D.C.’s 50th annual Turkey Bowl was extra special for the winning team, which played this season in honor of a slain teammate.
Ahkii Washington Scruggs, a 17-year-old captain for the Dunbar High School Crimson Tide, and his 57-year-old father, Hugh Washington, were shot in the head in an apartment in Northeast D.C. in July.
This was to be Scruggs’ senior year. The team dedicated the season to him.
“He meant a lot,” head coach Maurice Vaughn said. “He was the heart of the team.”
When the season began without Scruggs, Dunbar was a long shot to make it to the Turkey Bowl. The Crimson Tide hadn’t played in the championship game since 2012 and was coming off a 2018 season in which it won just four games.
The team kept his No. 26 jersey on the sidelines all season. Scruggs remains listed as a co-captain, and his jersey is carried to midfield for the coin toss.
Quarterback Amonte Dreher said he could feel that his friend was still with the team.
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“We always got him on the sidelines with us,” he said.
Defending champs H.D. Woodson High School had won five of the past six Turkey Bowls, but Dunbar dominated for most of Thursday’s game, winning 21-12.
“It means a lot,” Dreher said. “We lost our brother this summer; we were playing for him the whole season.”
“These kids, they play every day for him, and they play above what I thought they were able to because we’re 97% underclassmen,” Vaughn said.
Dunbar will face the winner of the private school championship Dec. 6.