In the middle of the street on Halley Terrace in Southeast Washington, a thin-armed boy tossed a well-worn football to eight fellow members of the Halley Terrace Bandits.

Here, football is a serious sport. The Bandits, with a 4-0 record, were lucky to get day off from school, an extra day of practice, because of a teacher conference day. They stopped only to savor aloud the Redskins' victorious season and talk about Doug Williams becoming the first black quarterback to start in a Super Bowl game, a fact not lost on young black boys who dream of playing in the National Football League.

"He'll go down in the history books and my kids will be studying him. I can say I saw that game," said Alvin Proctor, 10, a pint-sized Patterson Elementary school pupil.

"There are a lot of black quarterbacks in college, but not in the NFL," Alvin said.

How did they feel when Williams played?


The word was repeated nine times, as each youngster had his say.

On the day after the Washington Redskins clinched the Super Bowl championship, young fans throughout the area were as happy about the victory as their older counterparts.

At Lyles-Crouch Elementary School in Alexandria, sixth grader Chip Hill said he was "kind of amazed" at the victory. "I like {Williams} a lot, but I don't want to be a quarterback if I play football," said 11-year-old Chip, noting he'd rather be a linebacker.

Carla Ferguson, a 9-year-old fourth grader, said Williams "played very well," and Raymond Williams, who is "nine-and-a-half" and considering a career as a scientist, said the quarterback was "great" but "football's not my thing."

In Fairfax, at the School Age Child Care Center in Newington Elementary, teacher Betty Meares sported a Redskins cap and button as she presided over a game of "Sorry!"

Her pupils were anything but sorry. Particularly happy was Natalie Shelton, 10, a fifth grader who won a team pennant in a contest Meares organized last week. Natalie came closest to guessing the correct game score, picking 47-8, "because," as she said, "I like 'em. I had confidence in them."

Some kids in the District got an extra boost of team spirit after seeing Williams in a parade on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Robert Knox, 9, saw Williams that day. Yesterday Robert played football with friends in an alley behind an apartment building on Martin Luther King Avenue in Southeast.

"I'm proud of him," Robert said of Williams, though he couldn't explain exactly why he felt that way. "I saw him in the limo in the parade, and my aunt got his autograph."

Kerrick Daniels, 13, was throwing the ball to Robert and his friends, but paused long enough to say, "Doug Williams was the first black quarterback in the Super Bowl; I'm going to be the second." For now, he's content to play on a neighborhood team and on the Birney Elementary team.

In the parking lot at Widrich Courts on Livingston Road SE, Jesse Moore, 10, and friends rode their bicycles over fat speed bumps.

"Doug came to our school and told us he was going to be the first black quarterback to go to the Super Bowl," said Jesse, who attends Friendship Elementary. "It made me proud 'cause some whites think we can't do anything. He didn't give up. I think he's great. It makes me feel good because he throws some good touchdowns, right on the money." Said 11-year-old Edward Brown: "It will help me when I grow up because it helps whites see blacks do everything."

"The best quarterback should get the position," said Chedrick Woodruff, 13.

Shontye Harris, 14, the only girl in the group, said, "The Redskins wouldn't have made it without him. He's someone to look up to."

In front of 444 Condon Terrace SE, a group of little boys scuffled over a football in the small dirt yard of an apartment building.

They knew all about Doug Williams and his accomplishment.

DeShawn Jones, 10, said he, too, was proud of Williams. Why?

"Because he can throw good and hard." He paused. "And because he's one of us."

Staff writers Caryle Murphy and Alice Digilio contributed to this report.