Anacostia, one of the Interhigh League's perennial playoff teams, was close to woeful in September, losing all four non-league games by a combined score of 144-14. But Coach Willie Stewart has suffered similar early season setbacks before and he casually reminded his players that the non-league games were nothing more than tuneups for league play.

"I pulled out the old scrapbook and showed the guys we also lost all our games in September and won back to back championships while I was at Eastern {in the late 1970s}," Stewart said. "I just told them to be patient. The league games start now and we feel we will be right there."

One of Anacostia's losses was to Carroll, 36-0. That loss didn't hurt as much since Stewart's 14-year-old son, Troy, plays running back and defensive back for the Lions.

"He talked stuff to me all week and I told my guys, if he ran the ball, to get him," Stewart said. "He ran one play, didn't get any blocking and five guys jumped on him. He did fine though. I was caught in the middle. That's my baby -- I wanted him to do well -- and I felt good he did play well."

Stewart said his wife {Anita} quickly vetoed the idea of Troy playing at Anacostia.

"She said I wasn't going to be cussing her son out at dinner," Stewart said. "She said I had no patience and would be hollering at him all the time. She is probably right. But Troy is an honor roll student and is going to be a good player. I guess if I had to lose a game, I guess it's all right to lose to your son."

Of course, it is now October and Anacostia is 1-0 in league play. Nathaniel Cole returned a fumble for one touchdown and Andre Powell returned an interception for another in a 28-9 win over Wilson Saturday.

A year ago, Sean Rivers, still a bit uncomfortable at quarterback, threw 17 interceptions. Most of them, however, turned out to be insignificant as Pallotti finished the season 9-1 and shared the Tri-County Athletic Conference title with St. Mary's.

"All Sean needed was a year of seasoning and he would be a very good quarterback," said Pallotti Coach Stu Mackintosh. "He had a real good arm as a sophomore and it didn't take a lot of coaching to switch him from defensive back to quarterback last year."

Last year, the 6-foot, 190-pounder completed 164 of 304 passes for more than 2,200 yards and 18 touchdowns.

In Saturday's 34-6 triumph over Norfolk Catholic, Rivers, a senior, was on target again, completing 17 of 21 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns. For the season, he has completed 67 of 100 for 943 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Perhaps the greatest measure of Rivers' improvement, however, and a key reason Pallotti is off to a 5-0 start, is that he has not been intercepted so far this fall.

The Nike/Jabbo Kenner Association will sponsor a basketball clinic Oct. 17 at Mackin High School. Coaches who will lecture and give live demonstrations include Flint Hill's Stu Vetter, Crossland's Earl Hawkins, McKinley's Charles Perry, Mackin's Paul Fuqua, Lee's Charley Thompson and St. Maria Goretti's Cokey Robertson. Al Battista will talk about the new basketball rules. The clinic is open to men's and women's coaches on all levels.

Dunbar is seeking to schedule a boys basketball game on either Dec. 2, 3 or 4. If interested, contact Mike McLeese at the school.