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   Chapter 6 THE HATE OF A RIVAL

Dave Darrin's Third Year at Annapolis; Or, Leaders of the Second Class Midshipmen By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 11503

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The day following was one of intense, almost complicated routine.

There were books and supplies to be drawn for the new academic year. There were uniforms and other articles of apparel to be drawn. The sections were detailed and section marchers to be appointed. There were details of military organization to be announced. Some of the young men had to go up for physical examination, even if only of the eyes.

At the afternoon recreation hour Hepson led the big football squad out to the field. Hundreds of midshsipmen went there to see how the Navy would show up in the vitally important tests. At the outset Hepson was everywhere, like a buzzing, excitable wasp. Nor did he prove to be minus a sting at times.

"I think, sir," suggested Hepson, going over to Lieutenant-Commander Havens, the head coach, "that it would be well for us to know something about the running speed of every candidate."

"Very good, Mr. Hepson; try out any man that you're curious about," replied the officer.

"Darrin, Dalzell, Page, Farley, White, Bryant," called the captain of the Navy team. "Each of you pick up a ball. Line up at this goal-line, Joyce, will you take a stop-watch and go over to the other goal-line? Adams, go along and assist Joyce. I want a record of the time it takes each man to cover the distance, running as fast as he can with the ball."

The men designated took their places.

"I'll run you first, Darrin," announced the captain. "Go like a streak, if you can. If you fall down it counts zero. Start when I say 'go.' Are you ready?"

"Quite ready."


At the word Dave sped away like a shot, Hepson giving a hand signal as he uttered the starting word, that the time-keeper at the other end might know when to release the watch. Dave's time was noted. Then Dan took a try, covering the distance in only two fifths of a second more time than Darrin had required. Farley was a second and three fifths behind Darrin's time; Page, a full two seconds behind. White and Bryant then ran, but only succeeded in about tying Page's work.

Then six more men were called to the line and tried out. After that a third squad. By this time Midshipman Hepson had his mind about made up as to the relative speeds of some of the most likely men for the final Navy team.

"Get out for some kicks, now!" called Hepson.

"When are you going to play football?" growled one man.

Midshipman Hepson turned on him like a flash.

"Jetson, there's a substitute captain in the squad, but you're not the man. Neither are you one of the coaches."

"Oh, you make me-" began Jetson, but Midshipman Hepson cut him short with:

"If you can't keep silence when you've nothing to say, your absence from the field will be considered a favor to the whole squad."

Jetson scowled, but said nothing more. Neither did he offer to retire from the field.

"Jetson has always been a kicker and a trouble mosquito," whispered Dan

Dalzell to his chum.

"Oh, in a lot of ways Jetson is a nice fellow," Darrin replied quietly. "The greatest trouble that ails him is that he has just a trifle too large opinion of the importance of his own opinions. There are a lot of us troubled in that way."

The kicking practice was put through with dash and vim. Then Midshipman Hepson, after a brief conference with the head coach, called off the line-up for the provisional Navy team, following this with a roster of the second team, or "Rustlers," so called because they force the men of the Navy team to rustle to keep their places.

Dave Darrin was called off for left tackle, Dan for left end. Farley and

Page held the corresponding positions on the right end of the line-up.

"Begin the game, the Rustlers to have the ball," called

Lieutenant-Commander Havens.

"And mix it up lively, Navy," called Hepson, who, both on account of his size and other qualifications, played center.

At the whistle-blast the Rustlers kicked it off-a beautiful, long, arching curve. The ball came to quarter-back, who passed it to Dave Darrin.

Then the fun began.

The Navy line hit the Rustlers hard and tried to bump through. Dan Dalzell devoted every ounce of his strength and every turn of his energy to boosting Darrin through-and Dave himself was not idle. There was an instant of sullen, hard resistance. Then, somehow, Dave was shot through the opposing line. Like a deer he sped, Dan hanging to his flanks. It was up to the Rustlers' halfback now, and that bulky young midshipman leaped to the fray, cleverly barring the way.

At least, the Rustlers' halfback thought he had Darrin blocked. It is never wise to take too much for granted.

As the halfback planted himself for the grapple, Dave suddenly dropped through that opponent's grip and went to the ground.

As though he had been shot through, Dave Darrin went under and past, on one side, between the halfback's legs. He was up again, with Dan at his back. Fullback came at them, but Dan bumped that player aside. Dave dashed on across the line, scoring a touchdown.

Never had the gridiron been the scene of greater excitement than in that rousing moment.

"Darrin! Darrin! Darrin!" came hoarsely; from hundreds of throats.

"Dalzell! Dalzell!" came the next gusty roar.

Hepson wiped a moist brow with one hand.

"There are two real players, if they can keep that up," muttered the captain of the eleven.

Jetson had been the tackle opposed to Dave. Just now Jetson was nursing a bump to his vanity.

"How on earth did I ever happen to let Darrin through?" Jetson demanded of himself. "I won't do it again, anyway. If I can only make Darrin look small, I may get his place on the Navy eleven. Darrin is a good fellow, but I've got to make the team, confou

nd him!"

The kick for goal failed. Then the Navy took the ball and promptly enough the Rustlers came back with it, Jetson carrying.

Dave and Dan met the ball-carrier. The Rustlers' support failed, and Jetson went down with the ball. Nor could the second team advance the ball, so it presently came to the Navy men again.

"I want you to put it through again like a cannon-ball, Darrin,"

Midshipman Hepson whispered as they passed.

So the quarter-backs called for a repetition of the play, giving different signals.

Dave received the ball with a rush of his old-time fervor and confidence.

Dan started behind him as full of fire as ever.

In a fraction of a second the impact of the two opposing lines came. Jetson went down, one of his legs flying between Darrin's in such a way as to constitute a foul.

Dave Darrin went down on top of the ball. Half a dozen players sprawled over him. The referee's whistle blew.

"Jetson, that was a mean, deliberate trip," remarked Darrin, as he sprang to his feet. He spoke coolly, with a warning flash in his eyes.

"Not on my part," retorted Jetson.

"You thrust your leg between mine as you went down."

Coach signed to referee not to renew the game for the moment. Then

Lieutenant-Commander Havens and the two team captains crowded close.

"I didn't do it deliberately, as you charged," retorted Jetson, hot with anger.

"You deny it?" insisted Dave.

"I do."

"On your word as a gentleman you did not intend, a foul trip?" demanded

Midshipman Darrin.

"I have already answered you."

"Answer me on your word as a gentleman."

"I don't have to."

"Very good, then," retorted Dave, turning away with a meaning smile.

"Hold on. I pledge you my word as a gentleman that I did not intend to make a foul trip," said Jetson, swiftly realizing the error of his refusal.

In the meantime Lieutenant-Commander Havens had turned to Motley, of the first class, who was serving as referee.

"Mr. Motley," demanded coach, "did you see just what happened?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you call it a foul trip?"

"I do, sir. If I were referee in a regular game, I would penalize the team and order the player from the field."

"Mr. Jetson-" began the coach, but, swift as a flash Dave Darrin interposed, though respectfully, saluting at the same time.

"Will you pardon me, sir. Mr. Jetson has given me his word that he did not intend a foul trip. I accept his word without reservation."

"Very good, then," nodded coach. "But Mr. Jetson, you will do well to be careful in the future, and avoid even the appearance of evil."

"Yes, sir; very good, sir," answered Jetson, looking decidedly sheepish.

In giving his word Jetson had told the truth, or had intended to. The exact truth was that he really did not realize what he had done until it was too late to avoid the foul. He had meant to stop Darrin, somehow.

"Pull that scrimmage off again," directed Coach Havens dryly.

The ball was placed, the whistle sounded, and again Dave received the ball and tried to break through. With the Rustlers prepared for the move, it was blocked and the ball was "down."

Jetson felt his face burning. He knew, well enough, that many of the players regarded him with suspicion.

"I suppose that suspicion will stick, and my chances of making the Navy eleven are now scantier than ever," muttered the unfortunate midshipman to himself.

The whistle blew before any further advantage had been gained. Coach and Midshipman Hepson had gained considerable insight into the work of the team.

"Mr. Hepson," said coach aside, in the interval that followed, "you have done well, I think, to place two such men as Darrin and Dalzell on the provisional team."

"I am glad you think so, sir," replied the Navy football captain, "for that is the way it strikes me."

"If you keep them at the left flank you'll have something like dynamite there," smiled coach. "Mr. Darrin goes through like a cannon-ball, and Dalzell is always just where Darrin needs him."

"These men have played together before, and they're used to team work, sir," said Midshipman Hepson.

"So? Where did they play before coming to Annapolis?"

"On what was, in their day, one of the best High School eleven's going, sir."

"Oho! Do you know, Mr. Hepson, they play more like college men than anything else. It must have been a bully High School team that graduated them."

"From the little that I've heard, sir, that High School team was a great one."

Coach and captain walked back to the scene.

"You will now play another ten-minute period," directed Mr. Havens.

"Jetson will withdraw from the second eleven during the next period and

Doyle will take his place."

"So that's what coach and team captain were hatching up?" thought Midshipman Jetson. "That gives me a black eye, and my chances of making the Navy eleven are now worse than ever. Probably I won't even make sub."

As Navy and Rustlers again collided in the fray, Jetson watched Dave's work narrowly, furiously.

"Darrin always was a smooth one," Jetson declared angrily to himself. "And now, just because he raised a 'holler', my football prospects are set back for this year. Probably I can't make the eleven next year, either. And it's all Darrin's fault!"

In forming the second half the coach called:

"Mr. Jetson will resume his place as right tackle on the second eleven."

"Jetson's not here, sir," called a midshipman.

"Where is he?" asked Coach Havens.

"I think he went off the field, sir, to un-tog."

"He should not have left the field without permission," remarked the coach coldly.

Jetson heard of the remark that evening, and his anger against Dave

Darrin increased.

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