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Woodson wades in...but Tide rolls on

Dunbar makes it four championships

(Published December 3, 2001)

By REBECCA SMITH

Staff Writer


Dunbar senior left guard Saddi Williams (65) and his teammates accept congratulations at the end of the game.

Eastern student Keturah Dickinson belts out the national anthem before the game, while members of the D.C. Public Schools Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps present the colors.

A victorious Coach Jefferies gets a lift from freshman wide receiver James McDonald (8) and junior tight end Vernon Davis (18).

Senior safety Luke Cain (10) breaks away from Woodson Warrior defenders to return a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to put Dunbar’s first points on the board.

Sophomore running back Ashley Maynard (44), who gained 131 yards to become the game’s top rusher, cradles the football as he prepares to hit the ground.

Dunbar’s Crimson Tide has earned a place in history.

After trailing by 14 points in the first half of this year’s D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championship game, Dunbar Senior High’s varsity football team managed to win its fourth consecutive Turkey Bowl contest on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22.

The 16-14 win over the H.D. Woodson Warriors made Dunbar only the second school to capture four championships in a row. All four wins came against different opponents; the Crimson Tide outplayed the Roosevelt Rough Riders in 1998, the Eastern Ramblers in 1999 and the Ballou Knights in 2000. Eastern posted its fourth consecutive football championship 40 years ago in the 1961 season.

Senior defensive back Luke Cain saved the day for defending champion Dunbar by returning a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to put the Crimson Tide on the scoreboard. Senior wide receiver Marcel Ward caught the two-point conversion pass to make the score 14-8.

"When I caught the ball, I just started running, knowing that no one was going to catch me," said Cain, who was recently named to the DCIAA West Division all-star team.

Dunbar tied the game when sophomore quarterback Stadford Brown dropped to pass but then scrambled 18 yards into the end zone, putting six more points on the board in the second quarter. Another two-point conversion, this time caught by sophomore running back Ashley Maynard, broke the tie and put Dunbar ahead to stay, 16-14.

In the fourth quarter, Woodson junior defensive back Brandon Dow recovered a Dunbar fumble at the Warriors’ 12-yard line to set up a 63-yard drive led by junior quarterback Derric Daniels. With less than two minutes left, a 42-yard field goal attempt by senior kicker Steven McCalla fell short, ending the Warriors’ hopes for the title.

Woodson came on strong in the first quarter, driving 90 yards in 10 plays for the Warriors’ first touchdown. Sophomore running back Dajuan Stover rushed for 100 yards in the game to help set up Woodson’s scoring. Junior running back Richard Fitzhugh ran the ball in from three yards out to put the Warriors on the board ahead of the defending champion Crimson Tide. Senior running back James Singletary pushed one yard through Dunbar’s goal line stance to score a touchdown in the second quarter. McCalla’s extra-point kicks were good after both touchdowns.

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The writer is a senior at Dunbar Senior High School and a "school-to-careers" intern in The Common Denominator’s High School Sportswriting Program.

Copyright 2001, The Common Denominator