“Ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha—Hanniston! Wow!” went up derisively from the visiting howlers.
“Hepson! Hepson! Pull us out!” came the appeal.
“Darry! Darry! Rush it!”
As the two elevens were lining up for another start the time-keeper’s whistle sounded the end of the first half of the game.
Gloomy, indeed, were those who had hoped to see the Navy win. There were no cheers, save from the visitor-howlers. The best that the leader of the band could do, was to swing his baton and start in the strains of “’Twas Never Thus in Olden Times.”
“What do you make of the enemy, Hepson?” inquired Joyce, as the middies rested at the side lines.
“We haven’t made anything of them yet, but we’ve got to make wrecks of ’em before the last half is over,” grunted the captain of the Navy.
“How are we going to do it?” asked another player.
“By just hanging at them with sheer grit,” replied the captain gravely. “Fellows, they’ve beaten us so far, but they haven’t worn us out any. Big fellows as the Hannistons are, they may not have the endurance to hang to us through all of the coming half.”
“That makes me remember a song I heard when on leave this year,” grinned Page. “A part of it runs:
’Said the ant to the elephant,
“Who are ye shoving?
There’s one wide river to cross!"’
“And we’re the elephants?” inquired Farley in mock innocence.
“Do we look it?” demanded Page in disgust.
“Remember, fellows,” warned Hepson, as the signal summoned both teams back to the field, “many a hopeless game has been won in the last five minutes. But don’t wait. Hammer the college boys from the start!”
“Dalzell and I can stand hard work and pounding whenever you get ready to put it on us,” Dave announced to Hepson. “Don’t try to spare us any. Both of us would sooner be carried away on stretchers than see the Navy lose its first game to a minor college.”
The game was resumed. For ten minutes the Navy played mainly on the defensive. Indeed, to the spectators it seemed all that the middies could do against such big fellows as the visitors.
Just after that, however, Hepson passed the silent signal, and then the midshipmen hurled themselves into the fray to test out all the endurance that the Hanniston players might possess.
Many a college boy on the opposing line wondered where these smaller men in the Navy togs had obtained all the fight that they now showed. The big fellows didn’t seem able to stand it long. The Navy had the ball, and now slowly fought down toward the college goal. Onlookers in the Navy seats began to stand up, to watch breathlessly, and be ever ready to cheer.
“Hurl little Darry in!” yelled someone hoarsely in a momentary lull in the noise.
But Hepson, watching every chance with tigerish eyes, was yet cool-headed, as a football general should be. Twice he used Darrin to advance the ball, and each time Dave gained a few yards. The third time, wearied by pounding his head against a human stone wall, Dave failed to gain more than half a yard. Watchful Hepson sent the ball, after the next snap-back, over to the Navy’s right.