Nightly News | November 24, 2011
>>> back now on this thanksgiving night. for a lot of folks, celebrating thanksgiving means a whole lot of time with the three fs, family, food and football. on a field in our nation's capital, the annual turkey bowl was more closely watched than usual because of the barrier-breaking woman on the sideline. we get the story tonight from nbc's kristen welker.
>> reporter: the coolidge colts are defying the odds just by taking the field in d.c.'s biggest public high school football game , the turkey bowl .
>> well, this is the championship of the city.
>> reporter: it's only the team's second appearance in the game since 1987 , and their current record makes them the underdog.
>> eagle, eagle, eagle 3 .
>> reporter: but their current coach, 31-year-old natalie randolph, won't allow her team to think of themselves as anything but winners.
>> they're just great kids.
>> reporter: it's a message that resonates with the 45 young men she coaches.
>> she really shows us that she cares, like we're really her own kids.
>> reporter: that's why she's a game-changer. she spent several years playing in a woman's football league and two years ago, she assumed the role of head coach at coolidge, a position typically held by a man.
>> being female has nothing to do with it. i love football . i love football , i love teaching, i love these kids.
>> reporter: but that's just the half of it. when natalie is not out on the field, she's in the classroom, teaching environmental science . natalie pushes her kids to strive for excellence, on and off the field.
>> i really want to make this good for the kids. the fact that it's making history is just an added bonus.
>> she loves the game. she loves kids. she loves to see them succeed.
>> reporter: at the end of the day , the colts didn't end up on top, but with natalie randolph investing in their future, these young men can't lose. kristen welker, nbc news, washington.