At the start of the fourth quarter, it is traditional for the H.D. Woodson football team to hold up four fingers. The gesture is meant to remind the team to continue playing hard until the clock reaches zero.

However, at Woodson’s D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association(DCIAA) playoff game against rival Washington’s Dunbar H.S., the players lifted four fingers in the air knowing they were 12 minutes away from returning to the Turkey Bowl. Woodson (7-4) went on to beat Dunbar in a decisive win, 29-7, on Nov. 20.

This will be Woodson’s sixth Turkey Bowl appearance in eight years. The Warriors—who are seeking a three-peat—will face a Wilson Tigers (11-1) team that has won 11 games straight.  Wilson defeated Woodson, 28-18, in their previous meeting on Oct. 16.

“We feel like the underdog,” said junior running back Marcel Foster. “We wanted Wilson because they beat us the first time, so we’re just on ‘get back.’”  

In order to return to the championship, Woodson had to overcome a tough Dunbar team led by star quarterback Chrisdeion Alston.

Alston ran in Dunbar’s only touchdown at the top of the third quarter, but the quarterback was unable to establish a consistent passing game. Woodson’s defense was prepared for anything Alston threw their way. 

“This is our third time playing them, so we basically knew everything they were doing,” said Woodson junior cornerback Charles Peeler. “Our coaches prepared us well. We just had to play and execute.”

A few of Alston’s passes went through Peeler’s fingertips, including one in the fourth quarter that was nearly a pick-six in an open field. By reading the quarterback’s eyes, Peeler was able to grab one interception in the third quarter.

“I already knew the routes. I was just taking a chance and jumping everything,” said Peeler.

H.D. Woodson will face Wilson at the Turkey Bowl on Nov. 26 at Eastern High School in Washington, D.C.