Willie Stewart, coach of the East squad, is making more than the usual preparations for tonight's 11th annual D.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game at RFK Stadium AT 8.
In addition, to putting the finishing touches on the repertoire of passing plays Stewart promises his team will display, the Eastern High coach also will pack a suitcase for a quick getaway should the contest not be a financial success.
In past years, the game has received $10,000 from the city to cover the expense of renting RFK and obtaining the necessary insurance. Because of budget cuts in the Recreation Department this year, the game was allotted only $2,500.
Stewart, as treasurer of the coaches' association, and H. D. Woodson's Bob Headon, the president, signed the contract with the D.C. Armory Board, making them responsible for the $10,000. With personal donations, slightly more than $6,000 remains to be made from gate receipts.
"I got my bags packed. I'm going to put them in the trunk of my car," Stewart said. "I don't have $3,000. I'm going to be counting the people as they come in. I'm going to be checking with the ticket takers, making sure they're paid customers. No freebies this year."
Organizers estimate 5,000 spectators at the general-admission price of $3 are needed to break even.
Stewart has instructed his squad to fill the air with footballs. Darryl Lindsay of Eastern and Walter Gale of Springarn will do most of the passing, to speedsters such as Mike Martin of Eastern, Anthony Bethea of Anacostia and Robert Stevenson of Woodson.
"They're all track stars. They can get down the field," Steward said. "We're going to throw that ball. We're going to throw on first down, second down, third down. We're going to throw on fourth down.
"Reverses, flea-flickers, everything. That's what the people want to see. We're going to have some fun. Last year, we had the running backs. This year, we're blessed with the receivers."
West Coach Luther Banner of Dunbar also promises an exciting attack, only it will be "50-50 on the ground and in the air.
"Every play we're running we're planning to go for a touchdown," Banner said. "I told them (the West players) no dive plays. We're going to please the crowd and play some solid football too."
Jonathan Kirby of Dunbar and Dwayne Butler of Theodore Roosevelt should see the most action of the four quarterbacks, with Burnell Irby of Roosevelt, Bennett Herndon of Cardozo and Freddie Wagoner and Antonio Sparks of Dunbar slated for extensive duty in the backfield. The leading receives will be Tracy Singleton of McKinley, Jerry Johnson of Roosevelt and William Wall of Coolidge.