Football Days eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 400 pages of information about Football Days.


Wharton Bull Woodruff
Rosengarten Osgood Brooke Knipe Gelbert
Minds Williams Wagonhurst

Old Penn heroes]

“I will not enlarge upon the ability of men like George Brooke, Wylie Woodruff, Buck Wharton, Joe McCracken, John Outland and others, but anybody speaking of Pennsylvania players during the late ’90’s cannot pass by Truxton Hare, who stands forth as a Chevalier Bayard among the ranks of college football players.  Hare entered Pennsylvania in ’97 from St. Paul without any thought that he was likely to be even a mediocre player.  He weighed only about 178 pounds at the time and was immature.  Although his wonderfully symmetrical build, in which he looked like a magnified Billy Graves, kept him from looking as large as Heffelfinger at his greatest development at Yale, Hare was certainly ten pounds heavier in fine condition than Heffelfinger was before the latter left Yale.”



In the latter eighties the signal from the quarterback to the center for putting the ball in play was a pressure of the fingers and thumb on the hips of the center.  In the ’89 championship game between Yale and Princeton, Yale had been steadily advancing the ball and it looked as if they had started out for a march up the field for a touchdown.  In those days signals were not rattled off with the speed that they are given now, and the quarterback often took some time to consider his next play, during which time he might stand in any position back of the line.

Playing right guard on the Princeton team was J. R. Thomas, more familiarly known as Long Tommy.  He was six feet six or seven inches tall and built more longitudinally than otherwise.  It occurred to Janeway, who was playing left guard, that Long Tommy’s great length and reach might be used to great advantage when occasion offered.

He, therefore, took occasion to say to Thomas during a lull in the game, “If you get a chance, reach over when Wurtenburg—­the Yale quarter—­isn’t looking, and pinch the Yale center so that he will put the ball in play when the backs are not expecting it.”  The Yale center, by the way, was Bert Hanson.  Yale continued to advance the ball on two or three successive plays and finally had a third down with two yards to gain.  At this critical moment the looked-for opportunity arrived.  Wurtenburg called a consultation of the other backs to decide on the next play.  While the consultation was going on Long Tommy reached over and gently nipped Hanson where he was expecting the signal.  Hanson immediately put the ball in play and as a result Janeway broke through and fell on the ball for a ten yards gain and first down for Princeton.

To say that the Yale team were frantic with surprise and rage would be putting it mildly.  Poor Hanson came in for some pretty rough flagging.  He swore by all that was good and holy that he had received the signal to put the ball in play, which was true.  But Wurtenburg insisted that he had not given the signal.  There was no time for wrangling at that moment as the referee ordered the game to proceed.

Project Gutenberg
Football Days from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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