For the second straight season, Spingarn, because of the lack of players, was unable to field a football team for its opener.

Coach Mike Johnson had only about a dozen players last week and had to forfeit the scheduled opener to Riverdale Baptist.

But Johnson, who said he is almost at wits end in trying to understand the situation, and Principal Ann Thomas say they are confident that, with school beginning this week, more students will join the team and the school would be able to complete its Interhigh league schedule.

"I had to cancel three scrimmages and all three nonleague games this month," said Johnson, who was forced to do the same thing in 1986. "This is killing me softly. I know our enrollment is down and maybe we have to take a long hard look at football at Spingarn. We can't keep going through this same thing every year."

Thomas understands Johnson's frustrations.

"Certification has been one of our problems -- getting the kids ready to play," Thomas said. "Our enrollment is down, but we plan to play football. We are hoping more students will decide to play when school opens. There will be no RFK {Stadium, where the league's top two teams will meet for the Interhigh championship} for us this year, but next year, look for us."

Johnson's patience is truly being tried. "The first day, we had 21 kids out; the next week we had half that many," he said. "Some said it was too hard or too hot. Others just don't want to play. Kids can throw a rock from their bedroom window to Spingarn and decide to go to other schools. But we aren't going to quit; we are going to get this together."

Eastern High School, once one of the area's football powers, is hoping its new stadium will induce more athletes to attend the school and bring back fans. The field was completed last year, but construction flaws prevented using it.

Principal Ralph Neal said everything is completed and he is hoping to fill his 6,000 seat stadium each game. "Actually the field was fine; the track had problems," Neal said. "Our attendance has doubled and we are up to about 2,300 students now. We've not only tried to upgrade our athletic program, but we've added new academic programs to attract more quality students. We're starting off with a big doubleheader here to wake up people and show them some football."

On Friday at 5:30 p.m., Anacostia will face Cardozo. At 8:15, Theodore Roosevelt will play Eastern.

The National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association announced that Paul VI's 200 medley relay team of Kristin Williams (backstroke), Sonya McCarthy (breaststroke), Shelley Gesker (butterfly) and Christi Chronowski (freestyle) was selected honorable mention all-America.

Paul VI has fielded a varsity swim team only three seasons, and for the Fairfax school to earn such plaudits so quickly is rather remarkable.

Each of the four members placed at the Washington Metro Championships last spring. Three placed in another stroke . . .

The 22nd annual D.C. basketball clinic will be held Oct. 2-3 at the Ramada in Lanham. Featured guest speakers will include University of North Carolina Coach Dean Smith, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Purdue's Gene Keady, Baylor's Gene Iba, Maryland's Bob Wade and Catholic's Jack Bruen.