MoboReader > Young Adult > The High School Freshmen; or, Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and Sports


The High School Freshmen; or, Dick & Co.'s First Year Pranks and Sports By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 9147

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

It was almost a touchdown for Cobber when Ben Badger rallied his men enough to fight the college men back some twenty-odd yards. But then the tide turned once more, and Cobber began to fight its way back to the High School goal line.

The spectators had given up hope, all save those who sat in the

Cobber seats.

This was to be the first defeat of the season, and the whipping was to come from worthy foemen. Yet are home folks ever satisfied to see their own youngsters beaten?

Defeat was now conceded, however. Even Coach Morton, though his face did not betray him, had given up all hope.

Dick, however, kept calling for the cheers and yells. The student body did their best, but their spirits were low.

Once Morton turned and frowned, but Freshman Prescott did not see him. The coach feared that this jubilant racket would get on the nerves of the Gridley battlers.

"How many minutes will it take Cobber to cross our line?" murmured

Dave in Dick's ear.

"They won't do it before next year," Prescott staunchly retorted.

Just then Cobber lost fifteen yards on penalty, and Gridley H.S. had the ball at the moment when it was sadly needed.

"Band, four bars of 'Hot Time in the Old Town!'" yelled Prescott through the big megaphone.

The leader's baton fell like a flash. The band itself sharing in the excitement fairly ripped the air out in gallop time.

As Ben Badger heard he straightened up for a moment, shaking his long locks in the wind. A smile crossed his face. Then he bent over the ball for the pass.

"Nine--fourteen, eighteen--seven!" he called.

Evans darted quickly out on his end. Quarter-back Winters moved his feet somewhat to left. Trent, left half-back, shot swiftly away to an altered position.

Captain Halsey, of the college team, saw instantly that it looked like a long pass and a sprint around Gridley's left end. A football general must change front swiftly. At the signal, Cobber disposed itself to bunch against the High School left.

The whistle blew. Winters got the ball, and made the movements for a kick. Cobber men, in the air on the jump, halted somewhat uncertainly, some of them.

It was a fake kick, and a royally good one. The ball went to

Stearns instead. Out around the right end dashed the little left,

with Gridley support thumping over the ground to back him up.

But Stearns was the best Gridley runner on the field today.

Moreover, he had not been worked as hard as had Evans.

A nimble dodge, and Stearns was past the first Cobber interference.

A howl of delight went up from the home fans.

Then Cobber's secondary defense made a dash for Stearns. The latter found himself balked, so headed straight for them. Through the line he made a dash. It was too much for little Stearns. Down he went, and a groan of disappointment went up from the Gridley seats.

Yet only to one knee went the swift little end. He was up and off again like a shot. One Cobber man wheeled and would have grabbed the little right end, but there was where Frank Thompson played for all there was in him. He pitched forward, falling headlong, and Smith, of Cobber, fell over him.

It was a sprint, now! For an instant the field close to Stearns was clear of opposition.

Wild cheering broke loose. Dick Prescott fairly danced for joy.

Ah! Here came some of the belated Cobber men, supporting their fullback.

There was a heavy crash. Stearns, caught in the midst of the mixup, went down, but he covered the pigskin!

Then the linesman hurried up. The news was so good that it flew from mouth to mouth along the east side boards:

"Forty-two yards!"

Cobber's captain gasped. It had been close playing all afternoon. He had looked for nothing like this. Clearly, Gridley's fake kick tactics were all of the real thing.

For the first time Halsey and his best men felt much of their confidence ooze.

Down almost over the line, Gridley soon had the ball, while the home fans were again standing up and cheering. Then a penalty set the ball back. But Gridley soon had the ball again.

In two plays the doughty High School boys carried the pigskin eight yards. Only nine to go!

As Badger's signals rang out for the third pass, Badger's men were seen to spread. Another fake kick?

Then the ball went backward. Winters, of course, took it. Like magic, while watchful Cobber stood opened up, the Gridley line closed in again. Artful Dodger Winters still had the ball. Thompson, Edgeworth, Badger and Beck butted in solidly behind the lithe quarter-back. The rest of G

ridley followed.

Cheek of cheek! The out-weighed High School boys were giving Cobber a dose of Cobber medicine. It was a mass-play--a battering-ram assault.

And Gridley got it over! An inch past the line Winters tripped and went down, covering the ball.


Five to five a tie score!

"Kick the goal!" came the hoarse appeal from the east side seats.

"Kick as you never kicked before!"

Gridley fans could fairly hear themselves shake now. Hats were off and waving. The High School girls stood up, frantically waving their crimson and gold banners.

Cool, steady, like one without nerves, Thompson went back into the field and poised himself for the kick.

At the whistle the dull thump of a boot against the pigskin was heard all over the field. The ball arched and soared. Even before it came toward earth a wild "hurrah!" went up from the east side. The ball went straight between the bars!

Score: "Six to five!"

Badger and his young reliables were quietly smiling, now. Captain

Halsey began to look glum.

"Four bars of 'Hot Time' once more!" begged Dick Prescott, in a voice that sounded as if palsy-touched.

The band blared out while the teams were changing ends.

Once more Cobber got the ball on the kick-off. A massed rush was made for Gridley's goal, but it didn't get far. With eleven minutes left to play, and a lead on the score, Badger had resolved on using up all the reserve strength, if need be. Gridley had not yet called on any substitutes, and several capable young "subs" waited just outside the lines, frantic for a call. Let Cobber be rough, if that suited the college men.

Cobber lost the ball on downs.

Then Gridley took the pigskin.

"Play for time," was Badger's signaled order.

Not much in the delay line is possible under a vigilant referee, yet all the time that strategy could gain was taken advantage of.

Thrice the ball was fought over the center of the gridiron. Then it settled slowly toward the High School goal, making slow, stubbornly fought advances.

Three minutes left to play!

Gridley H.S. got the ball once more, under the distance rule.

Now Badger called out the same signal that had been used for that most effective fake kick.

Captain Halsey smiled as he saw the High School fighters spread out swiftly, just as they had done before.

Halsey thought he knew this time! That same old ruse of dashing around the left end; then a fake kick and a dashing race by Stearns. Halsey's swiftly telegraphed orders disposed his men to meet the former dodge more effectively.

The whistle sounded, and the ball was passed. But what Halsey didn't know was that, the second time this signal was called it meant the players were to do exactly what they seemed spreading out for.

So the ball actually went around the left end this time, Evans making the best sprint that was left in his stiffening muscles.

He covered twenty-four yards before he was brought to earth.

Here was where delay came in. While Cobber was fighting stubbornly to regain the pigskin, the whistle sounded the end of the second half.

Gridley had won from the big enemy!

Now pandemonium broke loose. Two thousand people leaped up and down, yelling themselves hoarse.

So many hats went into the air that it was a miracle if every man recovered his own headgear.

The band didn't play; the student body didn't sound a yell. What would have been the use? There was too much noise.

Dick made a bound, landing beside the band leader.

"Hustle your men, please! Get out into the field and lead our men off."

It needed quick work, for the players were already leaving the grounds. The wildest fans were getting over the lines, mingling with the late players.

But the band got there on the run. Above all the din Ben Badger was quick to realize the meaning of the new move. He caught his men back, forming them just behind the forming band. Off marched the victorious team to the air of "Hot Time!" That brought down the cheering harder than ever.

While it lasted, Dick and Dave, by frantic movements, succeeded in holding a large proportion of the student body back in their seats.

As soon as the band had reached the far end of the field, and the human racket had died down somewhat, Freshman Prescott succeeded in making himself heard:

"Now! Our final yell of victory!"

This was the High School yell, followed, instantly, by the taunting query:

"Is there any game you do play, Cobber?"

But there came no answer from the depths of the gloomy Cobber fans.

(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top