Seconds after senior running back James Lynch scored Dunbar's final touchdown in its 22-0 victory yesterday over No. 19 Eastern in the D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association Turkey Bowl championship, reserve quarterback Josh Cribbs stood on the sideline. He raised his black-and-red helmet into the air, and put up two fingers to signify the 16th-ranked Crimson Tide's second straight league title.
Cribbs, a junior, began the season as Dunbar's starting quarterback, and had a much different view when the two teams met in the regular season on Sept. 24. That day he led Dunbar to a 38-6 victory over Eastern by completing 14 of 18 passes for a career-high 338 yards and four touchdowns.
But he broke his right ankle late in that game and missed the next several weeks. Dunbar Coach Craig Jefferies made senior Michael Coles the starting quarterback--and the team won four of its next five games.
Coles started again yesterday and completed 17 of 33 passes for 174 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.
Cribbs participated in about six plays yesterday, all of them covering kickoffs and punts. He spent the rest of the game with his helmet off, talking quietly with teammates and assistant coaches and applauding successful Dunbar plays.
"Josh did a great job for us, but it seemed the team responded to Michael better," Jefferies said. "He is a great leader and he is a senior. Josh will be back next year, and we know he will give us some good things one day. But Michael was playing too well not to let him continue even when Josh got healthy."
Cribbs said he was not disappointed with the decision.
"I did not care about playing or not--I am a team player, and the team was going well with Michael," Cribbs said. "I hope to be able to get the team back here next year to try and get a three-peat. I also will miss having [Coles] and the rest of the seniors around. But we won today, and that is all that matters."
That victory began on the team's opening drive, which culminated with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Coles to Darrell Dowery that gave the Crimson Tide a 6-0 advantage. On that drive, Coles completed all four passes for 46 yards.
"The guys have confidence in me and we were able to move the ball," Coles said. "Josh has become like my little brother--we get along really well and he has helped me this year. I know he has all of next year to prove himself, and I know he will do well."
To some, he already has. As Cribbs walked down a flight of stairs into the locker room following the game, an Eastern assistant coach ran up to him and patted him on the shoulder pads.
"Hey, Cribbs," the coach said. "You are a class act."