“I’m going to play quarter-back,”
declared Drayne stolidly.
“You?” demanded Captain
Dick Prescott, looking at the aspirant in stolid wonder.
“Of course,” retorted
Drayne. “It’s the one position I’m
best fitted for of all on the team.”
“Do you mean that you’re
better fitted for that post than anyone else on the
team?” inquired Prescott. “Or that
it’s the position that best fits your talents?”
“Both,” replied Drayne.
Dick Prescott glanced out over Gridley
High School’s broad athletic field.
A group of the middle men of the line,
and their substitutes, had gathered around Coach Morton.
On another part of the field Dave
Darrin was handling a squad of new football men, teaching
how to rush in and tackle the swinging lay figure.
Still others, under Greg Holmes, were
practicing punt kicks.
Drayne’s face was flushed, and,
though he strove to hide the fact, there was an anxious
“I didn’t quite understand,
Drayne,” continued the young captain of the
team, “that you were to take a very important
part this year.”
“Pshaw! I’d like
to know why I’m not,” returned the other
“I think that is regarded as
being the general understanding,” continued
Dick. He didn’t like this classmate, yet
he hated to give offense or to hurt the other’s
feelings in any way.
“The general understanding?”
repeated Drayne hotly. “Then I can tell
the man who started that understanding.”
“I think I can, too,”
Prescott answered, smiling patiently.
“It was you, Dick Prescott!
You, the leader of Dick & Co., a gang that tries
to boss everything in the High School!
“Cool down a bit,” advised
young Prescott coolly. “You know well
enough that the little band of chums who have been
nicknamed Dick & Co. don’t try to run things
in the High School. You know, too, Drayne, if
you’ll be honest about it, that my chums and
I have sometimes sacrificed our own wishes to what
seemed to be the greatest good of the school.”
“Then who is the man who has
worked to put me on the shelf in football?”
insisted the other boy, eyeing Dick menacingly.
“What are you talking about?” cried Drayne,
more angry than before.
“Don’t be blind, Drayne,”
continued the young captain. “And don’t
be silly enough to pretend that you don’t know
just what I mean. You remember last Thanksgiving
“Oh, that?” said Drayne,
contemptuously. “Just because I wouldn’t
do just what you fellows wished me to do?
“I was there,” pursued
Captain Prescott, “and I heard all that was
said, saw all that was done. There was nothing
unreasonable asked of you. Some of the fellows
were a good bit worried as to whether you were really
in shape for the game, and they talked about it among
themselves. They didn’t intend you to over
hear, but you did, and you took offense. The
next thing we knew, you were hauling off your togs
in hot temper, and telling us that you wouldn’t
play. You did this in spite of the fact that
we were about to play the last and biggest game of
“I should say I wouldn’t
play, under such circumstances! Nor would you,
Prescott, had the same thing happened to you.”
“I have had worse things happen
to me,” replied Dick coolly. “I have
been hectored to pieces, at times, both on the baseball
and football teams. The hectoring has even gone
so far that I have had to fight, more than once.
But never sulked in dressing quarters and refused
to go on the field.”
“No!” taunted Drayne.
“And a good reason why. You craved to
get out, always, and make grand stand plays!”
“I suppose I’m as fond
of applause from the grand stand as any other natural
fellow,” laughed Dick good-humoredly. “But
I’ll tell you one thing, Drayne: I never
hear a murmur of what comes from the grand stand until
the game is over. I play for the success of
the team to which I belong, and listening to applause
would take my mind off the plays. But, candidly,
what the fellows have against you, is that you’re
a quitter. You throw down your togs at a critical
moment, and tell us you won’t play, just because
your fearfully sensitive feelings have been hurt.
Now, a sportsman doesn’t do that.”
“Oh, it’s all right for
you to take on that mighty superior air, and try to
lecture me,” retorted Drayne gruffly.
“I’m not lecturing you.
But the fellows chose me to lead the team this year,
and the captain is the spokesman of the team.
He also has to attend to its disagreeable business.
Don’t blame me, Drayne, and don’t blame
“Captain Prescott!” sounded
the low, but clean-cut, penetrating voice of Mr. Morton,
submaster and football coach of the Gridley High School.
“Coming, sir!” answered Dick promptly.
Then he added, to Drayne:
“Just blame your own conduct
for the decision that was reached by coach and myself
after listening to the instructions of the alumni
Dick moved away at a loping run, for
football practice was limited to an hour and a half
in an afternoon, and he knew there was no time to
“Oh, you sneak!” quivered
Drayne, clenching his hands as he scowled at the back
of the captain. “It was you who brought
up the old dispute. It is you who are keeping
me from any decent chance this last year of mine in
the High School. I won’t stand it!
I’ll shake the dust from my feet on this crowd.
I won’t remain in the squad, just for a possible
chance to sub in some small game!”
His face still hot with what he considered
righteous indignation, Drayne felt better as soon
as he had decided to shake the crowd.
In an instant, however, he changed
his mind. A sly, exultant look came into his
“On second thought I believe
I won’t quit,” he grinned to himself.
“I’ll stay –I’ll
drill –and I’ll get good and
square with this cheap crowd, captained by a cheap
man! Gridley hasn’t lost a game in years.
Well, you chaps shall lose more than one game this
year! I’ll teach you! I’ll
make this a year that shall never be forgotten by
humbled Gridley pride!”
Just what Phin Drayne was planning
will doubtless be made plain ere long.
Readers of the preceding volumes in
this series are already familiar with nearly all the
people, young and old, of both sexes, whom they are
now to meet again. In the first volume, “The
High School Freshmen,” our readers became
acquainted with Dick Prescott, Dave Darrin, Greg Holmes,
Dan Dalzell, Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton, six young
chums who, back in their days in the Central Grammar
School Gridley, had become fast friends, and had become
known as Dick & Co.
These chums played together, planned
together, entered all sports together. They
were inseparable. All were manly young fellows.
When they entered Gridley High School, and caught the
fine High School spirit prevailing there, they made
the honor of the school even more important than their
In the first year at High School the
boys, being mere freshmen, could not expect to enter
any of the school’s athletic teams. Yet,
as our readers know, Dick and his friends found many
a quiet way to boost local interest and pride in High
School athletics. Dick & Co. also indulged in
many merry and startlingly novel pranks. Dick
secured an amateur position as space reporter on “The
Blade,” the morning newspaper of the little
city, and was assigned, among other things, to look
after the news end of the transactions of the Board
of Education. The “influence” that
young Prescott secured in that way doubtless saved
him from having grave trouble, or being expelled when,
owing to Dr. Thornton’s ill-health, Abner Cantwell,
a man with an uncontrollable temper, came temporarily
to the principal’s chair. To everybody’s
great delight, at the beginning of this their senior
year, Dr. Thornton had returned to his position fully
restored to his former vigor and health.
In “The High School Pitcher”
Dick & Co., then sophomores, were shown in some fine
work with the Gridley High School nine, and Dick had
serious, even dangerous, Trouble, with mean, treacherous
enemies that he made.
In “The High School Left
End,” Dick & Co., juniors, made their real
entrance into High School athletics by securing places
in the school football eleven. It was in this
year that there occurred the famous strife between
the “soreheads” and their enemies, whom
the former termed the “muckers.”
The “soreheads” were the sons of certain
aristocratic families who resolved to secede from football
in case any of the members of Dick & Co. or of other
poor Gridley families, were allowed to make places
on the team. As the group of “soreheads”
contained a few young men who were really absolutely
necessary to the success of the Gridley High School
football eleven, the strife threatened to put Gridley
in the back row as far as football went.
But Dick, with his characteristic
vigor, went after the “soreheads” in the
columns of “The Blade.” He covered
them with ridicule and scorn so that the citizens
of the town began to take a hand in the matter as
soon as their public pride was aroused.
The “soreheads” were driven,
then, to apply for places in the football squad.
Only those most needed, however, had been admitted,
and the rest had retired in sullen admission of defeat.
Two of the latter, Bayliss and Bert
Dodge, carried matters so far, however, that they
were actually forced out of the High School and left
Gridley to go to a preparatory school elsewhere.
The hostile attempts of young Ripley,
of Dodge, Drayne and others to injure Dick & Co. have
been fully related in the four volumes of the “High
School Boys’ Vacation Series.”
This series deals with the good times enjoyed by
Dick & Co. during their first three summers as high
school boys. These stories are replete with
summer athletics, and a host of exciting adventures.
The four volumes of this Vacation Series are published
under the titles: “The High School Boys’
Canoe Club,” “The High School Boys
in Summer Camp,” “The High School
Boys Fishing Trip” and “The High
School Boys’ Training Hike.”
This present year no “sorehead”
movement had been attempted. Every student who
honestly wanted to play football presented himself
at the school gymnasium, on the afternoon named by
Coach Morton for the call, including Drayne, who had
been one of the original “soreheads.”
Drayne afterwards returned to the football fold,
behaving with absurd childishness at the big Thanksgiving
game, as our readers will recall.
Leaving Coach Morton, Captain Prescott
hurried away to take charge of the practice.
“Come, Mr. Drayne!” called
Coach Morton “Get into the tackling work, and
be sure to mix it up lively.”
“Just a moment, coach, if you please,”
“Well, Drayne?” asked Mr. Morton
“Captain Prescott has just been
telling me that I’m to be only a sort of sub
“Well, he’s captain,” replied the
“Huh! I thought it was all Prescott’s
fine work!” sneered Phin.
“You’re wrong there, Mr.
Drayne,” rejoined the coach frankly. “As
a matter of fact, it was I who suggested that you be
cast for light work this year.”
“Oh!” muttered Drayne
“Yes; if you feel like blaming
anyone, blame me, not Prescott. You know, Drayne,
you didn’t behave very well last Thanksgiving
“I admit that my behavior was
unreasonable, sir. But you know, Mr. Morton,
that I’m one of the valuable men.”
“There’s a crowd of valuable
men this year, Drayne,” smiled the submaster.
“On the strongest pledge that
I can give you, Mr. Morton, will you allow me to
play regular quarter-back this season?” begged
the quitter of the year before.
“I would give the idea more
thought if Prescott recommended it; but I doubt if
he would,” answered Mr. Morton slowly.
“Personally, Drayne, I don’t approve of
putting you on strong this year. The quitter’s
reputation Drayne, is one that can’t ever be
really lived down, you know.”
Though coach’s manner was mild
enough, there was look of the resolute eyes of this
famous college athlete that made Phin Drayne realized
how I hopeless it was to expect any consideration from
“All right then Mr. Morton,”
he replied huskily. “I’ll do my
best on a small showing, and take what comes to me.”
Yet, as he walked slowly over to join
the tacklers around the swinging figure, the hot blood
came again to young Drayne’s face.
“I’ll make this year a
year of sorrow Gridley!” he quivered indignantly.
“I’ll hang on, and make believe I’m
meek as a lamb, but I’ll spoil Gridley’s
record for this year! There was in olden times
a chap who had a famous knack for getting square with
people who used him the wrong way. I wish I
could remember his name at this moment.”
Drayne couldn’t recall the name
at the time, but another name that might have served
Drayne to remember at this instant was –