Despite the strain of what they had
gone through Dick and Dave led the Gridley boys through
a fierce gridiron battle that same afternoon, and
won again by a score of 13 to 5.
But the people of Gridley paid little
heed to the score that day, or the next. The
sensation that Dick and Dave had supplied was the
talk of the town, to the exclusion of other topics
relating to high School boys.
Mr. Pollock bought a copy of the photograph
showing Dick close to the weather vane on his climb.
A half-tone cut made from this photograph was printed
in “The Blade.”
“This young man is now a member
of ‘The Blade’ staff, reporting school
and other matters,” ran the comment under the
spirited picture. “We believe that Mr.
Prescott will continue to be a member of the staff,
and to grow with ‘The Blade.’”
“What about that, Dick?” laughed Darrin.
“I’ve told Mr. Pollock
and Mr. Bradley that I believe my plans will carry
me a good distance away from ‘The Blade’
office after this year,” replied Dick, with
a meaning smile. “If they won’t
believe me now, perhaps they’ll wake up later.”
The town had not been wanting in croakers
at the outset of the football season, who had predicted
that Dick Prescott and his chums would “drag
down” the football team and its fine traditions
from past years.
But the eleven, mainly under Dick
and under Dave’s captaincy in two fierce gridiron
battles, had gone right along winning games.
The last three battles had been fought
out to a successful finish in November. There
now remained only the Thanksgiving Day game to complete
By all traditions each football team
in the country strives to have its biggest fight take
place on Thanksgiving Day. By another tradition,
every team seeks to have this game take place on the
In the latter respect Gridley lost
this year. The game, which was against Fordham
High School, was scheduled to take place at Fordham.
Enthusiasm, however, was at top notch.
Citizens hired the Gridley Band to go along with
the young men and help out on noise. A special
train in two sections was chartered, for some seven
hundred Gridleyites had voted in favor of an evening
dinner on Thanksgiving Day; they were going along
to see the game.
Fordham had lost two games, against
exceptionally strong teams, earlier in the season,
but had of late a fine record. Fordham had dropped
several of its original players, putting in heavier
or better men, and a new coach had been employed.
The Fordham boys were now believed to be able to
put up a strenuous game.
“I hope you’re going to
win, Prescott,” said Mr. Macey, meeting Dick
on the street one afternoon not long before Thanksgiving.
“Have you any doubts, sir?”
smiled the captain of the Gridley team.
“Well, you see, Fordham was
my native town. I run down there often, and
I know a good deal of what’s going on there.
Fordham’s second coach has attended the last
two games you played, and he has been stealing all
your points that he could get.”
“He has, eh?” muttered
Prescott. “That’s news to me.
Oh, well, it’s legitimate to learn all you
can about another team’s play.”
“From the reports Fordham has
of your play the young men over in that town are certain
that they’re enough better to be able to bring
your scalps into camp.”
“Perhaps they’ll do it,”
laughed Dick pleasantly. “We’ll admit
that we’re about due for a walloping whenever
the crowd comes along that can do it.”
“I am only telling you what
I hear from Fordham,” continued Mr. Macey.
“And I’m glad you did,
sir. We’ll try to turn the laugh on Fordham.”
“Then you think you can beat ’em?”
“No, sir. We never think
we can. We always know that we can! That’s
the Gridley way –the Gridley spirit.
We always win our battles before we go into them,
Mr. Macey. We make up our minds that we can’t
and won’t be beaten. It isn’t just
brag, though. We base all our positiveness on
the way that we stick to our training and coaching,
and on our discipline. Mr. Macey, this is the
third year that I’ve been playing on different
Gridley High School teams. I remember a tie
game, but no defeats.”
“I guess Fordham will find it
a hard enough proposition to down you young men,”
remarked Mr. Macey.
“They’re going to discover,
sir, that they simply can’t do it. Gridley
never goes onto any field to get beaten.”
“Und dot isn’t brag,
neider,” broke in a man who had halted to listen.
“Ven dese young men pack deir togs to go away,
dey pack der winning score in der
bag, too. Ach! Don’t I know
dot? Don’t I make mineself young vonce
more by following dese young athletes about?”
Herr Schimmelpodt looked utterly shocked
that anyone should think it possible for another High
School eleven to take a game from Gridley.
Dick soon encountered Dave and told
him the news he had gleaned from Mr. Macey.
“Been sending their second coach
over to watch our play, have they?” laughed
Darrin softly. “That seems to show how
much they fear us in Fordham.”
“I believe we are going to have
a stiff game,” muttered Prescott. “Hallam
Heights and Fordham are the only two teams that think
enough of the game to hire two coaches.”
“Well, we have Hallam’s
scalp dangling down at the gym.,” laughed Dave
“And we’ll have Fordham’s
in the same way,” predicted Dick confidently.
It barely occurred to the young captain
of the team to wonder what it would mean for him if
the game to Fordham should be lost. Dick would
be the first captain in years who had lost a football
game for Gridley. It would be a mean record to
take out of High School life. But Dick gave
no thought to such a possibility.
“Of course we’re going
to wallop Fordham,” he thought. “I
wish only one thing. I’d like to see the
Fordhams play through a stiff game just once.”
It was too late, however, to give
any real thought to this, for Fordham’s next
and last game of the season was to be the one with
“Are you girls going to the
game?” asked Dick, when he and his chum met
Laura Bentley and Belle Meade before the post office.
“Haven’t you heard what
the girls are doing, Dick?” questioned Laura,
looking at him in some surprise.
“I have heard that a lot of
the girls are going to the game.”
“Just forty-two of us, to be
exact,” Laura continued. “We girls
and our chaperons are to have one car in the first
section. You see, we’ve arranged to go
right along with the team. We have our seats
all together at Fordham, too.”
“My, what a lot of noise forty-two
girls can make in a moment of enthusiasm!” murmured
“We can, if you give us any excuse,” advanced
“Oh, we’ll give you excuse
enough. See to it that you keep the noise up
to the grade of our playing.”
“Mr. Confident!” teased Belle.
“Why, you know, as well as we
do, that we’ll come home with Fordham’s
scalp!” retorted, Darrin.
“You’ve heard some of
the talk about Fordham’s confidence in winning,
haven’t you?” asked Laura, a bit anxiously.
“Yes,” nodded Dick.
“But that doesn’t mean anything.
You know the Gridley record, the Gridley spirit and
“Still,” objected Belle,
“one side has to lose, and the Fordham boys
have all the stuff ready to light bonfires on Thanksgiving
“Have you any particular friends
over in Fordham?” asked Dave Darrin, with a
sudden swift, significant look.
“No, I haven’t,”
retorted Belle hastily. “And I hope, with
all my heart, that Gridley gains the only points that
are allowed. Yet, sometimes, so much confidence
all the while seems just a bit alarming.”
“I won’t say another word,
then, until after the game,” promised Darrin
“Oh, I’ll turn half girl,
and say ‘I told you so,’” mimicked
It would have been hard to find anyone
in Gridley who would have said openly that he expected
the home boys to be beaten; but there were many who
knew that they were more than a bit anxious.
Before the game, anyway, Fordham’s brag was
just as good as Gridley brag.
“Won’t you be glad, anyway,
when the Thanksgiving game is over?” asked Laura.
“Yes, and no,” smiled
Prescott seriously. “When I come back from
Fordham I shall know that I have captained my last
game on a High School team. That tells me that
I am getting along in life –that
I am growing old, and shall soon have to think of much
more serious things. But, honestly, I hate awfully
to think of all these grand old High School days coming
to an end. I mustn’t think too much about
it until after the game. It makes me just a bit
“Won’t you be captain
of the basket ball team this winter?” asked
“No; I can’t take everything.
Hudson will probably head the basket ball team.”
“Why, I heard that you were
going in hard for basket ball.”
“So I am. Mr. Morton is
so busy, with the new evening training classes, that
he has asked me to be second coach to the basket ball
crowd. I’ll undoubtedly do that.”
“Oh, then you’ll still
be leading the athletic vanguard at the High School,”
murmured Laura, and, somehow, there was a note of
contentment in her voice.
“I shall be, until I’m
through with the High School,” Prescott answered.
“But think –just think –how
soon that will come around for all of us!”