As is evident from the setting, this photograph was taken in a professional photography studio. It is an example of what is called a "real photo postcard" (RPPC), that is, a photograph that has been printed as a postcard. An RPPC was often printed in a small batch for someone as a souvenir with copies to share with friends and relatives. Dudgeon sent this copy to his cousin Miss Lucile Haynes in Estherville, Iowa on 12 March 1912. The message reads:
I guess there is some class eh—whot? Does it look real. Or imitation? E. R. D.The odd language may be explained by the fact that Dudgeon was an American from Goose Lake, Illinois. He was born to Israel and Leonora Dudgeon on 10 August 1892 and had evidently been sent to the O.A.C. to learn to the modern way to be a farmer. Probably, he felt a little out of place in a Canadian college where, his relatives assumed, he would be required to speak the King's Hinglish. He also seems a little uneasy as an authentic member of the O.A.C. rugby football team. Little did he know in March that he was destined for Canadian football glory by the end of the year.
By the time that Dudgeon joined the O.A.C. team, rugby football had become an established sport throughout urban Canada. According to Frank Cosentino (1969), Canadian football began in Montreal in 1865 when a team of British soldiers played a game of rugby against a team of civilians from McGill University. In Britain, rugby had been invented in 1823 at the "public" (private) school in Rugby, England when William Webb Ellis decided to pick up and run with the ball during a soccer game. The sport caught on in British schools and with British officers, who then brought it to the colonies. At the game in Montreal in 1865, it caught on with students at McGill and then quickly spread to other schools and universities in Quebec and Ontario. In 1875, a team from McGill played an exhibition match in their version of the sport against a team of rugby players from Harvard. From there, Canadian rugby football quickly caught on and was adapted at American schools as well.
It did not take long for players at various Canadian colleges and amateur athletic clubs to decide to organize leagues for competitive play. The Quebec Rugby Football Union (Q.R.F.U.) was formed in 1882, followed later the same year by the Canadian Rugby Union (C.R.U.) and, in early 1883, by the Ontario Rugby Football Union (O.R.F.U.). In the ensuing years, league arrangements changed, rules were proposed, revised, and rejected (often putting the different leagues out of sync), but the sport gained steadily in popularity. In 1897, the Canadian Intercollegiate Rugby Football Union (C.I.R.F.U.) was formed to coordinate and regulate the college game, which was widely regarded as the highest quality of football then in play. The new league included both senior and intermediate divisions, which began play in 1898. The trophy for winners of the senior competition was the Yates Cup, which is still awarded to O.U.A. champions to this day. A junior division was added in 1906, and it was in this division that the Guelph team competed.
The Canadian game of rugby football at the time was neither English rugby nor modern Canadian football. The scrum of rugby had changed to a row of eleven players along each side of a line of scrimmage. In the middle of each line-up was the center and two supporters, one on either side who threw their inside arms over the back of the center to form a solid unit. Flanking them were two supporters known as "inside wings", then two "middle wings" and two "outside wings", and sometimes a "flying wing" further out. In the back field was a quarter-back, two half-backs, and sometimes a full-back. With two, 14-men teams in play, the field could get quite busy.
The ball was put in play when the offensive center kicked the ball back to the quarter-back with his heel. The quarter-back typically relayed the ball to one of the half-backs who might either attempt to plunge ahead through the opposing line-up, skirt the line-up to either side, or kick the ball up-field.
Since blocking (or "interference") was not allowed (except at the line of scrimmage), plunging into the opposing line would often result in a "buck", that is, a mass of players trying to push the ball-carrier forward from behind, in the case of the offensive team, or wrapping an arm around him and pushing him backward, in the case of the defensive team. Tackling above the shoulders or below the knees was not allowed, so such shoving matches were often the result of running plays up the middle. On occasion, a defensive player could throw himself on the ground in front of a runner hoping to trip him up but this tactic risked putting the defender at the bottom of a large and very heavy pile-up. While the buck formed an intriguing contest of strength and will, it was confusing for spectators who would lose sight of the ball in it.
Although the forward pass was not legal, a runner could lateral the ball to another back-fielder, hoping to outflank the opposition. Alternatively, the back-fielder could kick the ball forward, aiming for the arms of a teammate, or simply trying to move the ball downfield as far as possible and hoping to recover it promptly.
If the ball were ruled dead, then it was placed at the new line of scrimmage and the next down commenced. There were no huddles; players simply returned to their positions and listened for signals shouted to them by the quarter-back. The offensive team had three downs either to move the ball ten yards up-field or to retire 20 yards down-field. The latter was allowed only once per possession.
Scoring systems were in some flux at the time and differed from league to league. In the I.C.R.F.U., there were three main ways of scoring points. First, a touch-down (or "try") occurred when the offensive team moved the ball into the defenders' end zone, and was worth five points. A further point could be added (a "conversion") if the offensive team could kick the ball through the defenders' goal on the next play. A rouge occurred when the offensive team kicked the ball into the defenders' end zone and the defenders could not bring it out, and was worth one point. A safety occurred when the ball was called dead in the possession of the offensive team in their own end zone.
Kicking by back-fielders and scoring by rouging were much more prominent parts of the game then than they are today. However, this type of play does still occur from time to time in the modern Canadian Football League (C.F.L.) and, when it does, reminds us of what an I.C.R.F.U. game might have looked like. Consider this "wild finish" from a C.F.L. game between Montreal and Toronto on 29 October 2010. Here, the Montreal Alouettes miss a field goal, causing the Toronto Argonauts to kick the ball out of their end zone in order to avoid a rouge. The Alouettes kick it back into the end zone and recover for a touchdown.
(Courtesy of the Canadian Football League.)
You can see how spectators would have enjoyed such play. And, enjoy it they did! Thousands of spectators attended the senior league games, which proved to be money-makers for the host clubs. O.A.C. students were no different and followed the sport and their team avidly. Consider these remarks from the O.A.C. Review of October 1908 (v. 21, no. 1, p. 38):
Of all college games, without a doubt, the one most popular is rugby. It is not only one of the most interesting sports to watch, but among the most fascinating to play. And is it any wonder that this is so, when one recalls dashing across the field, ball under arm, with a dozen men from different corners of the field in hot pursuit, and then to dodge two or three of them, gently push three or four others to the right or left, and finally cross the line for a touch-down amid the deafening applause of the assembled crowds? Well you’ll agree with me that there’s some incentive in doing things like this, for that shows the kind of stuff men are made of.Indeed, football was favored at colleges, in part, for its masculinity. Many were concerned (and some remain so today) that civilization in general, and book-learning in particular, had a feminizing effect on young men. In the classrooms at Canada's institutes of higher learning, young men would learn knowledge and skills and make social connections that would prepare them for a life of social and economic advancement. However, this life was also a life of leisure that could made them soft. In the late Victorian era, organized sport was seized on as a solution to this problem (Mott 1983, p. 62). Competition on a mock field of battle would help to turn boys into manly men, where manliness was defined as "not only physical vitality and courage, but also decisiveness, clear-headedness, loyalty, determination, discipline, a sense of charity, and especially the moral strength that ensured that courage would be used in the service of God and the Right." (Mott 1983, p. 58).
Rugby football was ideal for this purpose. It was a rough game through which boys could learn important life lessons at the school of hard knocks (Globe, 22 September 1909):
Rugby is too rough a game. How often the followers of the gridiron sport hear comments like this about the game—"It's too rough", and "the boys get hurt", and "it isn't good for them".Any good rugby football player at the O.A.C. should expect to take a beating, as suggested by this cartoon published in the O.A.C. Review (1912, v. 25, n. 1, p. 33) under its football column:
Of course if fond mammas want their youthful pride and hope to grow up like a banana plant in a greenhouse, there is little sense in arguing the point. The game is too rough for molley coddles. On the contrary, if the boy is to be taught to fight his way in the great battle of life, there is no game that will teach him how in a better way. He'll get plenty of knocks and raise many a crop of healthy bruises but he gains stamina and the knocks he gets, if he is an ordinary cuss in later life, will be equally hard.
Get a canvas suit for the boy, well padded, and let him get out and fight the battles on the Rugby field first.
The tough-guy ideal of the young male football player also fit in with the martial spirit of British imperialism that was popular in Canada at the time (The Canadian Courier, 8 Dec. 1906, v. 1, no. 2, p. 8):
Rugby football with its rush and plunge, its squirming log-heaps of struggling humanity, and its constant clash of weight and strength against weight and strength is probably the nearest approach to actual warfare the world of sport can produce. That is why it appeals so strongly to the fighting Anglo-Saxon nature.By providing and supporting a football team, the O.A.C. was helping to prevent the feminization of its students and, at the same time, upholding the fighting spirit of Anglo-Saxon Canada.
In 1912, the College was hungry for manly triumph on the football field. In the O.A.C. Review in July 1912 (v. 24, n. 10, pp. 596-597), team captain C. A. Webster wrote of the promise of the season. The team was to see the return of many veterans from the previous campaign. There was talk of engaging a coach just for the football team. In addition, all the games were to be played in Exhibition Park in the city. Webster considered the field conditions there more favourable to the light, fast game of the Aggies. Also, Guelphites would likely turn out in numbers to support the local team. After all, like many smaller Ontario cities, Guelph had no football team of its own so, once the baseball season was over, football would be on the top of every sports fan's list. Every player was urged to focus every aspect of his diet, exercise, and daily routine to produce success in football!
The season started with a couple of exhibition games. First, the Aggies played the team from Upper Canada College (U.C.C.) on 28 September in Exhibition Park (O.A.C. Review, v. 25, n. 2, pp. 77-78). U.C.C. was a private high school in Toronto catering to the city's elite and typically had a good team. Indeed, the U.C.C. dominated most of the game, leading O.A.C. 16-0 at the end of the third quarter. In the final quarter, the Aggies turned the tables and scored six points, which still left the final tally at 16-6. Its performance in the final quarter was promising for the Aggies, as was attendance at the game ("... a good crowd was present, the girls from the [Macdonald] Hall being particularly in evidence."). Nevertheless, the team clearly had to get its act together.
On 5 October, the Aggies played another exhibition game (also in Exhibition Park) against the "Dutchmen" from St. Jerome's College (now St. Jerome's University) in Berlin (now Kitchener). The description in the O.A.C. Review (v. 25, n. 2, p. 79) notes that the Red and Blue (the Aggies' colours, that they would have worn on their knee socks) looked very solid whereas their opponents appeared worn out by the end of the first quarter. The account of the game in the Berlin News Record (7 Oct. 1912) is more fulsome and gives us a glimpse of the Aggies' style of play:
The O.A.C. squad presented a formidable line their men averaging over 165 lbs. Their back division works smoothly on the defensive and the hand of Harry Griffith, the ex-University of Toronto coach, is plainly evident in their tactics. They depended largely upon end runs which they started quickly and usually got away for gains. Their kicking department is strong, Simpson being a particularly good punter and in catching their work was almost faultless, the halves getting under punts and returning them with a coolness and accuracy that is not always found on some other teams in supposedly faster company.The mention of Harry Griffith is interesting. Griffith coached teams at the University of Toronto that won the first Grey Cup in 1909 and the second in 1910. Afterwards, he coached at Ridley College in St. Catherines but never at Guelph. Was he the coach that Webster had wanted to hire? In any event, although Griffith may not have coached the Aggies, they clearly emulated the style of football that he instilled in his winning teams at Toronto.
It certainly began to pay dividends. On 5 October, the Aggies beat St. Jerome's by a score of 39-0. In fairness, the O.A.C. team was evidently much larger than the other one and several of the St. Jerome's players were professors and so perhaps not as robust as their opponents. Three of them were injured in the game, one badly enough to be forced from the field. Nevertheless, the Berlin News Record praised the Aggies:
The O.A.C. team have adopted the Varsity methods as taught by Harry Griffith and the snap with which they get away should carry them far this season. Their line is heavy, affording the backs plenty of protection. All told the O.A.C. have a clean bunch of players and St. Jerome’s returned well pleased with the treatment they received.Dudgeon played on the inside wing, part of the line that gave the backs time to shine. Since he did not carry the ball, Dudgeon did not get specific mention in any press reports.
With their exhibition games behind them, the Red and Blue began the competitive season with a game against McMaster University (then still located in Toronto) on 12 October. The Aggies won the game by a score of 18-12 (Globe, 14 Oct. 1912). On 19 October, they beat the Varsity thirds, that is, the University of Toronto's junior team, by 21-11 (Globe, 21 Oct. 1912):
That the A. O. College (sic) this year has the finest team for the past fifteen years was proved this afternoon when the A. O. firsts defeated the University of Toronto thirds by 21 to 11. The heavy wind throughout the game was taken advantage of by the Aggies in their quarters. On the defensive they were like a stone wall, holding Varsity at one time when the latter was only one foot off the line. Herder, Madden, and Webber (sic) starred for the Aggies, Herder’s end runs for heavy gains being the spectacular feature, while his punting was the best seen here for years.Toronto Varsity teams were often the class of the league, so defeating them would bode especially well. As part of the "stone wall", Dudgeon must have been pleased with the outcome.
The Guelph Mercury for the fall of 1912 is missing, so records of the team's efforts are somewhat spotty. The Toronto Star (11 Nov. 1912) mentions a victory of Guelph over Kingston (that is, Queen's University?) on 9 November by a score of 23-7. This victory appears to have made the Aggies the Intercollegiate champions of Ontario. Their next move was to play against the Quebec Intercollegiate junior champions, St. Lambert's College of Montreal. The game was played in Guelph on 23 November and the Aggies manhandled their opponents by a score of 50-2 (Globe, 25 Nov. 1912):
The first quarter was the only one really hard fought, the O.A.C. in the other three doing practically what they willed.The rest of the column is garbled.
The Aggies tackled sure, and their back division outbooted and outran their opponents, while the line tore holes in the Saints’ defence. Simpson starred for O.A.C., at one time going half the length of the field for a touchdown ...
This victory made the O.A.C. team the junior intercollegiate champions of the Dominion. (At that time, only Quebec and Ontario played at the national level. Only later in the 1920s did teams from western Canada begin to challenge for national titles.) At this point, the Aggies had their team picture taken on the steps of the main entrance to Massey Hall.
Dudgeon is standing in the back row, third from the left. They appear cold but proud. Herder is holding a puppy in his coat, perhaps the team mascot. A signature scratched into the lower-right corner appears to identify the photo as taken by "Kennedy", probably Robert Kennedy, who had a photography studio downtown at the time.
One game remained, for the Canadian Rugby Union (C.R.U.) championship, against the top team of the Ontario Rugby Football Union (O.R.F.U.) junior division, that being the Hamilton Alerts. A game against the Alerts would be no picnic. The Alerts were O.R.F.U. champions for the second year in a row. Hamilton was arguably the football capital of the country at the time and its teams were playing for the C.R.U. championships at all three levels. Also, Hamilton football fans did not take defeat well. This fact is exemplified by an incident that occurred after the senior Alerts were defeated by the Ottawa Rough Riders in Hamilton on what Hamilton supporters believed to be a blown call by referee Billy McMaster (Globe, 8 Oct. 1912):
"As soon as the match was over, businessmen of that city hit me on the back and the head with sticks and shouted, 'That is the fellow who sold us to Ottawa for five hundred dollars!' Though in some cases they made it a thousand. Ladies pointed their parasols at me, and screamed, 'That is the cheat!' and the mob whirled the two policemen who were escorting me off the field aside and started to tear off my clothes, when Burkholder [a former Alerts' player] interposed his great bulk and dragged me along to the back of the stand. Here like a thief or a murderer, I was compelled to creep along ... They stoned the Ottawa players [with paving stones torn up from the street] and followed us for many hundreds of yards. I got half a brick, which I have at home, on the head, which caused a lump as big as a hen's egg, and poor Kilt of the Rough Riders received from another brick a gash in the face that must have measured between three and four inches. And this mob was composed not of boys only, but of grown up men."Perhaps it was a good thing, then, that the junior championship game would take place in Guelph, and most Hamilton fans would likely remain in the Mountain City to take in the senior and intermediate finals to be played there on the same day.
(I can't resist this follow-up to the story above (Currie 1968, p. 50):
Fifty-five years later, after another Hamilton-Ottawa battle in Hamilton, an irate Rough Riders' supporter protested about the way Hamilton fans had insulted the Ottawa team by pelting them with paper cups. Jake Gaudier, the Hamilton president and general manager, replied that while he couldn't condone such behaviour, perhaps Ottawa should be thankful that things had improved somewhat since 1912.)
The game was duly played on 30 November at Exhibition Park. It is described in detail in the Hamilton Spectator (2 Dec.), which I will place in its entirety in an appendix, should you want to read the whole account. A CPR train carrying the Alerts left Hamilton for Guelph at 8:40am minus one player who, for reasons untold, had to be tracked down and ferried up by car. A number of Hamilton fans made the trip to support the Garnet and Grey. Five hundred or so Guelphites turned out to support the Red and Blue. The game began in mid-afternoon and was an exciting contest. Though the Aggies were bigger than the visitors, the terrain did not favour the home team's style of play due to recent snowfalls:
... the field was in one wretched condition, being ankle deep in slimy, soupy mud. The juniors, depending as they do on their speed, were naturally up against it right off the reel, it being impossible for them to get going in the mud.In the first quarter, the Aggies "kept up a continual volley of punts", with the wind at their backs, forcing a rouge in the early minutes. However, the Alerts backfield managed to hold steady and the score at the end of the quarter was O.A.C. 1-Alerts 0.
In the second quarter, the Alerts got the upper hand, recovering a fumble in the Guelph end for a touchdown, which they did not convert. However, the Alerts later forced a rouge, leaving the score at half-time O.A.C. 1-Alerts 6.
In the third quarter, the Aggies took back the initiative, resuming their kicking attack and neutralizing the Alerts' offence. They forced 3 rouges and a safety, tying the score at the end of the quarter at O.A.C. 6-Alerts 6.
In the fourth quarter, the O.A.C. resumed the offensive and forced another rouge to go up 7-6. The home crowd roared! Perhaps they shouted out the O.A.C. football cheer, as listed in the Song Book of the O.A.C. (1915, p. 78):
On, O.A.C., On, O.A.C.(University of Guelph Archives, RE1 OAC A0150)
Run the ball clear 'round Toronto (McMaster, etc.)
A touchdown sure this time!
On, O.A.C. On, O.A.C.
Fight on for her fame
Fight, fellows, fight,
And we will win this game!
But then the Alerts struck back:
[Alerts quarter-back] McKelvey kicked far up the field to Madden, who returned, and Laing, catching the punt, ran 15 yards, and kicked when being tackled. Simpson fumbled the punt, and Alerts secured on the college 40-yard line. On two bucks they were thrown back for a loss, and then McKelvey kicked over the line to Madden, who returned the kick along the ground. Fully a half-dozen college players were standing around Brydges waiting for him to pick up the ball and at last when he did, he got away from the bunch and ran unmolested up the field for a touch-down, which he converted a moment later.This setback took the wind from the Aggies' sails and they could muster no further points. The final score was O.A.C. 7-Alerts 14.
The Hamilton Spectator gloated, "the junior Alerts emerged from their clash with the husky team of the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph on Saturday afternoon with the scalps of the Plow Boys dangling from their belts..." It traced the loss to the Aggies' decision to put the wind at their backs in the first quarter after winning the toss. It showed a "lack of grey matter" to elect to play facing into the wind in the final frame. The O.A.C. Review (Jan. 1913, v. 25, n. 4, p. 219) was somewhat more gracious:
The football season is over, and while we did not win the Canadian championship, we did the next best thing—we lost the final game. ... On the day's play the better team won. But with a dry field the O.A.C. boys would have very nearly copped the honors. Under the prevailing conditions speed was an unknown quantity, and here is where our boys have shone all season.Even so, Dudgeon and his teammates had won the Canadian intercollegiate title and had played manfully in every contest.
It was Everett Dudgeon's final season of Canadian rugby football. He had been a spare in 1910, played on the front line in 1911 and 1912, and does not appear in the 1913 team. He graduated from the O.A.C. (I assume) and returned to practice his profession in Illinois, where he settled down on a farm near Serena. On his return, he hitched up with Mary and the couple quickly had two boys, Kenneth and Dudley. I imagine that he had some interesting stories to tell his sons about the time their father was a Canadian rugby football champion. Everett died on 3 March 1950 and is buried in the West Serena Cemetery.
Thanks to the staff of the Hamilton Public Library Archives for help with research for this blog.
NG: The University of Guelph junior Gryphons won the Ontario Football Conference championship on 15 August. Junior varsity football lives on at Guelph!
Here is the account of the O.A.C.-Alerts game (Hamilton Spectator, 2 Dec. 1912):
Junior Alerts trotted off with a victory at Guelph
Agricultural team had the weight, but the local kids were not to be denied on such a day—Score 13-7 (sic)
Junior Alerts 14, Ontario Agricultural College 7.
The junior Alerts are junior champions of Canada. After battling their way into the finals two years in succession, only to be nosed out for the Dominion honors in the deciding game each year, the junior Alerts emerged from their clash with the husky team of the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph on Saturday afternoon with the scalps of the Plow Boys dangling from their belts and the long coveted junior Canadian championship locked up for the season. With three championships hanging in the balance on the day’s play, the youthful wearers of the Garnet and Grey were determined to do their share towards making football history for the city in the shadow of the mountain, and they did it nobly.
Undismayed by the reports that emanated from Guelph during the past week regarding the strength of the Aggies and the sickening defeat that was waiting for the Alerts, the local juniors invaded the thriving little city early on Saturday morning with confidence written all over them. Of the three local teams fighting for championships, the juniors were the only one of the trio who were not playing at home, and on dope the youngsters looked to be the doubtful quantity. For a week it had snowed and thawed in turns at Guelph and when Referee Anglin’s whistle called the teams together for the kick-off, the field was in one wretched condition, being ankle deep in slimy, soupy mud. The juniors, depending as they do on their speed, were naturally up against it right off the reel, it being impossible for them to get going in the mud. The Guelph team outweighed the Garnet and Grey squad easily 15 pounds per man and a roar went up from the 500 Guelph rooters in attendance when the two teams trotted on to the field.
“Oh, this is going to be a walk-over! How did a team like that ever get into the finals?” bellowed one Red and Blue bedecked Guelphite, and he was only voicing the sentiments of everyone on the grounds, outside of the half dozen local supporters, who passed up the big game at Hamilton to follow the juniors to victory. Very little betting was done on the class, the bets that were made being for the most part 2 to 1 that O.A.C. would pull down a victory.
A strong breeze was blowing up the field, and when O.A.C. won the toss they surprised the Alerts supporters by deciding to kick with the wind in the first quarter, instead of having it behind them in the last quarter. Probably the Guelph squad greatly underrated the Alerts, and figured on running up such a mammoth score in the first chapter that the kids from Hamilton would never be able to catch up, but that overwhelming score failed to materialize, and it was Guelph’s lack of grey matter in deciding to use the wind in the first quarter that allowed the locals to double the score. After battling nip and tuck all the way, the teams entered the last quarter with the score a tie—6 to 6, and the Alerts had the benefit of the wind behind them. With the whistle, the Aggies started in to force the play, and inside of a minute they scored a rouge and broke the tie. Simpson, the right half-back, punted low over his scrimmage, and the ball bounded away from McKelvey and rolled behind the Alerts line, Mac being forced to rouge. That one point scored by Guelph in the final quarter was only a flash in the pan, however, and with a sickening thud the championship aspirations of the college team fell flat a moment later, when Brydges smothered a loose ball near the center of the field, and with nobody near him, galloped 40 yards over the line for a touch-down, which he converted easily, making the score 12 to 7. After that touch-down was scored, Guelph completely lost all heart, and for the remainder of the quarter the Alerts made a farce of the game by standing idly and letting the half-backs run 15 or 20 yards with the ball before they pulled them down in the mud. And before the welcome final whistle sounded, McKelvey, the grand little back of the Alerts, annexed two more scored by kicking to the dead-line.
Despite the fact that the Guelph line was many pounds heavier than that of their opponents, the Alerts shaded them all the afternoon. It was on the back division, however, that the game was won and lost, the local trio, McKelvey, Laing and Finlayson, working like well-oiled machinery, with McKelvey being the shining star. In Madden, the college team had a kicking half-back who could punt farther than any of the local halves, but that let him out. He was slow at getting rid of the ball, and not once during the entire game did he vary his style of play, kicking straight up the field every time. The result was that the Alerts backs were always waiting for the ball, and while the soggy going prevented them from getting away for any runs, they had ample time to return the punts just as fast as they came. On the wing line Guelph worked perfect interference, but Referee Anglin soon spotted it, and time and time again he handed the ball over to the Alerts for this interference just when it seemed that the college team could not be stopped from scoring.
In the game against Toronto Centrals on Wednesday, Chick Sheridan was the big noise of the Alerts line, but the three Guelph delegates who journeyed to Oakville to see that semi-final game gave the Aggies to understand that they had to stop Sheridan if they wanted to win the game, and Chick was a marked man all the afternoon. Notwithstanding the fact that he had three men marking him all the time, Sheridan played a grand game, and while he did nothing spectacular, he was a sure tackler and was up under the ball every time. Tyce, at the other outside position, and Clements, at flying wing, were also forty ways, and it was mainly through the superb tackling of this trio that the Alerts brought the honors back to Hamilton. Snider, Voelker, Ireland and Caffrey were used in nearly all the bucks, and while neither team gained their yards more than twice all the afternoon by this style of attack, the Alerts quarter shaded the men they called on to mark. “Doe” Jones was also used as a ball carrier, and what work he was given to do he did nobly. In Brydges the juniors have a quarter-back who is really ripe for senior company, and should anything happen to “Red” Harper, the seniors would make no mistake next year in sticking Brydges in to direct the play. Gifted with a good noddle and the ability to get rid of the ball like the proverbial streak of lightning, Brydges is just about the niftiest quarter playing junior football in Canada. The Alerts scrimmage looked like school children in comparison with the trio in the center of the O.A.C. line, but what that scrimmage lacked in weight they more than made up in speed and aggressiveness. Ireland and Osborne were air-tight, and when Alerts were in possession Brydges was given perfect protection in getting the ball away. As is usual with college teams, the O.A.C. squad relied a great deal on the open, passing game, but not once during the game did their long passes and criss-crosses behind the line net them anything. It was nothing unusual to see the backs pass the ball almost the width of the field, but there was always an Alerts player waiting for the man to receive the pass. While Madden was given most of the work on the college back division, the real star of the college back division was Simpson. This player is a big, husky boy, who has a plunging style all his own, and once he gets away it is like running into a steam-roller to try and bring him down; but Simpson was a marked man all of the afternoon, two and three Alerts wing men being on top of him every time he caught the ball. Huckett, at full back, and Herder, the other men on the college rear division, were both fair halves, but neither compared with the McKelvey-Finlayson-Laing combination. When the C.P.R. train carrying the team left Hamilton at 8:40 in the morning “Bear” Fickley was not in sight, and it was thought that the team would have to do without his services. When the squad arrived at Guelph Manager McComb got Dr. Carr on the long-distance phone and told him to round up the absent Fickley and get him to Guelph in time for the game at all costs. After keeping the wires burning for nearly an hour Dr. Carr finally located the “Bear,” and bundling him into a high-powered automobile he gave the chauffeur instructions to burn up the roads between the two cities. It was after 2 o’clock before the car left Hamilton, and Fickley did not reach the grounds until the game had been on about five minutes. Not taking time to get into a football suit, Fickley jumped right into the game with a new pair of blue trousers adorning his form, and he was one of the most conspicuous players on the field. After the game it was impossible to tell what the original color of those blue strides were.
Right off the reel in the first quarter the O.A.C. team corralled a point on a rouge. Guelph won the toss and Brown kicked off to McKelvey, who fumbled near his own line, but Laing saved. On the first down McKelvey kicked to Madden, who immediately returned over McKelvey’s head and the ball rolled behind the line, McKelvey being forced to rouge by Webster. The College team forced the play continually in this quarter and while they could not gain an inch on bucks through the line, Madden and Simpson kept up a continual volley of punts and it was only through the brilliant work of the rear division that Alerts held the score down to one point. When the quarter time whistle sounded, Alerts were in possession at midfield. O.A.C. 1, Alerts. 0.
With the wind behind them in the second quarter, McKelvey punted at every opportunity, but the College backs caught faultlessly and it was not until Alerts secured possession on an offside play near the center of the field that they were in a position to score. McKelvey kicked on the first down to Madden, who fumbled when tackled by Sheridan, and Finlayson fell on the ball about ten yards out from the Guelph line. On the next down, McKelvey tried an outside kick over the line, but Finlayson who was outside, charged him and the College back foozled the ball. There was a wild scramble for the loose oval but Clements dived through the air, and smothered the ball for a touchdown, which was not converted. With the try, the Alerts took a new lease on life and just before the quarter ended, McKelvey kicked to Huckett, who was forced to rouge. Half time score, Alerts 6, O.A.C. 1.
The College players came back strong after intermission and by kicking at every opportunity, soon worked the ball into the Alerts territory. College secured at the Alerts 35-yard line and Madden kicked over the line to McKelvey, who was forced to rouge. Alerts 6, O.A.C. 2. On the next down, McKelvey tried an outside kick, which failed and the Farm students secured, Simpson kicking to the deadline for another point. Alerts 6, O.A.C., 3. The College players were working like fiends and play had not been resumed more than 1 minute when Madden kicked near the line to McKelvey, who was thrown back for a safety touch. Alerts 6, O.A.C., 5. Alerts secured on their own 40 yard line and Voelker bucked for yards. Voelker was hurt and on the next down Caffrey went down for the count and had to be carried from the field. Fickley taking his place, Alerts forced the play down the field but lost the ball on an offside and Simpson kicked back over the line to Laing, who was forced to rouge and the scored was tied, Alerts 6, O.A.C., 6. The quarter ended without a further score.
Guelph began the final spasm by bucking for yards, and Simpson kicked a low punt over his scrimmage, which bounded past McKelvey over the line, and Mac was forced to rouge. O.A.C. 7, Alerts 6. The 500 college rooters who had been yelling like made in the third quarter, when their team tied up the score, broke out in renewed cheers and appeared to think that the game was as good as salted, but Alerts were far from being through. McKelvey kicked far up the field to Madden, who returned, and Laing, catching the punt, ran 15 yards, and kicked when being tackled. Simpson fumbled the punt, and Alerts secured on the college 40-yard line. On two bucks they were thrown back for a loss, and then McKelvey kicked over the line to Madden, who returned the kick along the ground. Fully a half-dozen college players were standing around Brydges waiting for him to pick up the ball and at last when he did, he got away from the bunch and ran unmolested up the field for a touch-down, which he converted a moment later. Alerts 16 (sic), O.A.C. 7. After that try the game developed into a farce, with the Alerts having it all their own way, McKelvey kicking over the line for two more rouges before the final whistle sounded. Alerts 14, O.A.C. 7.
After supper at the hotel, the sturdy band of Hamiltonians started out to celebrate, and while they furnished more noise than the residents of Guelph ever heard before, they were withal an orderly crowd, indulging in no rough-house tactics.
Those who indulged.