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BY RALPH HENRY BARBOUR
Author of “The Crimson Sweater,” “Kingsford, Quarter,” “Team-Mates," etc.
CHAPTER XIII HAWTHORNE COMES TO CONQUER
THE day of the Hawthorne game dawned cold and gray, with a chill breeze out of the east. Hawthorne, two hundred strong, took possession of the village before noon, taxing the capacities of the railroad restaurant and the various lunchrooms to the limit. At one, Gil and Poke set off to the field. “If you don't win, Poke Endicott,” called Hope from the porch, as the boys started down the road, “I’ll never speak to you again " “After that threat,” laughed Poke, “I shall simply eat 'em alive, Hope l’’ The rest of the household, Jim, Jeffrey, Hope, Mrs. Hazard, and Mr. Hanks, started an hour later. Mr. Hanks, having had foot-ball suddenly thrust into his philosophy, displayed an amazing interest and curiosity. “You see,” he confided to Mrs. Hazard, “I have never witnessed a game of foot-ball. This may seem—er—strange to you, madam, for my college was, I believe, very successful at the game. The fact, however, is that I never had time to attend the contests. I am quite curious to see how the sport is indulged in. It must, it would seem, be—er—quite interesting.” When the Sunnywood party arrived at the field, Hawthorne, looking, in its black-and-orange, like an army of young Princetonians, was already warming up for the fray. Along the ropes, across the white-barred turf, Hawthorne's supporters were singing and cheering. It was cold enough for heavy clothing and rugs, and Hope snuggled down comfortably between her mother and Mr. Hanks on the grand stand. Beyond Mrs. Hazard sat Jim, with Jeffrey beside him. The Crofton side of the field was three and four deep with spectators; and at ten minutes before the time set for starting the game, two things happened simultaneously: the Crofton team, brave in new uniforms of crimson and gray, trotted onto the field to the wild shouts of its supporters, and the sun burst through the murk in a sudden blaze of glory. Hope waved her banner. “That,” she cried ecstatically, “means we shall Win |'' Crofton took the field for practice, Gary, back in his togs once more, racing down the gridiron like a joyful colt. A moment later, Gil ran up and called excitedly to Jim across the rope.
“Come on and be our linesman, Jim. You see,” he continued, as Jim ducked under the barrier and strode across the field with him, “you 'll be nearer things, and can watch the game a heap better. There 's your partner in crime over there with the chain. Introduce yourself like a gentleman, shake hands, and welcome him to the funeral. They 've got a pretty husky set of men, have n't they? That 's Gould, the little chap talking to Johnny. He 's the man we 've got to watch to-day. There 's the whistle. Root for us, Jim 1" Hawthorne spread herself over the west end of the field to receive the kick-off, Duncan Sargent patted the tee into shape, poised the ball, and looked around him. “All ready, Hawthorne? All ready, Crofton P” questioned the referee. Both teams assented, the whistle blew, Sargent sent the ball spinning down the field, and the game was on. Johnny had instructed his team to get the jump on Hawthorne at the start, and it obeyed him. From the first line-up, Poke Endicott tore off eighteen yards outside of tackle, and Crofton began a rushing advance that took the ball to Hawthorne's fifteen-yard mark. Hawthorne stiffened as the play neared the goal-line, and Arnold tried a forward pass to Tearney, right end. This failed, and the ball went to the orange-and-black. But on the very next play, Hawthorne's left half fumbled, and Benson, Crofton's full-back, dived into the scramble and recovered the pigskin. Crofton's machine started up again, and after three rushes, Poke shot through and over the goal-line for a well-earned touch-down. Sargent kicked goal. The crimson-and-gray flags waved madly, and three hundred voices cheered and yelled. Even Mrs. Hazard clapped her hands, and Mr. Hanks, just beginning to understand the scheme of things, beamed approvingly through his spectacles. As for Hope, why, Hope was already breathless from screaming, and trembling with excitement. That was the only scoring, and the first period ended with the ball in Crofton's possession on her rival's twenty-seven yards. Hawthorne's chief mainstay was her quarterback, Gould, a remarkable all-around player. A brainy general, a certain catcher of punts, a brilliant runner either in a broken field or an open, and a clever manipulator of the forward pass, Crofton held him in great respect. Hawthorne's team was, in a manner, built around Gould, and in that lay whatever weakness it possessed. Johnny had coached his players to stop Gould, knowing that, aside from his perform
ances, Hawthorne had very little to offer in the matter of ground-gaining feats. And throughout the first period, Gould failed to get away with anything. Crofton watched him as a cat watches a mouse, and every move of his was smothered. Whenever he caught a punt in the back field, Tearney and Gil were down on him, to stand him on his plucky little head immediately.
The second period began with Crofton in high feather. Benson and Smith, left half, each made short gains, and then Arnold tried a forward pass from Hawthorne's twenty-five-yard mark. He threw too far, however, and the orange-andblack received the ball on its thirteen-yard line. Gould kicked, and, thanks to two holding penalties, Crofton was forced back into its own territory in the next few minutes. Then Arnold's punt went to Gould on his forty yards. With the first real flash of form he had shown, the little quarter-back tore off fifteen yards. From the center of the field, and close to the side-line, he made his first successful forward pass, a hard, low throw along the edge of the field, to his right end, who caught the ball over his shoulder, and ran to Crofton's thirty-four-yard line. A try at the line netted two yards. Then Gould again hurled the pigskin, this time selecting his left end for receiver, and sending a low drive to him on Crofton's twenty-five yards. For a moment, it looked as though Hawthorne would score there and then, for the runner sprinted to Crofton's eight-yard line before he was pulled down from behind. Across the field, Hawthorne was wild with joy, and two hundred of her loyal sons shouted and danced with delight. Then Hawthorne tried one rush, and lost a yard. Crofton was now plainly over-anxious, and when, on the next play, Gould sent his right halfback at the right wing on a delayed pass, Tearney was drawn in, and the yellow-and-black player simply romped across the line for a touch-down. From this Haw– thorne's right end kicked a goal from a difficult angle, and the score was tied.
Then it seemed that Hawthorne had found herself. The orange-and-black took heart, and after Crofton had kicked off again, Gould ran the ball
(SEE PAGE 594.)