By: Erin Thacker
WASHINGTON (WUSA 9) — On Thursday, while families line their dinner tables with turkey, yams and pies, H.D. Woodson and Ballou will line the football field to kick off the 45th annual Turkey Bowl.
H.D. Woodson and Ballou have not played each other in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (DCIAA) Turkey Bowl since 2009.
The Warriors have won the DCIAA title 11 times, including last year when H.D. Woodson defeated Woodrow Wilson 25-13.
“The hardest part is getting this far,” said Woodson Head Coach Steve Scott. “Now it’s just playing a football game.”
Being reigning champs does put pressure on the team, but Scott said the best team will win at the end of the day.
“The cream of the crop is going to rise to the top, whether it be Woodson or Ballou.”
Scott said when the Warriors had their Turkey Bowl luncheon, the theme was “repeat.” He said H.D. Woodson’s goal is to bring home another championship.
“We’re going to run the ball Thursday,” said Scott. “It’s going to be a great game.”
The Knights of Ballou have finished runner-up in the Turkey Bowl three times and won the championship in 2006, defeating Dunbar 34-33. Although none of the 2014 players have played in a Turkey Bowl, Head Coach Jason Lane said the Knights are determined to make this their year.
“They’re playing with a lot of heart,” said Lane. “They’re working really hard and they really want it bad.”
Unlike his team, Lane said this is not his first Turkey Bowl. Coolidge made it to the bowl when he was coach, but the team did not win the championship. Being an alumnus of Ballou, Lane said coming home and winning the title would be special to him.
“It would not only mean a lot to the kids, it would mean a lot to the community,” said Lane. “They’re not just playing for themselves. They’re playing for the entire community.”
H.D. Woodson may have a tradition of winning, but Lane said the Knights are going to play hard.
“We will play until the last whistle,” said Lane. “We will not give up.”
The Turkey Bowl kicks off at 11 a.m. at Eastern High School.
The Turkey Bowl champion will play the winner of the Friendship and Gonzaga game for the DCSAA Class AA championship at Eastern High School on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m.