Click here to view a slideshow of Woodson’s victory over Dunbar.

Appeals and scholastic investigations aside, the H.D. Woodson Warriors still had a game to play. With the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association (DCIAA) football championship—the Turkey Bowl—coming up, the Warriors spent their week shuffling game plans between two opponents as they awaited an official ruling between Dunbar and Ballou.

A late switch last week had placed the Dunbar Crimson Tide in the Turkey Bowl after Ballou was disqualified for using an illegible player in their Nov. 13 playoff win over the Tide. After D.C. Public Schools interim chancellor Kaya Henderson rejected an appeal by Ballou on Nov. 24, the matchup was set and the Turkey Bowl was ready to roll. But as the game got out of hand late in the fourth quarter, departing crowd members were overheard shouting “Poetic justice” as they headed for the exits. The Warriors however, just called it their third straight DCIAA title as they dismantled Dunbar 44-12 on Thanksgiving Day at Eastern High School.

With just under four minutes left in the second quarter, Woodson opened up a 14-6 lead after Theodore Boone’s 16-yard touchdown run. But just before halftime the Tide’s Lamel Matthews found James Warren on a 19-yard strike to make the score 14-12, for the last score of the half and the last score of the game for Dunbar. After Terron Buchanan’s 15-yard scoring toss to Kenneth Crawley extended the Warrior’s lead to 20-12, Dunbar found themselves on the Warriors’ 14-yard line ready to strike and potentially tie the game late in the third quarter. But as Matthews dropped back to pass, he was pressured, forcing him to throw up a floater that Woodson defensive back Ian Jackson intercepted and raced back 86 yards to make it 26-12 at the 2:31 mark in the third period.

Both schools took turns stopping one another late into the game until Woodson put the game out of reach for good, scoring 18 points in the final two minutes. After Buchanan’s 40-yd scoring toss to Darius Redman, the Warriors used a 34-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 35-yard interception return for a score to put the stamp on the school’s and Head Coach Greg Fuller
Stephen Riley’s post-game interview with Coach Fuller.
’s third straight title. “The kids did a terrific job and I appreciate them a lot,” Fuller said.

“He (Fuller) prepared these guys good for the game today and they came out victorious,” said Ricardo Young, the starting quarterback for last year’s title team.

“Coach Fuller is an outstanding head coach,” said Woodson’s defensive player of the game, DeJon Wilson, who had three sacks and an interception return for a touchdown. “We didn’t know who we were going to play. We practiced for Ballou, then they came the next day and said we were playing Dunbar but our coach gave us a great practice. We practiced for both teams but we never thought it would end like this, though.”

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO