“Use some wire,” suggested Bert. “That’s what I do. Thread won’t hold.”
And then began a busy session for the chums.
It was the day of the first football practice. Out on the field assembled half a hundred lads from whom the leading school team would be picked. There were at least a dozen lads for every position, and only a few positions to fill, for many of the former players had come back.
“What are you going to try for, Tom?” asked Bert, as he delivered a beautiful drop kick down the field.
“One of the backs—left half for choice.”
“Here comes Morse,” remarked Jack, as the captain came into sight, surrounded by a score of lads seeking to curry favor.
“And there’s Jackson, the coach,” added Tom. “He’s got a suit on. Guess he’ll go in for practice.”
The field soon became a scene of activity. From one side two lads strolled from under the grandstand where some of the dressing rooms were, and advanced toward the coach and captain.
“There are Heller and Johnson,” said Bert in a low voice. “They’re going to have a try, too.”
“Did you hear where Sam wants to play?” asked Tom.
“No,” answered his chums.
“Come on now, boys, line up!” called the captain. “We’ll play a scrub game. Hecker, Miller, Jones, Reilley, you’ll be on the scrub for a while,” and Morse called on other names to make an eleven.
“Regular team over here!” went on the young captain—“that is what’s left of ’em. Tom Fairfield, you’ll be left half, I guess. Bert, get in at guard, though I may change you later. Jack, you’ll do at tackle, I think.”
“Where am I to play?” asked Sam Heller as though it was all settled—that is all but naming his position. “I’d like to go in at quarterback.”
Morse looked at him. So did the coach, and the latter nodded at the captain.
“Very well, Heller. Try it at quarter,” assented Morse, “though I can’t promise to always play you there in matches. Now then line up. Tom will take the ball for a try through the scrub. Be careful in passing it, Heller.”
There was rather a gasp of astonishment from the other players and some of the spectators as the two enemies were thus brought into the limelight. As for Tom, he felt a sinking at his heart, for he realized that Sam had it in his power to make or mar his play by the manner in which he passed the ball.
“But they shan’t say it was my fault!” said Tom grimly to himself. “I’ll play a straight game, and if Heller wants to do any crooked work—well, let him, that’s all!”
A CROSS-COUNTRY RUN
“Line up! Line up!”