Wednesday morning, Page lineman Wes Altman was all set to wash the McDonald's East-West All-Stars' practice gear for a week. Twenty minutes before the West team's first practice that afternoon, Altman became an All-Star himself.
Altman's opportunity arose when Asheville Reynolds lineman Tony Sales was unable to leave summer school at N.C. State. Altman was available, had the credentials - two straight years on the News & Record All-Guilford team - and the enthusiasm.``For every kid who doesn't show up for the Games or shows up with an arrogant attitude,' said Page coach and East-West official Marion Kirby, ``there's a Wes Altman who is in hog heaven.'\
BITING BACK. Sales' absence drew strong criticism from Games Director Phil Weaver, who alleged that N.C. State makes it almost impossible for incoming Wolfpack freshmen to accept All-Star football invitations.
A reader questioned Weaver's complaint - and appears to have a point. The 1989 East-West football rosters included at least five players - Robert Yelverton, Ledel George, James Newsome, Sean Maguire and David Merritt - who went to State on scholarships.
``I'm surprised that it was this recent,' Weaver said. ``I was mistaken on that.'
Nonetheless, with just one Wolfpack scholarship recipient on the rosters since then, Weaver said, ``I'll rest on the record of the last two years.'\
TEAMMATES. West football players Brent Morehead of Southeast Guilford and Page's Rick Gardner are among several All-Star football teammates who will become teammates again next month. Morehead and Gardner are headed to Wake Forest, which led the Big Four by signing three All-Stars.
Duke has two. North Carolina joined State with no All-Star signees when West Forsyth lineman Tori Workman, who had signed with the Tar Heels, announced that he would attend Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy next year.
The big winners in terms of All-Star representation were North Carolina A&T and Western Carolina with five players each. East Carolina has two.\
PATRICK UPDATE. Newton-Conover assistant football coach Jerry Willard revealed more details Sunday of how a paint sprayer exploded and seriously injured Red Devils' head coach Don Patrick as he was painting lines on the Red Devils' field Friday.
Patrick had reloaded the pressurized paint tank and was attempting to seal a leak in its stainless steel cap when he turned the cap too far and it blew off the tank, Willard said. The cap struck Patrick in the face, leaving him with a crushed cheek bone and a deep laceration under one eye.
``We don't feel it was any fault of the machine,' Willard said. ``It was just an honest human error and probably never could happen again.'
Patrick's ``condition is serious but he is very stable,' Willard said. ``He's in a lot of pain.
``We all feel confident that he is going to be with us this football season, if in a limited capacity. It is an injury that is going to heal and recover.'
Patrick, who has a 144-51-1 record in 17 years at Newton-Conover, coached in the East-West game in 1982.
WHITAKER'S WOES. Meanwhile, Taiwana Whitaker of Southeast Halifax, who was slated to play for the East in the girls' basketball game Tuesday, has been diagnosed as having an acute urinary tract infection.
According to SE Halifax coach Richard Byrd, Whitaker began having problems late last week and was taken to a doctor last Friday. Dr. R.V. Craig diagnosed the infection and insisted that she postpone all athletic activity.
``She's very upset,' said Byrd. ``She was honored at getting the chance to play and wanted to show what she could do. But right now, she's having trouble and is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The doctor said no playing, period.'
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