“I saw Prescott and Holmes last year,” nodded Mr. Parker. “But they didn’t have a thing to compare with what you’ve just been explaining to me.”
“May I remark, sir, that that was last year?” suggested Dave.
“Then you think that Prescott and Holmes may have developed some new plays.”
“I’d be amazed, sir, if they hadn’t done so. And I’ve tried to have the Navy always bear in mind, sir, that Dalzell and myself learned everything we know of football under Dick Prescott, who, for his weight, I believe to be the best football player in the United States!”
“You’re not going to get cold feet, are you, Mr. Darrin?” laughed Lieutenant-Commander Parker.
“No, sir; but, on the other hand, I don’t want to underestimate the enemy.”
“You don’t seem likely to commit that fault, Mr. Darrin. For my part,” went on coach, “I’m going to feel rather satisfied that Prescott and Holmes, of the Army, won’t be able to get up anything that will equal or block the new plays you’ve been describing to me.”
Dave and Dan were more than usually excited as they lingered in their room, awaiting the call to supper formation. Farley and Page, all ready to respond to the call, were also in the room.
“I hope old Dick and Greg haven’t got anything new that will stop us!” glowed Dan Dalzell.
“It’s just barely possible, of course,” assented Darrin, “that they haven’t.”
“If they haven’t,” chuckled Farley gleefully, “then we scuttle the Army this year.”
“Wouldn’t it be truly great,” laughed Page, “to see the great Prescott go down in the dust of defeat. Ha, ha! I can picture, right now, the look of amazement on his Army face!”
“We mustn’t laugh too soon,” Dave warned his hearers.
“Don’t you want to see the redoubtable Prescott shoved into the middle of next year?” challenged Midshipman Page.
“Oh, yes; of course. Yet that’s not because he’s Prescott, for good old Dick is one of the most precious friends I have in the world,” Dave answered earnestly. “I want to see Prescott beaten this year, and I want to have a hand in doing it—–simply for the greater glory of the Navy!”
“Well,” grunted Page, “that’s good enough for me.”
“We’ll trail Soldier Prescott in the dust!” was a gleeful boast that circulated much through the Naval Academy during the few succeeding days.
Even Dave became infected with it, for he was a loyal Navy man to the very core. He began to think much of every trick of play that could possibly help to retire Dick Prescott to the background—–all for the fame of the Navy and not for the hurt of his friend.
Dave even dreamed of it at night.
As for Dalzell, he caught the infection, proclaiming:
“We’re out, this year, just to beat old Prescott and Holmes!”
Yet readers of the High School Boys’ Series, who know the deep friendship that had existed, and always would, between Prescott and Holmes on the one side, and Darrin and Dalzell, on the other, do not need to be told that this frenzied feeling had in it nothing personal.