18 H.D. Woodson High School football players suspended from Turkey Bowl after fight

The Turkey Bowl isn’t only about the football game. For many, it’s a place for current and past D.C. schools students to come together. This is a scene from the Turkey Bowl on Nov. 24, 2016. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
WASHINGTON — Eighteen D.C. high school football players aren’t permitted to play in the marquee Turkey Bowl game this year after their involvement in an on-field brawl with Eastern Senior High School players during a Nov. 11 game.

Eighteen H.D. Woodson High School students and seven Eastern Senior High School students were suspended for one game after engaging in a fight on the field during a Nov. 11 football game, said D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman Kristina Saccone. H.D. Woodson went on to win the game, sending the team to the 2017 Turkey Bowl Football Championship; the Eastern loss ended the team’s season.

District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association staff reviewed the game tapes and identified the players involved in the fight, DCIAA Executive Director Diana Parente said in a letter that went out to the Woodson community Wednesday.

The 18 Woodson players identified will not be able to play in the Turkey Bowl against Ballou High School on Thanksgiving Day. The Eastern students will be disqualified for one game next season, Parente said.

“The DCIAA staff, the H.D. Woodson High School football coaches, and DCPS officials are committed to working with the players involved to help prevent incidents like this in the future. The safety of our student-athletes is paramount at all times,” Parente wrote in the letter.

The annual Turkey Bowl is an event that brings the community together and will be reserved for players who demonstrate sportsmanlike conduct, Parente wrote in the letter.

“The DCIAA wants to ensure that the players who did not engage in the physical altercation are able to play next week while also holding our student-athletes to the highest standard when it comes to personal conduct.”

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Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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