Ralph Barbour.

Right Guard Grant





The first presented a line-up of substitutes, with Gurley and Kerrison playing end, Lawrence and Cash tackle, Squibbs and Falls guard, Muller center, Carpenter quarter, Kendall and Goodwin half and Dakin full. Leonard, huddled in a blanket on the bench, forgot the cold in the cheering knowledge that sooner or later Johnny Cade would be sure to call on him. Johnny Cade did, but not until the second period. Meanwhile Lawrence and Cash took plenty of punishment from the cocky scrubs but managed to hold out. Second was certainly on her toes this afternoon, and nothing the first could do prevented her from scoring. It was only a field-goal, for the first, pushed down the field to her twenty-yard line, held gamely through three downs, but it meant three points for the scrubs and much exulting. With a strong wind almost behind him, the seconds left half could hardly have failed to boot the pigskin over.

First wrested the ball away from second a minute or so later and started a march toward the opponents goal. Kendall got away with a nice run of a dozen yards, and Dakin twice got half that distance through left guard. Goodwin plugged hard, but it was not his day. Carpenter tried a quarterback run and made it good for eight yards, placing the ball on seconds twenty-four. Kendall went back and faked a try-at-goal, taking the pigskin on a wide end run that netted him little but exercise. Then a forward-pass was tried, but, short as it was, the wind bore it down, and first was lucky not to lose possession of it. With two downs left, Kendall again threatened a field-goal, but passed the ball to Dakin, and the full-back smashed through the enemy left for four. On the same play Dakin added enough to make it first down on the fourteen. Then, with first already tasting success, the whistle ended the period!

The scrubs crossed the field to sit in a closely huddled group like a lot of blanketed Indians and Leonard watched Mr. Cade hopefully. But when the second period started the coach made but two changes in his line-up. Raleigh went in at right guard and Wilde at right tackle. Leonard, disappointed, looked searchingly up and down the bench. So far as he knew he was the only tackle remaining. In fact, only less than a dozen fellows were left now, and he didnt think there was a lineman among them. He didnt wish Lawrence any bad luck, but it did seem that he had played about long enough!

First had a streak of luck right at the start of that period, for a second team back fumbled on his forty-four and, although second recovered the ball, the next line-up was close to the twenty-five-yard line. Two punches and then a punt into the gale that carried a scant twenty yards, and the ball was firsts in scrub territory. The first attack sent Goodwin at the enemys center for a two-yard gain and when the warriors had disentangled themselves one form remained on the ground. Jake seized water bottle and sponge and trotted out. Thats Raleigh, said the fellow at Leonards right.

Sure? asked Leonard anxiously.

I thought maybe it was Lawrence. No, theres Lawrence. You a guard?

The neighbor shook his head sadly. Half, he answered.

They had Raleigh standing up now and Jake was leading him toward the bench. Coach Cades voice came imperatively.

First team guard! he called.

The trainer echoed the summons impatiently as he neared the bench. Come on, one of you guards!

Leonard threw off his blanket and bent mutely to the neighbor and the substitute halfback seized his sweater while Leonard pulled himself out of it. Then he dashed onto the gridiron. Jake was a dozen feet away, still supporting the scowling Raleigh.

Whats the matter? he asked. Deaf? Didnt you hear the coach yelling? Then he stared harder, at Leonards back now, and called suddenly: Here! You aint a guard!

But Leonard paid no heed. Perhaps the wind bore the words away from him. He went on, aware, as he gained the waiting squad, of the coachs puzzled gaze.

I called for a guard, Grant, said Mr. Cade.

Yes, sir, answered Leonard. Ive played guard two seasons.

Maybe, but youre not a guard now. Send some one else on. Isnt there any one there?

No, sir.

Mr. Cade shrugged. All right. You take it then. You deserve it, Im blessed if you dont! Come on now, First Team! Lets get going! All right, Quarter!

Leonard stepped in between Garrick and Cash, Carpenter chanted his signal and the lines ground together. Why, this was easy, reflected Leonard. It was just like old times. He knew what to do here. When you were a guard you were a guard and nothing else. You didnt have to understudy your next door neighbor and go prancing around like a silly end! Of course, when a shift took you around to the other side of the line, as it was doing now

Leonard whanged into an opponent and tipped him neatly aside as Kendall came spinning through. Three yards, easy. Maybe four. This was pie! He got back to his place again and grinned at his second team adversary. The scrub player answered the grin with a malignant scowl. Leonard laughed to himself. He always liked the other fellow to get good and peeved; that made it easier. Dakin was stopped short on the next play and Kendall went back. A second team back tried to sneak inside of Leonard, and Leonard gave him a welcoming shoulder. Then there was the thud of the ball and he pushed an adversary aside and sped down the field, the gale behind him helping him on. He was under the ball all the way and was hard by when Kerrison upset the scrub quarter for no gain. The pigskin was on the seconds fourteen now, and the second realized its difficulties. Kicking into that wind was a thankless job. If you kicked low your ends couldnt cover the punt. If you kicked high you made no distance. Even a forward-pass, were you rash enough to attempt it under your own goal-posts, was doubly risky. So second tried hard to get a half-back around an end, first at Gurleys post and then at Kerrisons, and made but four yards altogether. It seemed then that second must punt, but she had one more trick up her sleeve. She sent an end far out to the left, shifted to the right and sent the full-back straight ahead. Well, that wasnt so bad, for it added another four yards to her total. But it was fourth down, and the wind still blew hard against her, and punt she must at last. So punt she tried to.

That she didnt was primarily due to the ease with which Leonard disposed of his man and went romping through the scrub line, quite alone for the instant. A half met him, and the impact, since Leonard had his hands thrown high, almost drove the breath from his body. Yet the damage was done, for the second team kicker was too hurried to punt. Instead, he tucked the ball to his elbow and shot off to the right in a desperate attempt to circle the first teams end. But there was Gurley to be considered, and Gurley dropped his man very expeditiously and neatly for a six-yard loss. Whereupon first took the ball, lined up on the scrubs sixteen and hammered Goodwin and Dakin over for the score.

Then Kendall booted a nice goal and made it seven points, and going back up the field Carpenter and Dakin and half a dozen others whacked Leonard on the back and pantingly told him that he was all right, or words to that effect. Then first kicked off again and went after another touchdown. You might criticize the seconds science, but you had to acknowledge that when it came to fight she was right on hand! Second didnt hold with Mr. Cade or Quarterback Carpenter when they assured the first that there was another score to be had. Second denied it loudly and with ridicule. She dared first to try to get another score. First accepted the challenge with ejaculations of derision and the trouble began again.

You mustnt think that Leonard played through some ten minutes without receiving his share of censure from the coach and the quarterback, for nothing like that happened. Mr. Cade showed little partiality, and every one came in for criticism or rebuke. What Carpenter said worried Leonard very little. Quarterbacks are always nagging a fellow. But he did wish, toward the last, that Mr. Cade would stop barking at him. Of course he knew that he didnt play the position perfectly, but he was doing his best, gosh ding it, and no one was making any gains through him! If only he was a little bigger and had more beef hed show Johnny some real playing!

As it was, though, he was doing so well that the coach was secretly marvelling. Mr. Cade viewed Leonards height and his none too broad shoulders and then glanced at the big Garrick on one side and the rangy Cash on the other and wondered. When, reflected the coach, he told me he was a guard he knew what he was talking about! Much of Leonards success this afternoon was due to following Billy Wells advice. Leonard looked his man in the eye and discovered that, in some strange fashion, he could tell what the chap was going to do a fraction of a second before he started to do it. It was almost like mind-reading, Leonard thought. And he profited, too, by the other tips that Billy had given him. He couldnt adopt Billys stance thoroughly, but he did try a modified form of it and found that it gave him a quicker start. And to-day no one drove his head back and made him see whole constellations of wonderful stars! No, sir, the old chin was right in against the neck!

First didnt succeed in scoring again, but she did throw a scare into the adversary in the final minute of play. By that time Leonards original opponent had been replaced by a fresher but, as it was soon proved, no more formidable youth, and Mr. Fadden had made other substitutions in his array of talent. So, too, had Mr. Cade, although the latters resources were nearly exhausted. Cruikshank went in for Carpenter, and a new half-back appeared. Cruikshank brought a little more pep to the first, and she got the pigskin down to seconds twenty-eight yards. There, however, the enemy stiffened and tightened and took the ball away on downs. Wisely, she elected to punt on first down, but there was a poor pass, and the ball was missed entirely by the kicker. It hit him somewhere around the feet and bounded to one side. Instantly twenty-two youths made for it. Some four or five reached it more or less simultaneously. Of the number was the first team right guard. How that happened was a subject of official investigation later by Mr. Fadden. However, the second teams troubles are not ours. What interests us is the fact that not only was Leonard the first man through the second team line but he was the first man to lay hand on the ball. He accomplished the latter feat by diving between two hesitant adversaries and, being doubtless favored by luck, capturing the erratic pigskin during one brief instant of quiescence. A fraction of a second later that ball would have toppled this way or that, or jumped into the air, eluding Leonards grasp just as it had eluded others, but at the instant it had presumably paused for breath. Anyhow, Leonard reached it and pulled it under him and tucked his head out of the way. Then half a dozen of the opponents sat on him more or less violently or tried to get covetous hands on the prize. The whistle blew and finally he breathed again. Having been pulled to his feet, his breathing was again disturbed by emphatic blows on his back or shoulders accompanied by brief but hearty expression of commendation. He was still fighting for breath when Cruikshank piped his signal, and Dakin drove harmlessly into the second team line. Then, to the intense disgust of the first and the vast relief of the second, with the ball on the seventeen yards and a score as sure as shooting, some idiot blew a whistle!

There was almost a scrap about that. Up in the locker room Dakin accused Winship, the assistant manager who had acted as timekeeper, of having cheated the first of a score. Time, answered Winship coldly, was up when the whistle blew. Yah, responded Dakin impolitely. Youre crazy! You didnt see straight! Bet you there was a good thirty seconds left! There was not! If anything, you had a second more than was coming to you, for the whistle didnt blow until Id called to Tenney twice. No use being sore at me, Dakin. Much better have done something when you had the ball that time! Is that so? snarled the full-back. Howd I know you were going to cheat us out of Dont you say I cheated! Well, what do you call it, you fathead? Step up to the gym with me if youre looking for trouble!

But some of the others stepped in just there, and hostilities were prevented, and somewhat later Dakin, having been cooled by an icy shower-bath, apologized handsomely and the entente cordiale was re?stablished.

That evening, his briar pipe drawing nicely and his feet comfortably elevated, Coach Cade turned the pages of his little memorandum book and made marks here and there. Once he reversed his pencil and, using the rubber-tipped end of it, expunged a name entirely. The last thing he did was to draw a black mark through the words Grant, Leonard and through half a dozen mysterious hieroglyphics that followed them and then, turning a page, enter the same words again very carefully in his small characters. At the top of the latter page was the inscription Guards.

CHAPTER XV
A TIP FROM MCGRATH

Leonard regretted that Slim hadnt been at the field during scrimmage that afternoon, for he wanted Slim to know that he had well, done not so badly. All he told the other, though, when they met before supper was that Johnny had run out of guards and that he had played at right for awhile.

Guard? said Slim in surprise. You mean Johnny stood for it? Slim frowned. Look here, General, let me give you a word of advice. You never get anywhere by changing jobs. You stick to being a tackle. The next time Johnny wants to shift you to some other position you put your foot down.

It wasnt Johnny did it, Slim. They yelled for a guard and I ran on.

More fool you, son. Youve got to specialize, or youll just sit on the bench forever and ever. The fellow that does a little of everything never does much of anything, as some one once very wisely remarked. How did you get along?

All right, answered Leonard. It was easier than tackle, Slim. I I was more at home there, I suppose.

Huh, grumbled Slim, dont get to looking for the easy jobs, General. You stay put, young feller. Why, only a couple of days ago Billy Wells was telling me what a wonderful tackle youd make!

Wells was? exclaimed Leonard. Get out, Slim!

He was, honest to goodness! Why, Billys a a great admirer of yours, General. He said more nice things about your playing than I ever heard him say about any fellows not excepting his own! And now you go and let them make a goat of you. Too bad, son.

We-ell, Ive half a notion that Johnny will let me play guard after this, said Leonard. It was more a hope than a notion, though. Slim shook his head doubtfully.

I wouldnt bank on it, he said. You know, General, you arent quite built for a guard.

After supper Slim had been eating at training table for a long while now Leonard was leaning over a Latin book in Number 12 when the door opened violently and things began to happen to him. First he was precipitated backward until his head touched the floor and his feet gyrated in air. Then he was sat on while rude hands tweaked his nose and the lately occupied chair entangled his feet. About that time Leonard began to resent the treatment and got a firm hold on Slims hair. But Slim wouldnt have that.

No, General, he announced firmly. Be quiet and take your medicine. You are being disciplined, son. This isnt a mere vulgar brawl. This is for the good of your poor little shriveled soul.

Well, let up on my nose then, you crazy idiot! What am I being disciplined for! And get off my tummy a minute so I can kick that blamed chair out of the way!

Dont vent your spleen on the poor inanimate chair, remonstrated Slim reproachfully. It never did anything to you, you deceiving goof. Look at me! In the eye I mean eyes! Why didnt you tell me what happened this afternoon?

I did.

General!

Ouch! Quit, you you crazy

Why didnt you tell me all? Look at me, consarn yer!

I am, Slim! Doggone it, will you quit?

Stop struggling! General, youve got to come clean. Did you or didnt you deceive me?

I did not.

General, you did. Since then I have learned the truth. You went and made yourself one of these here football heroes, you did, General. Broke through no, crashed through the enemy line and fell on the fumbled ball, thus bringing victory to your beloved Alma Mater! Not once, but twice did you do this thing. I know all, and lying wont help you any longer. Confess, drat your pesky hide! Did you or isnt they?

They is! groaned Leonard. For the love of Mike, Slim, get off my supper!

Slim removed himself, and Leonard struggled out of the clutches of the chair and got to his feet. For two cents, he said, Id lay you over that blamed chair and paddle you, Slim.

No, you wouldnt, son. You know very well that you deserved all you got, and a little bit more. You deceived me, me your friend! You

Oh, dry up, laughed Leonard. What did you expect me to do? Tell you how good I was? Those second team fellows that played against me were dead easy, Slim. A child could have got through those chaps. Why, you could yourself, Slim! Well, I wont go that far, but

I pay no heed to your insults, you gallery-player!

Shut up! There wasnt any gallery to-day. It was too cold.

Gallery enough. Fellows at table spent about half the time talking about you and your stunts. And I had to make believe I knew all about it and keep nosing around for clews. Not for worlds would I have confessed that I knew naught of which they spake. Fancy my position! Me who raised you from a cradle! Arent you ashamed of yourself?

Awfully, said Leonard. Now will you dry up and let me get this Latin?

I will not. Say, General, I wish youd set to work and get Rennekers job away from him.

Thats likely, scoffed Leonard. What you got against Renneker?

Nothing. Only Slim sobered, and after a moments pause continued: Only that yarn of Johnny McGraths makes me sort of wonder whether well, if Renneker wasnt on the team, General, there wouldnt be anything to worry about!

I thought youd decided that there wasnt anything in that idea of McGraths.

So I had. Im still that way. Only well, I wish some one would find out the truth of it. Or youd beat him out for the place!

Ive got a fine chance, Slim! Look here, if you think theres a chance that McGrath isnt mistaken why dont you ask Renneker about it?

Slim shrugged. It isnt my funeral. Besides, whats to prevent him from lying?

Leonard shook his head. I dont believe he would, Slim. He doesnt seem that sort, you know.

No, agreed Slim, grudgingly, he doesnt. Oh, well, I should worry. Gee, Ive got enough to attend to without turning reformer. Theres the class dinner Saturday, and Cash tells me only about half the bunch have paid up so far. By the way, have you heard anything?

Not a thing, replied Leonard.

Guess you havent tried very hard, grumbled the other. Id like to know what the freshies are up to. Theyve got something planned. You can see that by the knowing look of em. Some fool stunt the juniors have put em up to, Ill wager. Well

Slim relapsed into thoughtful silence, and Leonard edged his chair back to the table. After a minute he asked: That all?

Huh? inquired Slim absently.

If youre quite through Ill have another go at this Latin, said Leonard politely. But of course if theres anything else on your mind

Go to the dickens, growled Slim.

On Tuesday the first-string players returned to a full diet of work and, excepting Smedley, now pronounced out of football for the season, all the guard candidates were on hand when the scrimmage started. Nevertheless Leonard displaced Renneker in the second period and Raleigh went in at left guard, relieving Stimson. Billy Wells greeted Leonard heartily with a playful poke in the ribs and, Well, heres the General! See whos with us, Jim! Jim Newton turned and grinned. Hello, sonny, he said. You get behind me and they wont hurt you. Leonard, almost painfully aware of the difference in size between him and the big center, smiled apologetically. Thanks, he answered, I will if you happen to be on your feet. Billy yelped gleefully, and Jims grin broadened. You win, young feller, he said.

Leonard didnt break through to-day and capture a fumbled ball, but he did more than handle his opponent and very early in the second period the scrubs discovered that the right of the first team line was a particularly poor place at which to direct attack. Leonard and Wells worked together very nicely. Just before the end, much to his disgust, he was forced to yield his place to Falls, and he and Raleigh, also relieved, made their way back to the gymnasium together. Raleigh was an excellent example of the player who is able to progress just so far and then stands still, in spite of all that coaches can do. He had been a second-string guard last year and had, early in the present season, been picked as a certainty. Rennekers advent, however, had spoiled his chance, and since then Raleigh seemed to have lost his grip. Just now he was not so much standing still as he was sliding backward. He confided something of this to Leonard on the way across to the gymnasium.





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