Abdul Adams is just 15 years old, and as a freshman wide receiver in his first varsity game at Wilson, he looked the part at times on Saturday against Anacostia. The slim Adams nearly muffed a punt. On another play, he was unsure if he was supposed to be a part of a formation, running onto the field, then looking back at his sideline, and realizing he was the 12th man.
But his speed was sensational in Saturday’s DCIAA semifinal at Cardozo. The baby-faced Adams scored a decisive touchdown late in the first half and the Tigers put on the after-burners in the second to win 40-20 and advance to the Turkey Bowl.
It will be the first Thanksgiving Day appearance in two decades for Wilson (8-3), which last played for a DCIAA title in 1991. The Tigers will meet Dunbar (8-2), which beat H.D. Woodson 28-14 in the nightcap.
“It felt good,” said Adams of his first varsity touchdown catch. “Knowing that we’re one win away from winning it all. . . . It’s real big. We haven’t been in a long time. Everybody is just excited.”
Adams gave Wilson the momentum-changing play it desperately needed late in the first half. The Tigers trailed, 20-13, with less than a minute before intermission, and their entire sideline appeared deflated after Anacostia (6-5) had converted several clutch plays to take the lead. Adams then caught a screen pass from quarterback Scott Beumel and sprung untouched for a 65-yard touchdown.
“Oh, Abdul is going to be special,” said Wilson Coach Mark Martin. “Abdul is in the ninth grade. He’s got three more years, man. He made some big plays for us, and he’s going to be making big plays for us for three more years.”
Wilson quickly scored several minutes into the third quarter, on a two-yard touchdown run from Kenyon Bundy, and Beumel broke the game open with a 74-yard touchdown throw to Taylor Hazel later in the quarter. Beumel completed just four passes on the day, but finished with 205 yards passing. Anacostia quarterback DeQuan Turner had a stellar first half, completing 15 of 18 for 139 yards and accounted for all three of the Indians’ touchdowns. But Wilson swarmed the talented Turner in the second half, and he completed just five passes after halftime.
Wilson, which beat Dunbar two weeks ago to secure the DCIAA East regular season title, will meet a rejuvenated Crimson Tide team that gutted out a 28-14 win in Saturday’s nightcap at Cardozo. Quarterback Lamel Matthews compiled 163 yards of total offense and threw a touchdown pass, and Malont’a Patterson added 92 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, the defending DCIAA champions.
Dunbar built a 20-14 halftime lead, boosted by a botched punt attempt by H.D. Woodson inside its own 10-yard line with just a minute left in the half. The Crimson Tide turned that mistake into six points, as Patterson scored from eight yards out.
But neither team could find an offensive rhythm in the second half. H.D. Woodson (4-6) opted to switch quarterbacks in the fourth quarter, bringing on Rashad Cooper, but the sophomore couldn’t get the Warriors started. Cooper fumbled with 3:19 remaining and Maurice Glasgow recovered Cooper’s fumble with 3:19 remaining, capping a day for the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder that included 14 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
“We just had the pursuit to the ball [tonight],” said Glasgow. “Last game, against Wilson, we lost. Major setback for us. . . . Major comeback. Biggest game of my life [will be against Wilson]. It’s my first Turkey Bowl.”