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- The Boys of Columbia High on the Gridiron - 1/32 -


[Illustration: COOTS WAS DOWNED BY A FIERCE TACKLE ON THE PART OF SHADDUCK.]

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE GRIDIRON

OR

The Struggle for the Silver Cup

BY GRAHAM B. FORBES

AUTHOR OF "THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH," "THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE DIAMOND," ETC.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. OUT FOR PRACTICE

II. ON THE ROAD TO TOWN

III. THE STRANGE HISTORY OF RALPH

IV. TREACHERY IN THE CAMP

V. THE SIGNAL PRACTICE

VI. AT THE SINGING SCHOOL

VII. THE ABDUCTION OF "BONES"

VIII. THE LINE-UP WITH CLIFFORD

IX. A HARD FOUGHT FIRST-HALF

X. A SCENE NOT DOWN ON THE BILLS

XI. CLIFFORD'S LAST HOPE

XII. DR. SHADDUCK FEARS AN EPIDEMIC

XIII. THE GREAT MARSH

XIV. THE DANGERS OF THE MUCK HOLE

XV. FRANK TURNS CHAUFFEUR

XVI. AN UNWILLING PILOT

XVII. A DESPERATE REMEDY

XVIII. MATCHING WITS

XIX. AT THE END OF THE CIRCUIT

XX. FRANK'S LUCK

XXI. THE LIFTING OF THE CLOUD

XXII. HOW BELLPORT BUCKED THE LINE

XXIII. WON BY FOUR INCHES

XXIV. THE MESSAGE FROM TOKIO--CONCLUSION

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE GRIDIRON

CHAPTER I

OUT FOR PRACTICE

"Oh, what a splendid kick!"

The yellow pigskin football went whizzing through the air, turning over and over in its erratic flight.

"Wow! Look at old Sorreltop run, will you?"

"He's bound to get under it, too. That's going some, fellows! Oh, shucks!"

"Ha! ha! a fumble and a muff, after all! That's too bad, after such a great gallop. Now Clack's got the ball, and a clear field ahead for a run! Go it, you wild broncho! Say, look there, will you, Tony; Ralph West thinks he can tackle that flying tornado!"

"Will he? Maybe, maybe not, fellows!" called out the ever-skeptical Jack Eastwick, as he watched the rapidly nearing figures. Jack was on the regular team, but not playing that afternoon.

"There, he's done it! Wasn't that tackle a screamer, though? That man West belongs with the regulars. He's too good for the scrub team. Mark my words, when we go up against Clifford he'll be doing duty with Columbia's eleven!"

"Bah!" sneered Tony Gilpin. "He's still only a greeny; never saw a football till he came here last year. Bones Shadduck taught him all he knows about the game. Take him away from his teacher, and the little boy would be hopelessly foundered, and you know it, too, Herman Hooker."

Herman was Columbia's "cheer captain." His sonorous voice aroused more enthusiasm among the struggling athletes when the prospects seemed dark and forbidding, than all other elements combined. As soon as it boomed out over a hotly-contested field, every Columbia fellow seemed to take on fresh confidence, and in many instances that meant a new determination to win the victory.

Herman looked at the last speaker, and smiled broadly. It was well known among the students of Columbia High School that Tony Gilpin still entertained great hopes of holding his place on the regular team; but his play was not up to the standard of the preceding year, and dark hints had gone abroad that in all probability he would be dropped, for "a dark horse."

As this latter must of necessity be taken from the scrub team, it can be easily understood why Tony showed so much concern over the playing of the newcomer, Ralph West.

"Why ain't you practicing with your team this P. M., instead of loafing around here watching the scrub eleven do things." remarked Charlie Scott, one of the group. "It can't be possible that a seasoned veteran of two years' experience can pick up points from a come-on?"

"I strained my leg a bit yesterday, and the coach advised me to give it a rest for a day. When I tackle I'm apt to go at a man without regard to consequences; and sometimes the jar is fierce," explained Tony, sneeringly.

"Well, if you can beat that work of Ralph West, you're going some, now; take it from me, son," commented Herman, with fatherly interest, and simply a desire to see the best man on the regular team when the auspicious day dawned that lined Columbia's eleven up against the warriors of Clifford.

Tony made no verbal reply, but his brow grew dark, as he once again shot a look of hatred toward the player who had made that brilliant flying tackle.

The big town of Columbia was situated on the Harrapin River, with Clifford nearly four miles above, and the manufacturing town of Bellport twice that distance down-stream.

Of course, as each of these bustling places boasted of a high school, the consequent rivalries of the students had blossomed out into a league. In various sports they were determined rivals, and the summer just passed had witnessed a bitter fight between the baseball clubs of the three towns, in which Columbia won out after a fierce contest.

Among the Columbia students there were also strivings after supremacy in many gymnastic feats, as well as between the several classes, each of which was jealous of the others when it came to giving spreads. Many of the deeply interesting happenings along this line that marked the preceding Winter and Spring have been chronicled in the first volume of this series, called: "The Boys of Columbia High; or, The All-Around Rivals of the School."

With the coming of the season for outdoor sports, there was baseball in the air from morning to night, in preparation for the carnival of games mapped out for the schedule between the three schools. What thrilling contests took place, and with what final results, can be found in the second story of this series, bearing the title, "The Boys of Columbia High on the Diamond; or, Winning Out by Pluck."

When the Glorious Fourth came along, the river that flowed past the three towns was the scene of a most remarkable gathering; for the annual regatta between the boat clubs of the high schools had been set down for observance. To enjoy the humor of the tub races, and experience the thrills that accompanied the flight of the rival four-oared and eight-oared shells over the scheduled course, the reader must peruse the third volume, called: "The Boys of Columbia High on the River; or, The Boat Race 'Plot That Failed."

And now vacation having ended, and school being once more under full swing, with the dropping of the highly-colored leaves from the woods along the banks of the picturesque Harrapin, there was heard little save football talk on the campus, and wherever the sons of old Columbia High congregated.

A well-to-do widow, in memory of her boy, Wallace Todd, who had


The Boys of Columbia High on the Gridiron - 1/32

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