Anthony James is 5-foot-3 and 140 pounds, and he is a football player. In his pads, he looks big for his size, which is important because James is desperate for attention. He needs a scholarship.
Friday at 8 p.m. will be the final chance for James and other graduated Interhigh stars to earn recognition and a free college education. In the annual East-West Coaches Interhigh All-Star game at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, college scouts will be taking a last look at some of the Capital's talent.
The game was organized 11 years ago to raise scholarship money and give players "a final push" into the college scene, according to Cardozo's Rick Jones, one of the coaches for the East team.
Unlike other years, when the game was sponsored by the city government, Friday's game is somewhat in jeopardy due to funding cutbacks. The Interhigh Coaches Association is struggling to raise, through private contributions, $10,000 necessary to use RFK Stadium. Jones said if the money can't be raised, the largest high school field available would have to be used.
"Ten thousand may not be a lot of money to the Armory Board, but that $10,000 could help out a lot of our guys," said Jones.
Despite the financial problems, the players are looking ahead to the game. In the soupy heat of the summer in full pads, no one complained about the nightly two-hour practice sessions.
The East's Kevin Minor, a graduate of Eastern and this year's interhigh defensive player of the year, has already signed to play middle linebacker for North Carolina Central. "My coach is going to be out there, and I want to make an impression," said Minor. "After this game, he'll know he picked the right man for the job. This game is goodbye to high school and hello to the big-time."
Dwayne Butler, a quarterback for the West who led Theodore Roosevelt to the city title in his junior year, has one scholarship offer but is looking for more. "I have a scholarship offer at Langston College in Oklahoma, but if a better offer comes along after this game, Ill be listening," said Butler. "This game is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show 'em what I can do...and I'll be definitely showing 'em."
The situation is more crucial for Wilson's Ron Woods, who will play flanker for the West All-Stars. He's been invited to play football at North Carolina A& , [ ] . "I've been dreaming of this game since I was in 10th grade. Everybody in the Interhigh dreams of playing in FRK."
Woods admits that this year's game goes beyond playing at RFK. "The coach at North Carolina A&T will be . I hope I can convince him to give me a scholarship. Even a two-year scholarship would be all right."
As for James, a running back at Wilson, this game is a slice of his future. At his dimensions, his coaches describe him as "fast, quick and impossible to tackle." James is headed for Bowie State with some financial aid, but is dreaming of bigger things. "I want to go somewhere to get my education," he says. "If this all-star deal works out I hope maybe to get to play for Kansas. I was an All-Interhigh running back. I just hope to convince someone to give me a scholarship."
West Coach Luther Banner says he will try to give some of the unsigned players extra game time. "The recruiters might spot a last-minute sleeper, so we give them every shot."
Former Redskin defensive back Rickie Harris, now an assistant coach at Howard, has been watching the teams practice and will be at the game scouting. "This game is like the College All-Star game which kicks it off for the pros - this kicks it off for college. I know a lot of these guys haven't committed themselves yet so I'll give them a look."
Harris said Howard has already signed some of the players and, "I just want to see what kind of practice-players they are and what kind of shape they're in."
A downplayed factor of the game is the outcome. the teams have split the 10 previous games and Banner says, "There's a lot of pride in winning, but there are a lot of other important aspects." CAPTION: Picture 1, Willie Steward, coach of the Interhigh East team, gives instruction to charges. East meets West Friday at 8 p.m. at RFK Stadium in annual all-star game for graduated high school players. By Lucian Perkins - The Washington Post; Picture 2, Coach Luther Banner of the West squad listens to signals in workout for all-star showdown.