H.D. Woodson High School football Coach Bob Headen hopes history repeats itself this fall -- at least in part.
The Warriors were unbeaten (9-0), the best team in the Interhigh and one of the best teams in the metropolitian area before they were forced to forfeit four games because of an ineligible player.
"As far as I know, we had everything in order last year," said Headen about last year's eligibilty problems.
"They (the players) might not be bitter . . . but I am," Headen said at one of his afternoon practices. "They felt bad about it, but they knew we were the best team on the field."
Said running back Alfred Dooley: "As far as we are concerned, we are the Interhigh champions. But like Coach Headen said: 'You can't cry over spilled milk.' "
Woodson should be tough to beat. It has one of the biggest teams in the area.
The offensive and defensive lines average about 250 pounds with four players going both ways. The offensive line includes left guard Rob Daniels, a preseason all-America at 6 feet 3 and 250 pounds; left tackle Gary Gibson at 6-2 and 240; center Roscoe Haskins at 5-11 and 248; right guard Lawrence Holland at 6-2 and 239, and right tackle Raymond Smith at 6-6 and 465 pounds.
Daniels, Haskins, Holland and Smith also play on the defensive line along with David Long, 6-3 and 225.
"We are going to be a monster team. We are the team to beat," said Mo Warren, defensive coordinator. "We lost some good guys last year. But we got some guys coming in that will have an impact."
Warren said he has three excellent linebackers in Robert Crawford (6-4, 230), Bobby Williams (6-2, 215) and Marc Majors (6-3, 225), with Gregory Porter and Johnny Vessell in the defensive backfield.
"We've got a pecking order," Warren said. "When somebody leaves, somebody moves right in. We are going to press you. Just as in basketball, we are going to press you. What you have to do you better do it in a hurry."
Darwin Bridges will be the quarterback and Rodney Puifory, Herb Bass and Dooley the running backs. Puifory rushed for 900 yards and scored nine touchdowns last year.
Woodson plays a competitive nonleague schedule with McNamara, St. John's and W.T. Woodson. But its most important contest might be the Oct. 19 game against Anacostia, which probably will decide the Interhigh East champion. Woodson defeated Anacostia, 14-0, last year.
"We can't run on them. No one around here can run on them," said Anacostia Coach Willie Stewart. Anacostia replaced Woodson as East champion, then defeated Theodore Roosevelt in the title game, 26-12.
Stewart predicts Eastern could be the spoiler in the East. But Ramblers Coach James Fields must find some players to fill key positions to compete against Anacostia and Woodson.
"We've got a lot of young kids. Hopefully, by the first day, we'll have it ready," said Fields. Eastern will play Central Saturday in its opener.
Eastern has back Paul Holloman, Anthony Clark, Alfred Carry and Charles Robinson on offense and Donald Wicks, Roy Dowery and Vincent Dodd on defense.
"I've got a real good 10th-grader in Alfred Carry. He's playing quarterback for us," said Fields.
Spingarn may have problems again after last year's 0-10 season. Spingarn has 35 players listed on its roster, but as few as 11 players have shown up for practice.
"We are trying to get situated," said running back Steven Boyd. "We need some more big guys to play. We are going to put our best foot forward and go ahead and play."
Ballou, which finished last season with a 4-6 record, will return starting quarterback Anthony Parker, running back Gregory Liverpool, flanker Malcolm Walker and tackle Ken Amaker. Liverpool was the leading scorer for the Knights last year.
Middle linebacker Andre Conner, tackle Jerry Fitzgerald and cornerback Brian Burris will anchor the Knights' defense. Ballou replaced its defensive coordinator with James Matthews.