Of course, the Army cheermaster came back with a stirring West Point yell, but one spectator, behind the side lines, turned and bawled at the Army cheermaster:
“That’s right, young man! Anything on earth to keep up your crowd’s courage!”
In the laugh that followed many a gray-clad cadet joined simply because he could not help himself.
“If we don’t break at some point it’s all ours to-day,” Wolgast was informing the players nearest him. “I’ve never seen Darry so wildly capable as he is right now. The demon of victory seems to have seized him.”
Dave’s limp had vanished. He was ready for work—–aching for it. Wolgast worked his left flank once more, and the Army was sorely pressed.
“Brace up, Army!” was the word passing again among the West Point men. Douglass, captain of the Army team, was scolding under his breath.
But straight on Darrin and Dalzell worked the ball. It was when Wolgast decided to rest his left that Farley and Page came in for more work. These two midshipmen were excellent football men, but the Army’s left was well defended. The Navy lost the ball on downs. But the Army boys were sweating, for the Navy was now within nine yards of goal line.
The Army fought it back, gaining just half a yard too little in three plays, so the ball came back to the blue and gold ranks of the Navy.
“Brace, Army!” was the word that Cadet Douglass passed. “And look out, on the right, for Darrin and Dalzell!”
There was a feint of sending the ball to Farley, but Darrin had it instead. The entire Army line, however, was alert for this very trick. Playing in sheer desperation, the cadets stopped the midshipmen when but a yard and a half had been gained. With the next play the gain was but half a yard. The third play was blocked, and once more the cadets received the pigskin.
Both Army and Navy cheermasters now refrained from inviting din. Those of the spectators who boosted for the Army were now silent, straining their vision and holding their breath. It began to look, this year, as though the Navy could do with the Army as it pleased.
Wolgast lined his men up for a fierce onslaught Darrin and Dalzell, panting, looked like a pair who would die in their tracks ere allowing the ball to go by them.
In a moment more the Army signal was being called out crisply. The whistle sounded, and both elevens were in instant action.
But the cadets failed to get through. The middies were driving them back. In sheer desperation the cadet with the ball turned and dropped behind the Army goal line—–a safety.
THE NAVY GOAT GRINS
All at once the Navy band chopped out a few swift measures of triumphant melody.
The entire Brigade of Midshipmen cheered under its cheermaster. Thousands of blue and gold Navy banners fluttered through the stands.