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The High School Captain of the Team; or, Dick & Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 12870

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"Kicker" Drayne Revolts

"I'm going to play quarter-back," declared Drayne stolidly.

"You?" demanded Captain Dick Prescott, looking at the aspirant in stolid wonder.

"Of course," retorted Drayne. "It's the one position I'm best fitted for of all on the team."

"Do you mean that you're better fitted for that post than anyone else on the team?" inquired Prescott. "Or that it's the position that best fits your talents?"

"Both," replied Drayne.

Dick Prescott glanced out over Gridley High School's broad athletic field.

A group of the middle men of the line, and their substitutes, had gathered around Coach Morton.

On another part of the field Dave Darrin was handling a squad of new football men, teaching how to rush in and tackle the swinging lay figure.

Still others, under Greg Holmes, were practicing punt kicks.

Drayne's face was flushed, and, though he strove to hide the fact, there was an anxious look there.

"I didn't quite understand, Drayne," continued the young captain of the team, "that you were to take a very important part this year."

"Pshaw! I'd like to know why I'm not," returned the other boy hotly.

"I think that is regarded as being the general understanding," continued Dick. He didn't like this classmate, yet he hated to give offense or to hurt the other's feelings in any way.

"The general understanding?" repeated Drayne hotly. "Then I can tell the man who started that understanding."

"I think I can, too," Prescott answered, smiling patiently.

"It was you, Dick Prescott! You, the leader of Dick & Co., a gang that tries to boss everything in the High School!

"Cool down a bit," advised young Prescott coolly. "You know well enough that the little band of chums who have been nicknamed Dick & Co. don't try to run things in the High School. You know, too, Drayne, if you'll be honest about it, that my chums and I have sometimes sacrificed our own wishes to what seemed to be the greatest good of the school."

"Then who is the man who has worked to put me on the shelf in football?" insisted the other boy, eyeing Dick menacingly.

"Yourself, Drayne!"

"What are you talking about?" cried Drayne, more angry than before.

"Don't be blind, Drayne," continued the young captain. "And don't be silly enough to pretend that you don't know just what I mean. You remember last Thanksgiving Day?"

"Oh, that?" said Drayne, contemptuously. "Just because I wouldn't do just what you fellows wished me to do?

"I was there," pursued Captain Prescott, "and I heard all that was said, saw all that was done. There was nothing unreasonable asked of you. Some of the fellows were a good bit worried as to whether you were really in shape for the game, and they talked about it among themselves. They didn't intend you to over hear, but you did, and you took offense. The next thing we knew, you were hauling off your togs in hot temper, and telling us that you wouldn't play. You did this in spite of the fact that we were about to play the last and biggest game of the season."

"I should say I wouldn't play, under such circumstances! Nor would you, Prescott, had the same thing happened to you."

"I have had worse things happen to me," replied Dick coolly. "I have been hectored to pieces, at times, both on the baseball and football teams. The hectoring has even gone so far that I have had to fight, more than once. But never sulked in dressing quarters and refused to go on the field."

"No!" taunted Drayne. "And a good reason why. You craved to get out, always, and make grand stand plays!"

"I suppose I'm as fond of applause from the grand stand as any other natural fellow," laughed Dick good-humoredly. "But I'll tell you one thing, Drayne: I never hear a murmur of what comes from the grand stand until the game is over. I play for the success of the team to which I belong, and listening to applause would take my mind off the plays. But, candidly, what the fellows have against you, is that you're a quitter. You throw down your togs at a critical moment, and tell us you won't play, just because your fearfully sensitive feelings have been hurt. Now, a sportsman doesn't do that."

"Oh, it's all right for you to take on that mighty superior air, and try to lecture me," retorted Drayne gruffly.

"I'm not lecturing you. But the fellows chose me to lead the team this year, and the captain is the spokesman of the team. He also has to attend to its disagreeable business. Don't blame me, Drayne, and don't blame anyone else---"

"Captain Prescott!" sounded the low, but clean-cut, penetrating voice of Mr. Morton, submaster and football coach of the Gridley High School.

"Coming, sir!" answered Dick promptly.

Then he added, to Drayne:

"Just blame your own conduct for the decision that was reached by coach and myself after listening to the instructions of the alumni Athletics Committee."

Dick moved away at a loping run, for football practice was limited to an hour and a half in an afternoon, and he knew there was no time to be frittered.

"Oh, you sneak!" quivered Drayne, clenching his hands as he scowled at the back of the captain. "It was you who brought up the old dispute. It is you who are keeping me from any decent chance this last year of mine in the High School. I won't stand it! I'll shake the dust from my feet on this crowd. I won't remain in the squad, just for a possible chance to sub in some small game!"

His face still hot with what he considered righteous indignation,

Drayne felt better as soon as he had decided to shake the crowd.

In an instant, however, he changed his mind. A sly, exultant look came into his eyes.

"On second thought I believe I won't quit," he grinned to himself. "I'll stay--I'll drill--and I'll get good and square with this cheap crowd, captained by a cheap man! Gridley hasn't lost a game in years. Well, you chaps shall lose more than one game this year! I'll teach you! I'll make this a year that shall never be forgotten by humbled Gridley pride!"

Just what Phin Drayne was planning will doubtless be made plain ere long.

Readers of the preceding volumes in this series are already familiar with nearly all the people, young and old, of both sexes, whom they are now to meet again. In the first volume, "The High School Freshmen," our readers became acquainted with Dick Prescott, Dave Darrin, Greg Holmes, Dan Dalzell, Tom Reade and

Harry Hazelton, six young chums who, back in their days in the Central Grammar School Gridley, had become fast friends, and had become known as Dick & Co.

These chums played together, planned together, entered all sports together. They were inseparable. All were manly young fellows. When they entered Gridley High School, and caught the fine High School spirit prevailing there, they made the honor of the school even more important than their own companionship.

In the first year at High School the boys, being mere freshmen, could not expect to enter any of the school's athletic teams. Yet, as our readers know, Dick and his friends found many a quiet way to boost local interest and pride in High School athletics. Dick & Co. also indulged in many merry and startlingly novel pranks. Dick secured an amateur position as space reporter on "The Blade," the morning newspaper of the little city, and was assigned, among other things, to look after the news end of the transactions of the Board of Education. The "influence" that young Prescott secured in that way doubtless saved him from having grave trouble, or being expelled when, owing to Dr. Thornton's ill-health, Abner Cantwell, a man with an uncontrollable temper, came temporarily to the principal's chair. To everybody's great delight, at the beginning of this their senior year, Dr. Thornton had returned to his position fully restored to his former vigor and health.

In "The High School Pitcher" Dick & Co., then sophomores, were shown in some fine work with the Gridley High School nine, and Dick had serious, even dangerous, Trouble, with mean, treacherous enemies that he made.

In "The High School Left End," Dick & Co., juniors, made their real entrance into High School athletics by securing places in the school football eleven. It was in this year that there occurred the famous strife between the "soreheads" and their enemies, whom the former termed the "muckers." The "soreheads" were the sons of certain aristocratic families who resolved to secede from football in case any of the members of Dick & Co. or of other poor Gridley families, were allowed to make places on the team. As the group of "soreheads" contained a few young men who were really absolutely necessary to the success of the Gridley High School football eleven, the strife threatened to put Gridley in the back row as far as football went.

But Dick, with his characteristic vigor, went after the "soreheads" in the columns of "The Blade." He covered them with ridicule and scorn so that the citizens of the town began to take a hand in the matter as soon as their public pride was aroused.

The "soreheads" were driven, then, to apply for places in the football squad. Only those most needed, however, had been admitted, and the rest had retired in sullen admission of defeat.

Two of the latter, Bayliss and Bert Dodge, carried matters so far, however, that they were actually forced out of the High School and left Gridley to go to a preparatory school elsewhere.

The hostile attempts of young Ripley, of Dodge, Drayne and others to injure Dick & Co. have been fully related in the four volumes of the "High School Boys' Vacation Series." This series deals with the good times enjoyed by Dick & Co. during their first three summers as high school boys. These stories are replete with summer athletics, and a host of exciting adventures. The four volumes of this Vacation Series are published under the titles: "The High School Boys' Canoe Club," "The High School Boys in Summer Camp," "The High School Boys Fishing Trip" and "The High School Boys' Training Hike."

This present year no "sorehead" movement had been attempted. Every student who honestly wanted to play football presented himself at the school gymnasium, on the afternoon named by Coach Morton for the call, including Drayne, who had been one of the original "soreheads." Drayne afterwards returned to the football fold, behaving with absurd childishness at the big Thanksgiving game, as our readers will recall.

Leaving Coach Morton, Captain Prescott hurried away to take charge of the practice.

"Come, Mr. Drayne!" called Coach Morton "Get into the tackling work, and be sure to mix it up lively."

"Just a moment, coach, if you please," begged Drayne.

"Well, Drayne?" asked Mr. Morton

"Captain Prescott has just been telling me that I'm to be only a sort of sub this year."

"Well, he's captain," replied the submaster.

"Huh! I thought it was all Prescott's fine work!" sneered Phin.

"You're wrong there, Mr. Drayne," rejoined the coach frankly. "As a matter of fact, it was I who suggested that you be cast for light work this year."

"Oh!" muttered Drayne

"Yes; if you feel like blaming anyone, blame me, not Prescott.

You know, Drayne, you didn't behave very well last Thanksgiving


"I admit that my behavior was unreasonable, sir. But you know,

Mr. Morton, that I'm one of the valuable men."

"There's a crowd of valuable men this year, Drayne," smiled the submaster.

"On the strongest pledge that I can give you, Mr. Morton, will you allow me to play regular quarter-back this season?" begged the quitter of the year before.

"I would give the idea more thought if Prescott recommended it; but I doubt if he would," answered Mr. Morton slowly. "Personally, Drayne, I don't approve of putting you on strong this year. The quitter's reputation Drayne, is one that can't ever be really lived down, you know."

Though coach's manner was mild enough, there was look of the resolute eyes of this famous college athlete that made Phin Drayne realized how I hopeless it was to expect any consideration from him.

"All right then Mr. Morton," he replied huskily. "I'll do my best on a small showing, and take what comes to me."

Yet, as he walked slowly over to join the tacklers around the swinging figure, the hot blood came again to young Drayne's face.

"I'll make this year a year of sorrow Gridley!" he quivered indignantly. "I'll hang on, and make believe I'm meek as a lamb, but I'll spoil Gridley's record for this year! There was in olden times a chap who had a famous knack for getting square with people who used him the wrong way. I wish I could remember his name at this moment."

Drayne couldn't recall the name at the time, but another name that might have served Drayne to remember at this instant was--

Benedict Arnold.

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