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Friendship Collegiate faces H.D. Woodson tonight in what’s being billed as The Real Turkey Bowl.
The game has scads of story lines. The most dramatic: Woodson is the past; Friendship is the future.
Woodson is the defending public schools champion. They’ve got a new state of the art stadium and new state of the art school building equipped with new state of the art locker rooms.
Friendship is a public charter school. They have no football stadium to call home. Their campus on Minnesota Ave. NE doesn’t even have a locker room. Players dress out for practice day after day in industrial-sized storage bins plopped down on a patch of dirt at raggedy Fort Mahan Park.
That’s why the Knights are known by both my readers as the Nation’s Best Football Team That Uses a Storage Bin as a Locker Room.
What the Friendship football program has in abundance, however, is talent: 14 players from last year’s squad got college scholarships. This year’s team is even more loaded. Playing a tough schedule of almost all road games, the Knights have gone 7-1 and sure look like the best team in the city.
Woodson belongs to the DCIAA, the traditional public school athletic league. DCIAA football, meanwhile, is having perhaps its worst season in history. Woodson has gone 5-3, with none of its losses coming against rivals in the putrid DCIAA East.
No DCIAA squad can match up with Friendship player for player this season. Friendship wanted to join DCIAA, but was denied entry by DC Public Schools officials, who don’t want to open up their competitions, including the Turkey Bowl football game, to charters.
If Friendship crushes Woodson, that would crush the credibility of the Turkey Bowl.
And that would put pressure on DCPS to open the football championship, and other DCIAA sporting competitions, to public charters.
An upset win for Woodson, meanwhile, could mean the status quo gets a stay of execution.
In other words, bragging rights and the future of D.C. schoolboy football are up for grabs tonight.