Chapter 14

The 1920 Season Begins

The 1919 team photos from the previous year showed either 17 or 18 players suited up. There are 30 young men in this 1920 team picture which reveals what a great season and national recognition can bring. This photo was made on the steps of the Boyle-Humphrey Gymnasium. Three of the Fort Worth North Side players are on the front row- Red Weaver, 1st left, Sully Montgomery, who entered in 1918, 3rd left, and Bill James, far right. The other North Side player is Bo McMillin, 4th left on the second row. The additional original young men from Fort Worth were Matty Bell and Bob Mathias, both of whom graduated in the spring of 1920, Bill Boswell, who entered in 1917 but dropped out of school after one year at Centre, Reuben McMillin, who left in 1917 due to a family crisis, and Thad McConnell, who decided he wasn't good enough to continue playing and became the much admired team manager in 1920.

The Colonels' opening 1920 opponent was basically unknown regarding its strength. Morris Harvey, located in Barboursville, WV  ( now the University of Charleston, West Virginia ) and Centre had played but once before, with the West Virginians winning big in 1912.

Morris Harvey College, Barboursville, WV: 1920 Football Team
L to R, back row: Coach Fulton, R. Withrow, Burford, Haws, Shannon, Bolden, George Saunders, student Dr., Rezzonico, Walker, Lilly, H. Westfall, Dr. Webb (president)
                                L to R, front row: Derenberger, Land, Lantaz, Fife, W.W. Westfall, Captain Thompson, Joy, Curr
                              Vernon Webb, Mascot, on ground

Morris Harvey took a west bound C&O train to Lexington, switched to a Southern Railroad car, and its 20-man team arrived in Danville late Friday afternoon, October 2.

In order to get ready for 1920, the student bodies of Centre and K.C.W. had spent several afternoons being trained in the cheers of the Gold and White. It was felt that the "Old Centre" spirit would never be more important than during the upcoming season.

Centre's starting lineup was as follows:

Left end          Stanley Robb                 Pittsburgh, Pa        6’        180 lbs.

Left tackle      Sully Montgomery       Fort Worth, Tx.      6’2”     215 lbs.

Left Guard     Clayton Ford                 Danville, Ky.           6’         193 lbs.

Center             Red Weaver                   Fort Worth, Tx.      5’10”   162 lbs.

Right guard    Ben Cregor                    Springfield, Ky.      5’10”   178 lbs.

Right tackle    Bill James                     Fort Worth, Tx.      5’9”     170 lbs.

Right end        George Chinn              Harrodsburg, Ky.    5’11”   183 lbs.

Quarterback   Bo McMillin                 Fort Worth, Tx.      5’9”     165 lbs.

Left half           Tom Bartlett                Owensboro, Ky.      5’10"   154 lbs.

Fullback           Red Roberts                Somerset, Ky.          6’         210 lbs.

Right half        Army Armstrong        Fort Smith, Ar.        5’10”    162 lbs.  

The only regular who was on the sidelines was Terry Snowday, who still had his arm in a sling due to his sprained shoulder.

Centre's line averaged 183 lbs. The backfield, helped by big Red's 210 lbs., came in at 173 lbs., and the overall team average was just over 179 lbs., which was pretty respectable for the era.

There were 4 starters from Fort Worth, 5 Kentuckians, and one each from Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

The 1920 edition of the Centre College Colonels went into action for the first time on October 2, at 2:45 in the afternoon. The team sported their new gold and white uniforms and their neat looking, green blankets with a gold "Centre" stitched across them.

Uncle Charlie kept it simple. Only 5 plays were used on offense. There were runs over the left or right tackle, sweeps around either end, and one forward pass formation. Moran wasn't going to reveal any more than was needed. He knew there were scouts in the stands.

Five plays were adequate. The season was but 3 minutes old when Red Roberts plunged across the goal for the first points of 1920. By the end of the first quarter, it was 28-0.

While playing but 3 starters in the second quarter, the only score was a 30-yard field goal by Roberts to make it 31-0.

During the third quarter, Centre scored twice to go up 45-0.

In the last quarter, the Colonels added another 21 points to make it 66-0. The last score was a touchdown by Bill James who picked up a fumble and ran it in from the 20

Morris Harvey tallied only 2 first downs all afternoon. Centre played 30 men, with only Bo and Red Roberts playing the entire 60 minutes. Uncle Charlie even let Sully Montgomery play in the backfield and the big tackle rumbled in for a score late in the game.

Touchdowns were spread evenly.

Army- 2
Montgomery- I

Red Weaver kicked 9 extra points to run his consecutive steak to 53 straight extra points.  

If Morris Harvey came to Danville unknown, Howard College ( now part of Samford University in Birmingham) was even more of a mystery. The Centre staff knew that in 1919, Howard had played tough against an excellent 8-1 Auburn team whose only loss was 7-6 to an excellent Vanderbilt squad. Howard went down to Auburn by a respectable 19- 6, and it was assumed that Howard would field a good team in 1920.

Centre was still holding its cards close to the chest. Practices remained closed. Uncle Charlie wanted to trim the squad's numbers and pitted the third team against the fourth in order to determine who would be cut. A typical practice for the first two teams was a 3-hour workout, followed by 6 laps.

Everyone was healthy. Terry Snowday's arm was out of his sling. He was expected to see some action, but not to start.

Howard arrived on Friday morning, October 8. They were led out on Cheek Field by captain "Bunny" Acton who had received special mention in the "Spalding's Official Football Guide" for his play the previous year. After a 3- hour workout, one of their young men was quoted as saying, "Just wait, you'll see a better battle, and the Colonels will realize that they're not up against another Morris Harvey."

It was hardly a prophetic comment. Centre played 31 men, scored 16 touchdowns, kicked 3 field goals, was good on 15 extra points, and crushed hapless Howard, 120-0.

Touchdowns were again spread throughout the team.

Bo 4
Chinn 4
Murphy 2
Snowday 2
Tanner 1
Roberts 1
Army 1
J.M. Liggett 1

Red Roberts kicked 2 field goals. Bo booted the other one.

Red Weaver kicked 10 straight extra points to run his streak to 63, then turned the kicking over to Bo, who got 4, and Roberts, who was good on one attempt.

Howard never registered a single first down.

Centre was 2-0, and had now won 21 straight.