five carries for 25 yards.

According to Coach Alexander, Bell hasn’t won a championship in more than four decades. The Griffins will look to change that when they face Eastern in the 2014 DCIAA Gravy Bowl on Nov. 22 at Eastern High School. Eastern defeated Phelps, 46-14, in the first round of playoffs.