More than 90 of the District's high school football players will compete in the 18th D.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game today at 5 at Cardozo High School.
The first 17 games were played at RFK Stadium, but financial considerations forced a site change. The District government had covered the cost of renting RFK until 1979. But since Mayor Marion Barry entered office, the Coaches Association has paid for the stadium.
Game coordinator Frank Parks said the cost of playing at RFK rose from $12,000 in 1979 to $17,000 in 1985 and would have risen several thousand dollars this year. The Coaches Association could not raise that amount, and the switch was made to Cardozo, which holds about 3,000.
"We got nothing from anybody on anything," Parks said, adding he is uncertain how many fans will will withstand the heat to watch today's game. Last year's attendance was 4,000 at RFK.
"(The move) upset me a little bit," said Carroll running back James Stroy of the West team. "But I can't let that make me lose sight of what I'm playing the game for. I want to have a good game, and I intend to do it."
Stroy has added incentives. He and four of his teammates -- safety Benito Springer, tackle Patrick Cole, wide receiver James Burks and cornerback James Parham -- know that college scouts will be watching. Although scouts are not allowed to attend the game because of NCAA rules, they can view videotapes for potential scholarship candidates.
"Most of us were second stringers," Stroy said. "We played supporting roles most of the season because we were such a deep team. So we're going to play in this game because we want our moment to shine."
"I want to show people that I can play football, too," said Anacostia and East wide receiver Mark Jackson, an All-Met selection in basketball. "I didn't even make all conference or anything (in football)."
Aside from the finances, another pregame problem has arisen at the East practices at Anacostia. The workouts last week began every day at 6 p.m., but at 6:30 on Thursday only 20 of the 44 players had shown. At the West practice at Cardozo Thursday, 45 of the 47 players were present.
Anacostia and East Coach Willie Stewart attributed the absenteeism to laziness: "They're just lagging and they just want to miss the exercises. It's like that every year."