“Well, you don’t need to bump anything,” replied Dan quietly. “Hepson wants you on the gridiron the worst way, but he has told me that he won’t even allow you to get into togs until Pills has certified that you’re fit to play.”
“It’s tough,” sighed Dave, then quietly began his studies.
It is a rare proceeding to send a midshipman to Coventry; a step that is never taken save for the gravest reasons. Dan, having fought, did not feel it necessary to bring Jetson’s case before a class meeting, and Jetson escaped Coventry. He was not cut, yet he soon discovered that the average classmate paid no more heed to him than appeared to be necessary for courtesy’s sake.
After another week “Pills” consented to Dave Darrin’s going out for regular gridiron practice. Dave needed the work badly, for the Navy team was now on the eve of the first game of the season.
Jetson, with no hope now of making the eleven this year, avoided the field for a few days.
The first game of the season took place on a Saturday afternoon. The opponent was Hanniston College. Ordinarily, in the past, Hanniston had been an easy enough opponent, though there had been years in which Hanniston had carried the score away from the field.
“How many of the regular team do you want to throw into the game against Hanniston, Mr. Hepson?” inquired Lieutenant-Commander Havens the night before the game.
“Every one of them, sir,” Hepson answered the head coach. “Until we get into a real game, we can’t be sure that we’ve the strongest eleven. To-morrow’s game will show us if we have made any mistakes in our selections.”
Even though Hanniston was considered one of the lesser opponents, every man in the brigade speculated with great interest, that night, on the probable outcome of the morrow.
“Darrin will have a good chance to prove himself, a dub to-morrow,” thought Midshipman Jetson darkly. “I hate to wish against the Navy, but I’ll cheer if Darrin, individually, ties himself up in foozle knots!”
THE GRIDIRON START
On the day of the game the midshipmen talked eagerly, and mostly of football, through dinner in the great messhall of the brigade.
“Did any one see the Hanniston infants arrive?” demanded Page.
“Infants, eh!” called Joyce from the next table. “That shows you didn’t see the visiting eleven.”
“Why? Are they of fair size?” asked Farley.
“It took two ’buses to bring the regular eleven, besides the subs and all the howlers,” retorted Joyce. “And the regular eleven, I am reliably informed, tip the scales at four tons.”
“Oh, come, now, Joyce, shave off a ton or two,” protested Farley.
“I won’t take off more than fifty pounds, sir,” retorted Joyce with mock stubbornness. “Say! The Hanniston fellows are enormous.”