Cumberland - Chapter 13: The Game

Five days shalt thou labor, as the Bible says.
The seventh day is the Lord thy God’s.
The sixth day is for football.
- Anthony Burgess, English novelist

     The date was October 7, 1916. This was the day the Georgia Tech players had been waiting all week for. This was Saturday, a day not like any other day known to man. Because, on Saturday, that is when true glory is achieved. Where one can witness a symphony of athletic artistry and feats of divine wonder that oftentimes defy comprehension. When men will rise, hearts will race, and legends will be made. Yes, my dear friends, this was Saturday. This was the reason God made Sunday the day of rest.

     As fans funneled into the stadium for the early afternoon kickoff, the campus was already abuzz for the day’s gridiron activities. The stadium smelled of freshly cut grass and hot concession foods. In attendance were roughly a thousand anxious spectators, the majority of which populated the west grandstands. Others watched from vehicles lining the east side of the field. The men in the stands were typically attired in dark wool suits and the women in calf-length dresses and view-obstructing hats. A church bell chimed somewhere off in the distance. But it was not to mark the beginning of a church mass where our eternal salvation hung in the balance. This was something far more important than that. This was a football game.

     An announcement on page ten of the Atlanta Constitution alerted the residents of Atlanta of the afternoon contest with little fanfare:


YELLOW JACKETS PLAY CUMBERLAND

Local Eleven Should Have Easy Sailing in Today’s Game
Game Starts at 3 O’Clock

     The Tech Yellow Jackets will play the second game of the 1916 season this afternoon at Grant Field, starting at 3 o’clock, with the Cumberland university eleven as their opponents.

     This game should be a practice romp for the Jackets, but local interest in the game will center on what progress the local eleven has made after a week’s more practice and behind closed gates.

     The same line-up that opened the game against Mercer will probably start in this contest with many changes being recorded as the game progresses.

     The admission fee will be $1 and tickets can be purchased at Elkin Drug company.


     Still, the Tech supporters and devotees turned out for the game to cheer their team on toward victory. In the visiting team locker room, the Cumberland players clung to the faint hope of some sort of pardon from the Governor that would never come. The efforts of George Allen had fallen on deaf ears. The team would have to play the game to avoid the costly forfeiture penalty, not to mention, collect the $500 guarantee. To make matters more unpleasant, the uniforms “borrowed” from the nearby Castle Heights School were rumored to have been unwashed when they were stolen and still smelled of their previous usage.

     The Cumberland players did take the opportunity to pose in the uniforms for a team photo beside one of the university buildings before they left. The players appeared optimistic and in good spirits in the team photograph. Based on the looks on their faces, they seemed full of hope in regards to what laid in front of them once they boarded that train to Atlanta. Anyone who steps into a competitive arena does so in hopes of being hailed as victors. That’s because winning feels infinite times better than losing feels. From the beginning of time, we, as humans, have always loved the stories of winners and greatness. Sportswriters like Grantland Rice made a career out of such tales, turning sportsmen into legendary heroes. Yet, to have winners, there must also be losers. For one person to feel the thrill of victory, another person must feel the agony of defeat. And some defeats, as this game would attest, could prove more agonizing than others.

     As the moment of truth arrived, the Cumberland Bulldogs, as the team was called even way back then, stepped onto the field to the boisterous boos and hisses of more than a thousand unwelcoming voices. On the heads of many of the loudest and most enthusiastic of the attendees, were the golden-colored RAT caps Tech freshman were obligated to wear on campus and to every game. In those days, they were known as “freshmen” caps and sported a white “F” on the front instead of the “T” that adorns the cap today. The caps had been started by the ANAK Society, the oldest known honor society at Georgia Tech, that featured Tech football players Froggie Morrison as treasurer and Jim Senter as president. Many who turned out for the game that day likely had to look up Lebanon on a map.

     The matchup was not expected to be among the toughest for Tech that season. Those games would be reserved for later in the season, after they had worked out all the glitches and kinks. In the final weeks of the football schedule, Tech had games lined up to play Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. This was considered more of a warm up contest, as the game with Mercer had been the week prior. But any team had the potential to upset their team and it was their job to provide the necessary spirit to ensure that would not be the case.

     As Heisman and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets entered the field, the Tech band responded with a rousing rendition of “Up With The White & Gold”, as the Tech faithful sang right along with them in loud, boisterous voices: 

Oh, well, it’s...
Up with the White and Gold, down with the red and black,
Georgia Tech is out for a victory.

We’ll drop our battle axe on Georgia’s head
When we meet her, our team is sure to beat her. 

Down on the farm there will be no sound
’Till our bow-wows rip through the air.

When the battle is over, Georgia’s team will be found.
With the Yellow Jackets swarming ’round.

     To the players on the Cumberland team, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets must have appeared impressive even from a distance. They marched stoically onto the field to raucous praise from the crowd, led by the legendary Coach John W. Heisman. The Tech players were all attired in matching team sweaters, leather helmets and baggy pants, but with their signature look of no tall stockings since Heisman considered it cooler for the players without them. It must have seemed to Cumberland that the Georgia Tech players were getting bigger the closer they got.

     Heisman had always been known for getting more out of the smaller-sized players at his disposal. But Heisman’s recruiting efforts resulted in powerhouse players for his powerhouse football program. Now he had size as well as speed and smarts. He built a highly talented and finely tuned team just like a true engineer. The game pitted small-town lawyers up against big city engineers.

     Cumberland had to feel some comfort in knowing that, up against a worldly and materialistic technology school, God would be their twelfth man. They were just hopeful he’d be able to tackle and block. This game pitted big against small, new south versus old south, science against religion. This was the top technological school in the south, sponsored by the state, going up against the top southern law school, born from the Presbyterian Church. On the tournament field, in front of 1,000 eager spectators, the men of science planned to smite the men of faith. The engineers had scientific football on their side. They had highly trained players. They had state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. They had the Heisman Shift. All that Cumberland had on their side seemed to be a wing and a prayer.

     Although the detail went greatly unnoticed at the time, the contest would have an impact on the game of football that went beyond the unforgettable final score. In his eagerness to put a statement-making hurting on the visitors from Cumberland, Heisman pioneered another important modernization without even realizing he was doing so. Prior to the kickoff, Heisman informed his players he planned to divide the team into two separate groups. The plan for two separate squads, or platoons, (with an offer of steak dinners to the platoon who played the best) was intended to keep players fresh so they could continue producing points at a high rate without letup from players getting tired.

     The concept, although a little masochistic in its intent, had a lasting impact nearly as game changing as the forward pass. Not only did platooning players become a standard resource for Heisman moving forward, it became the basis for the now standard practice of having separate Offensive and Defensive Squads. Today, a one-platoon system, called Iron Man Football, where a player participates on both sides of the ball is a rarity in the sport beyond the high school level. Leon McDonald, the Cumberland fullback, being the lawyer that he was, later argued that Cumberland also contributed a major innovation that day by first introducing the huddle to the sport of football. “We were so tired that I had to call the boys together every little bit to figure our surest way of living through the game,” recalled McDonald. “Our huddle idea seemed to catch on after that.”

     Along with legions of Tech supporters, also in attendance that afternoon were many of the sportswriters who had disagreed with Heisman over selecting a champion based on total points. Most of their newspapers awarded the southern title to Vanderbilt the year before, despite Heisman’s protests that Coach McGugin had run up inflated scores against inferior competition. The great Grantland Rice was in attendance covering the game, as well as Morgan Blake from the Atlanta Journal and Fuzzy Woodruff of the Atlanta Constitution, who would both run pieces in their papers the next day about the game.

     One person who was not in attendance for the game was Tech assistant coach Bill Alexander, who coached the scrub team. In a 1928 issue of Collier’s, Heisman recalled the words Alexander had left the team with as he departed on a scouting trip: “If you boys don’t lick Cumberland by 50 points,” Alexander told the team, “you ought to be whipped.” In response, Everett Strupper inquired, with a smile, “If we score 100 will you set ‘em up for the gang, Alex?” To which Alexander grinned, “I’ll set ‘em up for the varsity scrubs and the [freshman] if you make it 200.” Alexexander never expected in his wildest dreams he would have to pay. The newspapers the next day must have been a shock to Alexander to say the least.

     A coin toss by the referee decided which team received the ball first. Each team was represented by a team captain. The captain of the Georgia Tech team was Talley Johnston, the right halfback for the Yellow Jackets who’d been handed the duties from quarterback Froggie Morrison at the post-season banquet celebration at the close of the previous season. For the Cumberland team, George Allen had naturally appointed himself team captain. Georgia Tech won the toss, but in an act of generosity deferred to Cumberland, who chose to receive. Tech would defend the North goal.

Before sending his team onto the field, Allen reportedly offered his players some last-minute words of encouragement, telling them to “Remember the $500!” On the opposite sideline, Heisman offered his team some last-minute advice as well: “Remember the baseball game.”

     Jim Preas handled kicking duties for Georgia Tech in the first half. The opening kickoff, which Preas boomed to the South end of the field, resulted in Cumberland getting possession of the ball on their own 25-yard line. The kickoff also resulted in the game’s very first casualty, as Cumberland quarterback Eddie “QB” Edwards, who had been blocking on the return, lay writhing on the field after the play. In today’s football world, including the team’s starting quarterback as a blocker on kick returns is not generally regarded as a good idea. But this was a different time and the reader should refrain from being overly harsh in their judgment.

     With the injury to the starting quarterback Edwards, the team turned to his backup Morris Gouger. The Texas native responded by calling his own number, or vegetable rather, and bursting through the Georgia Tech line for a 3-yard gain. This run by Gouger ultimately proved the biggest gain of the game for Cumberland. When the Georgia Tech defense stiffened up and stopped the ball carrier in the next two runs, Cumberland was forced to punt.

     With an unimpressive punt by Cumberland combined with an impressive return by Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets started their drive on their opponent’s 20-yard line. On their first play, Tech swept around the left end and Everett Strupper, their all-star halfback, evaded all the would-be Cumberland tacklers for a score. Although blocking was not legal to do at the time, the Georgia Tech linemen were highly versed in the art of “interference”. On the touchdown run, the entire left side of the line (Walker “Big Six” Carpenter, Bob Lang and Pup Phillips) created a virtual wall of blockers that discarded any Cumberland player who even remotely occupied Strupper’s path to the end zone.

     As Preas put the ball through the uprights for the PAT, the Tech band punctuated the occasion with the “Ramblin’ Wreck” fight song, derived from an old English and Scottish drinking song “Son of a Gambolier”, and enthusiastically sung by school faithful following each and every Tech score:

I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer,
A helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer,
Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear,
I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.

Oh, if I had a daughter, sir, I'd dress her in White and Gold,
And put her on the campus, to cheer the brave and bold.
But if I had a son, sir, I'll tell you what he'd do.
He would yell, “To Hell with Georgia", like his daddy used to do.

Oh, I wish I had a barrel of rum and sugar three thousand pounds,
A college bell to put it in and a clapper to stir it around.
I'd drink to all good fellows who come from far and near.
I'm a ramblin', gamblin', hell of an engineer.

     Less than a minute had been played in the game and Georgia Tech was already up 7-0. There was no reason to panic on the Cumberland sidelines. George Allen clapped his hands and shouted encouragement to his players. They were set to receive the ball a second time. With a subpar kick return from Gouger, Cumberland started from the 10-yard line this time.

     The Tech defense was relentless and suffocating, particularly the lineman who included Carpenter, Lang, Phillips, Canty Alexander and Bill Fincher. “The rush line men of a football team on defense are the artillery that batter down the walls of the beleaguered city, while the secondary defense men are the infantry that rush in with their cold steel after the breach has been made,” wrote Heisman in Principles of Football. “It is the business of the defensive line to ‘Charge hard with the ball’, crowd back the other rush line into the faces of the advancing backs, smash up the interference and thereby force the runner out into the open. The secondary defense men coming up rapidly - as soon as they have made sure that it is a rushing attack and not a forward pass - are now close at hand to dispatch the runner with a deadly tackle.”

     Allen looked to his ringer John M. “Johnny Dog” Nelson to turn things around for the team. The former Cumberland player had reportedly played under the name of a current Cumberland student who only attended the university for a short time. A smart bet might be on the name “George Murphy” since Morgan Blake reported in the Atlanta Journal the next day he was the only player who showed up and made some plays. His first play would not be one of those, as Murphy fumbled the ball while sweeping around the right end and a Tech defender scooped it up and ran it in for another easy score. The Tech band fired up another spirited rendition of the “Ramblin’ Wreck” fight song as Preas put another point down the middle of the goal posts.

     Now the score was 14-0. Not an insurmountable lead. There was more hand clapping and shouts of encouragement from Allen. Morris Gouger returned the next kickoff 20 yards to start the team on the 30. Not a bad field position. The Georgia Tech defense, which was playing for steak dinners as well as avoiding the scorn of their coach, were not in the mood to give up anything to Cumberland. Under a swarm of Tech defends, Leon McDonald, the Cumberland fullback, fumbled on the opening handoff of the drive, just like Murphy had, and the ball was recovered by Tech back on the 20. Two straight drives, two straight turnovers. On the first play after taking over possession, Strupper took the ball around the right end for 15 yards. This play was significant for Cumberland in that it was the only time their defense would stop the shifty left halfback from scoring. These were admittedly small victories, but something a good coach could build on. Cumberland, unfortunately, was lacking one of those.

     Decades later, during a 40-year reunion, few Cumberland players could even remember the fella Allen had recruited to coach them. Knowing Allen, it would not be outside the realm of possibilities that Coach Butch McQueen had been recruited more for his masculine sounding name than any actual coaching ability. But that would be pure speculation. The responsibilities of hand clapping and shouts of encouragement (that must have already begun to lose their enthusiasm and authenticity) fell almost exclusively onto him.

     On the play following their momentous stop, Preas filled in for Strupper and took the ball in from five yards out, Georgia Tech touchdown. Preas kicked his own point after to make the score now 21-0. The Tech band cued up “Ramblin’ Wreck” once again as the crowd sung along in the grandstands. The automobiles, lined along the east side of the field, honked their horns along with the trumpets and tubas. This must have started to become a helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an annoying song to the players on the Cumberland sideline. The game was looking like it had the potential to be a score fest for Georgia Tech if they didn’t do something soon.

     On the next Cumberland possession, the team turned to Heisman’s own contribution to football to turn things around. On the first play from scrimmage, backup quarterback Gouger lost five yards, but on the next two plays Cumberland unleashed their passing attack upon Georgia Tech. Leon McDonald filled in for Gouger behind center and put the ball in the air on two consecutive plays. The effort would fall far short of the famous Notre Dame passing performance against Army in 1913 as both passes disappointingly went for incompletions.

     Thanks to a lackluster punt from Cumberland that went out of bounds, Tech only had to go 35 yards to add another score to their rapidly increasing point total. Buzz Shaver ran for the first 25 yards and Everett Strupper hit the same spot for the final 10 yards and the score. Strupper’s nickname, “Strupe”, was ideal for fans to shout out in unison following a big play. Strupe would provide them with many opportunities in this game.

     With the requisite fight song and PAT the score was 28-0. Allen had to be generally pleased with how his vegetable play-calling system had worked out so far. Except there was one thing he didn’t figure on: While the vegetable play-calling made it easier for Cumberland to remember the plays, after a few possessions, Georgia Tech started figuring out the plays as well. This was not all that surprising when you considered the knack Strupper had for reading plays, and lips, due to his lack of hearing. Before long, the entire Tech defense was learning which Cumberland player was getting the ball, and where they were going with it - at the exact same time Cumberland was.

     The realization soon hit Allen that the team was giving up more to the Yellow Jackets on offense than they were on defense. Between fumbles and losing yards, Tech was benefiting from short fields on every offensive possession. To remedy this troublesome problem, Allen offered up the idea of punting on first down to slow down the Tech scoring. “I am sure the score would have been even bigger had we not stopped receiving and begun kicking off after touchdowns,” admitted Allen looking back later. “That system, on the occasions when the kicks were not blocked, forced them to run the whole distance of the field for the next touchdown instead of from the place where we fumbled.”

     The idea of kicking the ball back to Tech on first down didn’t exactly work out as planned. In the team’s first attempt at doing so, Buzz Shaver, the right halfback for Tech, returned the ball 70 yards to the Cumberland 10-yard line - the shortest field of the game so far for Tech. From the 10, Strupper burst loose on his first run from scrimmage headed for an easy touchdown, but instead of scoring, Strupper downed the ball at the 1-yard line. Canty Alexander was playing his final year of eligibility and had never scored a touchdown for Georgia Tech. With a safe lead in hand, the call was made to allow the big lineman to run it in. The game was already bordering on being a farce. This was little more than Heisman rubbing it in. But the effort to give Alexander a touchdown drew applause from the crowd and an opportunity for a prank from teammates. “They framed up on me the game before, but this time I made them swear they would block for me,” said Alexander. “I was so busy watching to make sure they blocked that the ball hit me in the chest and I fumbled. But I picked it up on the five and pranced across like a debutante.”

     The Tech faithful were so caught up in the big fellas quest to get a touchdown under his belt the play was highlighted for the readers the next day in the Atlanta Constitution:

“Canty” Gets His Score. Among those who shared in the glories of making a touchdown was “Canty” Alexander, who has been trying to carry the ball over for the past three years. He attempted three bucks in the Mercer game with the ball on the five-yard line, but couldn’t carry it over. Yesterday, Strupper got away on an end run of 20 yards and could have made a touchdown, but stopped instead and placed the ball within one foot of the goal. From this point, “Canty” bucked it over and placed it between the posts. It was a big day for “Canty”.

     By this point in the game, the sportswriters must have realized they were in store for a high scoring affair from Georgia Tech. But they could not have known how high scoring the game would become. Nor could they have suspected that the prodigious point total Heisman’s Yellow Jackets were pouring on was intended to make a point to them. With the score now 35-0, Cumberland elected to kick back to Georgia Tech again in hopes of giving them a longer field to travel. This time the Cumberland tacklers managed to down the Tech returner somehow on his own 40-yard line. Georgia Tech would have to travel 60 yards to get a score, which Strupper did on his first carry of the drive as he busted loose for one of his most explosive plays of the game - a 60-yard scamper for a Tech touchdown, his third of the day and the team’s seventh.

     The score was now Tech 42, Cumberland 0. In his “the best defense is a non-existent offense” strategy, Allen had Cumberland kick back to Tech on first down one more time. Allen’s hand claps and pep talks must have paid off. On this drive, the Cumberland defense stiffened up to require three plays for Tech to score. Inspired by this pulse from his team, Allen had them have a go at offense once again.

     They were only down 49-0. Hardly insurmountable, although he couldn’t remember an occasion where it had ever been done. Fill-in quarterback Leon McDonald, who had replaced an injured starter and ineffectual backup, went to the air two more times resulting in two more incompletions. Not bothering with a third, McDonald instead punted the ball back to Tech with Strupper returning the kick 45 yards for another Tech touchdown. 56-0. Cumberland decided to forego their turn on offense again. They kicked right back to Tech and Tommy Spence, the fullback for Tech and future fallen war hero, returned it 90 yards for the score. Preas added his ninth straight extra point to make the score 63-0 in favor of Tech. Cumberland ran the ball two more times, each one for a 5-yard loss, before the quarter finally came to a merciful end. During a single quarter of play, Georgia Tech scored a total of sixty-three points. Most likely, everyone at that game thought for sure they had set a record that would never be repeated, until Georgia Tech did it again the very next quarter.

     For the players on the Cumberland team, the second quarter couldn’t have seemed like much more than a painful blur. They were a team who was overmatched in every conceivable way. Morgan Blake called the game a “burlesque” afterward. Certainly, the sportswriters had grown suspicious by now of the point Heisman was attempting to make. They were fully aware of the controversy and the “point-a-minute” team Vanderbilt had produced the year before. Heisman was never known to run up scores on opposing teams. The practice was out of his character. Running up scores violated his beliefs on both an ethical and strategic level. When he got up on opposing teams, he typically pulled his starters to give his backups a chance to play. He also kept his play-calling close to the vest as not to reveal too much before the important games later in the season. Yet, here Heisman was running up a score to a degree that had never been done before on the football field.

     The second platoon of players entered the game for the second period, but it was not to ease off on Cumberland. It was to pour it on. Like rabid dogs at the smell of steak, the second wave of Tech violence descended upon the already battle-weary boys from Cumberland who must have suspected that God had forsaken them. A big punt return from Georgia Tech sets up another touchdown for the Yellow Jackets. The scoreboard keeper adjusted the score to 70-0 Tech.

     Cumberland doesn’t quit. Starting at their 35-yard line, Morris Gouger gained five yards and McDonald connects on a pass to Charlie Warwick (the left end for Cumberland) that goes for four yards, but the team falls just short of the first down. After a shanked punt by Cumberland, Tech scores again after a couple runs. Another Preas PAT. The band plays. The crowd sings. “I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer...”

     The next time Cumberland gets the ball, Tech returns the first pass by McDonald for a touchdown. A pick six long before they would ever dream of calling it that. “A helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer...” A fumble on the next Cumberland possession turns the ball right back over to Tech. They score on one try. “Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear…” The score is now 91-0 in favor of Tech. The next time Cumberland gets the ball, they throw another interception. Strupper made them pay with another easy touchdown run. “I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.”

     The Yellow Jackets were about to cross the 100-point mark Strupper had joked about with Coach Alexander and it was only midway through the second quarter. Under the decree of Heisman, the Georgia Tech team was unrelenting in their onslaught of Cumberland. Allen did what he could to keep his players in the game. “When the going got really rough and we were barely hanging on,” said Leon McDonald, the starting fullback who was still filling in at quarterback, “Allen yelled out for us to ‘stay in even if you get killed, we need that $500!’”

     On the Cumberland sideline, the team’s limited reserves were already wearing thin. Haysler Poague considered himself “one of the lucky ones. I made the trip to Atlanta, but had a bad leg and didn’t play.” It’s difficult to say at what point a team goes, in the minds of supporters, from football heroes to football tormentors. Cumberland had no business being on the same field as their powerhouse opponent, yet the Tech battalion continued to pummel the young law students without mercy. Heisman was teaching Cumberland a lesson as much as he was teaching the sportswriters one. He had little pity for the one who embarrassed his team using ringers.

     Tech ran the ball for another score. Gouger fumbled for yet another. “Murphy” took over at quarterback and quickly threw an interception that went for one more Tech touchdown. Cumberland recommitted to the ground game as three straight runs resulted in three straight losses of yards. McDonald punted, but that was returned for a touchdown as well. When the half finally ended, the Yellow Jackets had managed to score in every imaginable way a team possibly could. If they hadn’t scored a certain way yet, it was safe to say Heisman was busy dreaming up a way to make it happen.

The score when the clocked ticked down to zero was Georgia Tech 126, Cumberland 0.

     Some of the sportswriters had to be wondering if the game could possibly break the national scoring record. There were stories of reporters calling their editors at halftime, telling them what the score was, only to be hung up on and instructed to stop drinking.  

     Many in the crowd questioned the beating being administered to the visiting team. Angry chants to annihilate the unwelcome adversaries had slowly changed to legitimate concern for their safety, with a touch of anger toward their own team. They had watched their team win big over opponents, but this was something else. Even a legend can go too far. The game was illustrating the point of view taken by the critics of football who believed the sport to be barbaric and wished it abolished. President Charles W. Eliot of Harvard railed against the tendency in football for the strong to prey upon the weak. “The weaker man is the legitimate prey of the stronger,” Eliot contended in Success Magazine. “One should always try to discover the weakest man in the opponent’s line - as, for example, the man most recently injured - and attack him again and again.”

     Heisman consider that a fundamental part of the game. He preached that when you find your opponent’s weak spot, you hammer it. In this game, the entire Cumberland team was one big weak spot and Heisman was exploiting it over, and over and over again. This was as ugly as it gets. Heisman ran the risk of being everything the football critiques accused the sport of. Not everyone understood the greater point he was attempting to make. What they saw was a stronger team brutalizing a weaker one and running up the score when it was unnecessary.

     The irony that Heisman was protesting that very point was surely lost on the majority of those who were present. This is a crowd of football fans we’re talking about. Even then, they were not typically regarded as the most levelheaded and rational of groups. It is doubtful to assume they possessed a keen nose for irony. One can safely speculate there may also have been a fair number of flasks that had been smuggled into the stadium and, by now, those flasks were likely empty of whiskey, impairing the overall acumen of the crowd even further.

     This could not have been what any of the Cumberland players expected when Allen sold them on the idea. They were tired, injured and humiliated. Regardless of the overwhelmingly one-sided score, the thousand or more spectators who showed up for the game were not going anywhere. Everyone in attendance wanted to see how this mockery played out. They were supportive of their team as always, but conflicted over the savagery and brutishness they were witnessing. Heisman was handily winning the game, but losing the hearts and minds of the crowd in the process. Not that such a thing made any difference. He had a point to make to the sportswriters and he hadn’t finished making it.


Written by Scott Larson
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