Echoes of Georgia Football: The Greatest Stories Ever Toldby Triumph Books
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Echoes of Georgia Football details the roots of the Bulldogs' glory, their modern-day triumphs and everything in between for the legions of Georgia fans everywhere.
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Echoes of Georgia Football
The Greatest Stories Ever Told
By Ken Samelson
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2006 Triumph Books
All rights reserved.
Sports of Winter
Did you know that the Bulldogs' very first game was played in the dead of winter? On January 30, 1892, they took on Mercer's team at Herty Field. The details were in the next day's Atlanta Constitution.
The winter winds of '92 are fanning new life into the athletic world of the South. Southern athletes are leaping at last into the happy realization that there is as good muscle below the belt of Mason and Dixon's line as there is above it. [The prediction is] that southward all eyes will be turned within the next few seasons to see records on the field, track, and diamond break to pieces and tumble to a depth known only to McGinty, since his rash and world-recorded leap to the bottom of the sea, and parts unknown generally. [Refers to a popular song from 1889, "Down Went McGinty," about a man who fell into the sea, never to be heard from again.]
Why should the grass on the campus of a southern college grow rank to weed, unmolested by the obtruding foot of some sturdy athletes? Why should the invigorating, health-giving, breezy sports of winter flush the cheek of the northern student with rosy bloom, while the southern youth at college languishes in indolence and bad health, unfit for study, lazy, and almost tired of life?
This thing has been kept up too long already, and the southern colleges are coming to the realization in a hurry that something must be done to develop body as well as mind.
It is not necessary; it is not wise to run wild with enthusiasm in this line of reform. That would lead to the neglect of study for athletic sports and games. But it is necessary, and it is wise to go about physical culture in moderation, and the colleges of the South are to be commended for just such a spirit which seems to be sweeping over every campus this season.
The exciting game of football between the university and Mercer University, played on the Athens grounds yesterday, starts the championship games between Georgia colleges, and the promise is given that this will be kept up at a lively rate the remainder of the winter and spring terms.
There is an abundance of good athletic material among the Georgia colleges and, in fact, all over the southern states. The truth is that many of the strongest football teams and baseball teams of northern colleges draw their strongest pillars from southern youths attending those colleges.
Of course, colleges like the University of Georgia or Mercer University cannot get together as clever a lot of football players this year as many of the northern colleges because they have not as large a body of students to select from as do those colleges at the North, but they were good teams, nevertheless, that met on the fields in Athens yesterday, and a good game resulted.
The University Colors Wave Triumphantly over Mercer
The red and crimson of the University of Georgia waves triumphantly, and a score of 50 to nothing shows the university boys know how to play football. It was the first match game between colleges ever played this far south, and naturally an interest was aroused in it.
The Mercer team arrived at 12:00 in two special cars and were accompanied by fully 200 students and citizens. They were taken in charge by the university boys and made to feel at home. Long before 3:00 the crowd began to assemble, and by the time the game was called, nearly 1,500 people were on the ground.
The Lucy Cobb girls and Home School girls were all present with university colors upon them, and the two goals were decorated beautifully, one in yellow and black, the colors of Mercer, and the other in black and crimson, the colors of the university.
At 3:00 the boys raised the college yell, "Rah, rah, rah, ta Georgia!" followed by Mercer with a "Rah, rah, rah, U-ni-v-sis-boom ah Versisty, Mercer." The teams took their position, and umpire Frank Lupton of Auburn and referee Ike Cabaniss of Macon called the game.
Excitement Ran High
Interest was at a high pitch when Mercer kicked off the ball, and then all was excitement.
On the first pass back Mercer lost three yards and made no gain on the second.
George Shackelford lost two yards, then Charles Herty grabbed the ball and, making an extraordinary run, touched down behind the goal. Score: 4 to nothing.
Mercer again has the ball and punts it. John Kimball secures it and makes a good run. In the scuffle E. W. Frey secured it, ran several yards, passed to Henry Brown, then to Herty, then to Kimball. After a great deal of scuffling, Kimball made a good run and touched down. Score: 8 to nothing.
The next touchdown was made quickly by Herty assisted by Brown. Brown kicked a goal; score: 14–0.
The next tilt was furious and ended by a long kick of 65 yards by Brown, caught by a Mercer man, who in turn was caught by Shackelford and carried over the line for a safety, bringing the score to 16–0.
Then came an exciting part, when the two teams remained at the 10-yard line for quite a while, making brilliant plays.
Pretty Work, This
By a splendid piece of headwork Herty passes to Kimball, who makes one of the prettiest runs of the game and rams the fourth touchdown; score: 20–0. A goal was then kicked by Brown, which ran up the score 22–0. Brown in the next part made a splendid run to the 10-yard line, and Herty made a touchdown. Brown kicked a goal, and the first half ended with a score of 28–0 in favor of the university. In the second half Brown carried the ball to the 8-yard line by a splendid run, but foul was claimed. Then Shackelford, by several good plays, made advantage for the university. Brown made a run of 67 yards amidst terrific cheering, and Herty touched down. Score: 32–0.
In the next sport Herty carried the ball to the 5-yard line, but Mercer put it back to the 25-yard line. Kimball made a star play through the crowd and touched down.
Brown kicked a goal. Score: 38–0.
After the ball next left the center, Shackelford advanced it 20 yards, and Herty touched down. Score: 42–0.
Sprained His Ankle
Offerman, of Mercer, sprained his ankle, and Emmett Small took his place. Small made a good advance, when Shackelford, grabbing the ball, eluded the entire team and ran through the goal and touched down. Score: 46–0.
The last struggle was a manful one on both sides, when Brown and Herty scored the last touchdown, making the score 50–0.
The crowd was wild. Hats flew into the air, and the boys were hoisted on the shoulders of the crowd and borne around in triumph.
The Mercer team took their defeat most gracefully, for they were a fine set of boys. The university will play Auburn in Atlanta on the 20th of February.
The Athens Men
The average weight of the men Athens put against Mercer: 157 pounds.
The average weight of her men on the rush line is 167 pounds.
A word or two about the men who wrestled with Mercer in the game will be of interest, especially since another game is soon to be played by those men right here in Atlanta on the 20th of next month with the team from Auburn, Alabama.
Mr. E. W. Frey, of Marietta, Georgia, the largest man in college, holds down the position of center rush on the team. Frey weighs 202 pounds and stands 6'1" in his football shoes. He is a senior this year, and a man with a cool head and the best of natures. He has done some good practice work with the team and gives any opponent who may come in contact with him a sharp tussle.
The tallest man on the team, and, by the way, one of the most agile players and best runners in college, is Park Howell, the right guard. He stands 6'2" in his stockings, weighs 165 pounds, and has the best running record of any man at the university.
Mr. George Shackelford, of Jefferson, Georgia, is the left guard. He entered college last September, but since that time has made a splendid reputation as an athlete and, in fact, is engaged in most all of the prominent field sports. He is 6' in height, with a weight of 175 pounds.
As right tackle the team will place Mr. A. O. Halsey, who made such a wide reputation last season as the best all-round baseball player in college. He is from Charleston, and since coming to Georgia has made it lively for the Georgia boys in the classroom. His height is 6', and he weighs 165 pounds.
Mr. R. B. Nalley, the famous catcher of last year's baseball team, is the left tackle. He is well built and very hard to pass on a run with the ball: height, 5'11"; weight, 170.
Manager Lane, from Macon, enjoys quite a wide athletic reputation, especially in the gymnasium. He is a member of the senior engineering class and since entering college has been a prime mover in most of the athletic work of any moment. With a weight of 135 pounds, and height 5'7", he has been favorably placed as right end of the team. His solid build makes him a strong man for that position.
Mr. L. D. Fricks, of the sophomore class, holds down the left end for the team. He is fully capable to take care of his position, as is shown by his work in other athletic sports. Height, 6'; weight, 100 pounds.
As far as athletic reputation is concerned, no man has enjoyed more of it since entering college than Billy Gramling, another South Carolinian. Billy came up from Charleston in 1889, since which time he has been among the leaders in the classroom as well as in the athletic field. His height is 5'7", and weight 135. It is not his dimensions which enable him to hold down so well his position of quarterback, but his natural strength and activity.
Captain Frank Herty, of the team, boasts the reputation of the best ball pitcher in the college, having been pitcher of the college team last year. He is small, being 5'6" in height and weighing 125 pounds, but that by no means interferes with his good qualities as a football player. In fact, he holds down to advantage one of the most important positions on the team, being right halfback.
Mr. John Kimball, of Atlanta, has been employed as left halfback. Since entering the law class last September, he has taken an active part in athletic sports. He graduated a year ago from the military college at Auburn, Alabama, where he had quite a reputation as a ballplayer as well as in other lines. His height is but 5'6", but he is built solidly and weighs 145 pounds.
The fullback, and a good one he is, too, is Mr. Henry O. Brown, from Augusta. He has been at Athens but a few months, but has been a prime mover in football and other sports. He is one of the best all-around football players in college. His height is 5'7 ½", with a weight of 145 pounds.
The club feels quite seriously the loss of one of its best and most active players, who was to have been one of the halfbacks. He is Mr. W. B. Armstrong, who, in a practice game the other day, broke one of the bones in his leg just above the ankle. He will be unable to walk on it for a month to come. This unfortunate accident would, it was thought, somewhat handicap the club, but his position was well filled by Mr. John Kimball, of Atlanta.
Yesterday was the first time the boys played a championship game, but it was done in great shape, and they kept it lively for the spectators and for the Mercer boys as well.
Mercer's team is itself "no slouch," to use language familiar in the gym.
Her men average well in weight, in size, and age, and they are very well selected, too. They are active enough on the field, and not infrequently do they catch the approving and stirring applause of the crowds around the field.
The general make-up of the team is shown on the trainer's book as follows:
Weight Height Age County
Nash 155 5'10" 17 Lincoln
Napier 160 6' 19 Walker
Atkinson 175 6' 17 Butts
Madden 118 5'5" 17 Glynn
Offerman 145 5'7" 17 Pierce
Chapman 200 5'11" 22 Liberty
Brown 195 6'1" 21 Hart
C. Peteet 150 5'11" 18 Morgan
Anderson 185 5'9" 18 Chambers (Alabama)
Turpin 146 5'11" 18 Bibb
Beggs 148 5'9" 19 Bibb
Small 150 6' 16 Bibb
D. Peteet 148 5'9" 17 Morgan
Conner 148 5'11" 18 Bibb
Brown 170 6' 17 Bibb
The places taken by the men of the team are as follows: W. M. Conner, one of the best athletes at Mercer and a famous kicker, is sub-end rush; Reed Nash, a muscular athlete, right-end rush; Captain Dave Boggs, fullback; R. E. Anderson, right guard; P. V. Brown, sub-center rush; J. V. Brown, center rush; Chapman, left guard; Walter Turpin, right halfback; Napier, left tackle; Morris Madden, quarterback; C. P. Atkinson, right tackle; Denny Peteet, sub halfback; Offerman, left halfback; Cland Peteet, left-end rush; Emmett Small, sub halfback.
Mercer has an all-round good team and is destined yet to make a fine showing among the championship games of southern college teams. They have good grounds upon which to play, and that counts for much. With just a little more training the boys will, indeed, make a crack team in every sense of that term.
Some exciting championship games may be expected among the Georgia colleges. Oxford ought to be holding up her head, too, in this line, and when she does there will be a triangular shape to the fun. Oxford's forte seems to be baseball, however, and maybe it is this that she is waiting in which to play the winning hand.CHAPTER 2
Robert F. Kelley, The New York Times
Yale Beaten, 15–0, by Georgia 11 in a Stirring Game
The very first game in Sanford Stadium was a historic one, a shutout of eastern power Yale in which Vernon "Catfish" Smith made a name for himself by scoring all 15 points. The New York Times' account of the contest follows.
Yale's first football visit to the South ended in disaster on a summer-like afternoon today, as 35,000 persons, some of them in their shirtsleeves, watched the University of Georgia topple the Blue completely and convincingly by the margin of 15–0.
A blocked kick on Yale's goal line in the second period and the recovery of it for a touchdown by Vernon Smith, Georgia's left end; a safety after a mixed Yale signal in the third period; and a long twisting pass to the same Smith with a following 12-yard run in the fourth period tell the story of the scoring.
But those details fail utterly to tell the story of the hard and decisive tackling that broke the men of Yale this afternoon. Smith kicked the goal after the first score and missed the second, but none of the thousands of southerners minded that. The end came a few minutes later with the roaring crowd descending on the field to celebrate Georgia's great victory.
Some Arrive by Plane
The victory put the crowning touch to a perfect day for southern football. The biggest crowd this little town ever has held for a game came by special train, airplane, and thousands of cars; they saw the ceremonious dedication of the new Sanford Stadium. Then they settled back for the contest in a setting more like baseball than football. The temperature was well over 70 degrees, and the sun was hot.
There is no doubt that Yale suffered badly from the heat. The Blue used so many substitutes it was impossible for the scorer to keep track of them, sending them in at times in groups of five or six. But it also was true that Georgia was much the better team today.
The Yale attack was stopped dead in its tracks for the most part by the hard charging of the Georgia forwards, and of 13 Yale passes, six were incomplete and two were intercepted.
Albie Booth, the little quarterback, entered the game halfway in the second period and played into the last period, but Yale never was able to shake him free for a twisting run, and only in spots did he turn in the sensational carrying he showed against Vermont in the Bowl.
Leads in First Downs
On the other hand, Yale did pretty well with Georgia's attack, the southerners gaining six first downs to Yale's seven, but the winners were by far the more alert team and took quick and decisive advantage of the breaks, played smarter football throughout, and clearly earned their victory.
Yale kicked off, and play stayed pretty well in Georgia's territory during the first period, but never with a Yale attack threatening. It was Yale's punting that kept it there as the teams exchanged kicks.
Yale, at the start, was rushing Smith, who also did his team's punting, and hurrying him. Then came the first break when a low, bounding punt got away from Wilson, and [John] Davidson recovered for Georgia on Yale's 46-yard line. Yale held and forced a kick over the line, but play had been shifted to Yale's half of the field.
Excerpted from Echoes of Georgia Football by Ken Samelson. Copyright © 2006 Triumph Books. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Triumph Books is a leader in quality and innovation in sports publishing. In 2000, Triumph Books launched Triumph Books Entertainment, a specialty pop culture and current events imprint. Vince Dooley is the former head football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia.
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