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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 185 pages of information about The Half-Back.

Then the cry of “Here they come!” traveled along the field, and the blue-clad warriors leaped into the arena at the far end, and the east stand went delirious, and flags waved, and a tempest shook the bank of violets.

“Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Yates!”

And almost simultaneously the west stand arose and its voice arose to the sky in wild, frenzied shouts of: 

“Har-well, Har-well, Har-well, Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Rah-rah-rah, Har-well!  Har-well!  Har-well!”

For over the fence came the head coach, and big Chesney, and Captain Dutton, Story, the little quarter-back, and all the others, a long line of crimson-stockinged warriors, with Joel March, Briscom, Bedford, and the other substitutes flocking along in the tag end of the procession.  Over the field the two Elevens spread, while cheer after cheer met in mid-field, clashed, and rolled upward to the blue.  Then came a bare five minutes of punting, dropping, passing, snapping, ere the officials appeared from somewhere and gathered the opposing captains to them.  A coin flashed in the sunlight, spun aloft, descended, and was caught in the referee’s palm.  “Heads!” cried Ferguson, the Yates captain.  “Heads it is!” announced the referee.

The substitutes retreated unwillingly to the side lines, the Harwell men spread themselves over the north end of the gridiron, Elton, the Yates full-back, ground his heel into the turf and pointed the ball, the cheering ceased, the whistle piped merrily, the bright new ball soared aloft on its arching flight, and the game of the year was on.

CHAPTER XXIII.

HARWELL VS.  YATES—­THE FIRST HALF.

That game will live in history.

It was a battle royal between giant foes.  On one hand was the confidence begat of fifteen years of almost continuous victory over the crimson; on the other the desperation that such defeat brings.  Yates had a proud record to sustain, Harwell a decade of worsting to atone for.  And twenty-five thousand persons watched and hoped and feared as the battle raged.

Down settled the soaring ball into the arms of Kingdon, who tucked it under his arm and started with it toward the distant goal.  But eight yards was all he found ere a Yates forward crashed down upon him.  Then came a quick line-up on Harwell’s forty yards, and first Prince, then Kingdon, then Blair was put through the line, each for a small gain, and the Harwell benches shouted their triumph.  Again the pigskin was given to Prince for a try through the hole between tackle and guard, but this time he was hurled back for a loss.  The next try was Kingdon’s, and he made a yard around the Yates left end.  It was the third down and five yards were lacking.  Back went the ball for a kick, and a moment later it was Yates’s on her thirty-five yards, and again the teams were lining up.  It was now the turn of the east stand to cheer, and mightily the shout rolled across the field.

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