Washington, D.C.’s Dunbar Crimson Tide had already locked up a playoff appearance in the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) playoffs, and all that was left was capturing the No. 1 seed in their West division. The Tide put that final stamp on their regular season Nov. 5 by washing away the Coolidge Colts, 38-6, on senior night at Dunbar.

With an offense firing on all cylinders, Dunbar scored 26 second-half points and held Coolidge to 123 total yards to set up a rematch with longtime rival and the DCIAA-East No. 2 seed, Ballou.

Dunbar (8-2, 4-0 DCIAA) glided up and down the field behind 169 passing yards and two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Lamel Matthews. Matthews found Rasheed Johnson for a five-yard score on Dunbar’s opening possession midway through the first quarter, before a three-yard touchdown run from tailback Curlee Walker gave Dunbar a 14-0 halftime lead.

Walker then scored on another short run at the 7:20 mark in the third quarter to give Dunbar a three-touchdown lead. Dunbar coach Craig Jeffries then decided to go for the jugular. With Coolidge reeling, Dunbar recovered an onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff to give them the ball back at midfield.

Matthews later capitalized on a mix-up in pass coverage by Coolidge, finding James Warren in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard score which made it 27-0 with close to five minutes remaining in the third.

Coolidge (4-6, 3-1) finally got on the board on their following possession after a pair of Dunbar personal foul penalties set them up inside Dunbar’s 10-yard line. Backup quarterback Calvin Brown found Felonte Misher on an eight-yard toss to avoid the shutout with 33 seconds left in the third quarter.

Despite the loss, Coolidge will advance to the playoffs to face the DCIAA-East’s top seed, the H.D. Woodson Warriors. Coolidge will hope to have starting quarterback Femi Bamiro healthy after leaving in the second quarter against Dunbar with an elbow injury. Coolidge has officially rebounded from a 0-5 start to make the playoffs, but head coach Natalie Randolph knows the real season is about to begin.

“It’s win or go home now,” Randolph said.

The win put the final touches on a 13th straight postseason appearance for Dunbar and Jeffries.

“I’m real proud of this group of guys, we’re still young but I see great potential in these guys and we’re coming together,” he said.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO