The 1922 Season Begins
SEPTEMBER 23- CARSON-NEWMAN
SEPTEMBER 30- CLEMSON
OCTOBER 7- MISSISSIPPI
After the great and exciting season of 1921, everyone who followed football was anxious to see if the Centre College Colonels could continue in their winning ways. Those who were really in the know regarding the trends that were developing recognized that the "freshman rule" had to eventually catch up with the smaller schools like Centre. It was the old adage, "not if, but when."
Nonetheless, things looked good in the fall of 1922. Centre had a talented core of players coming back, and it looked like the Colonels could still play in the "big time," at least for a while.
SEPTEMBER 23- CARSON-NEWMAN
Tom Moran, Uncle Charlie's son, had been hired to coach Carson-Newman . The little Southern Baptist college in Jefferson City, Tennessee, some 25 miles northeast of Knoxville, had a very sparse schedule the past three seasons, playing only 14 games, winning 6 and losing 8.
Hiring the son of one of the most famous and successful coaches in the nation seemed like a good move. Carson-Newman had the hope of gaining the recognition that Centre had garnered over the last 5 years by pumping up its football program.
Uncle Charlie couldn't be on the sidelines to coach against his son due to his umpiring duties. The Chief came down from Chicago and joined new assistant Jim Bond on the sidelines.
Two anticipated starters couldn't even dress for the game. The S.I.A.A had heard that Bill Shadoan and Minos Gordy had played in a professional baseball game over the summer. Shadoan and Gordy said it wasn't true.
"Guilty until proven innocent," was the verdict, and the two were prohibited from playing until an investigation was completed. When it would be over wasn't known.
It didn't matter against Carson-Newman, but certainly the two big linemen were going to be needed in the future.
Howard Lynch started in place of Shadoan. Terry Snowday was moved to end in place of Gordy. Ben Cregor was held out due to a minor injury, and Frank Rubarth started in place of "Baldy." Clifton "Hennie" Lemon started in the backfield, along with Hope Hudgins, Bartlett and Covington.
The Colonels put an awfully young team on Cheek Field. There were 2 seniors, a junior, and 8 sophomores. The two who were ineligible, Shadoan and Gordy, were sophomores.
Young team or not, it really didn't matter. The Colonels picked up 27 first downs to but 2 for Carson-Newman, and won, 72-0.
A highlight of the game for the team was that Jimmy Green, a junior from Louisville who was a favorite of the team, scored twice.
Green had been a faithful member of the squad but hadn't gotten many minutes over the last couple of years.
"Way to go, Jimbo!!"
SEPTEMBER 30- CLEMSON
Again, "Center" even after all of the publicity that Centre had received
Clemson was next, at Clemson. The Colonels had beaten the Tigers in 1921 in a game played in Danville by a 14-0 score.
Centre took a chartered Pullman which was connected to a Southern passenger train through Chattanooga and then to Clemson.
The old saying, "If it weren't for misfortune, he'd have no fortune at all," seemed to fit Uncle Charlie and the Colonels.
Red Roberts' sister had been ill for some time and died while receiving treatment in Louisville. Naturally, Red chose not to go to Clemson but went to Somerset for the funeral.
In addition, John Hunter received word that his mother had died, and he left the team to go home to be with his family.
Centre still hadn't heard from the S.I.A.A. about Bill Shadoan and Minos Gordy, and they couldn't play against Clemson.
Depleted but undeterred, the Colonels moved on.
There was an overflow crowd announced at more than 10,000 for the game, boosted by not only the fact that it was Centre playing, but also by the beautiful, Saturday afternoon. "Shirtsleeves weather," it was called. The papers stated that it was the greatest attendance at a football game in the history of the sport in South Carolina, a feature which seemed to accompany Centre's team during the era. Clemson had designated its opening game of the season as Homecoming, a bit of strange scheduling. However, the South Carolinians knew that Centre would pack them in, and decided that the game would be the attraction needed to encourage record numbers of the old grads to come back to their alma mater.
There were numerous scouts in the stands. Harvard sent two, E.J. Weatherford and Buster Dewey. Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Auburn and W&L also had representatives taking notes.
Article in South Carolina paper about "Center"
In a speech which long preceded Knute Rockne's famous 1928, "Win one for the Gipper," Uncle Charlie made an appeal to, "Win one for our captain, the redhead. Win one for your teammate, John Hunter. Win one for Old Centre. Win one for the people back home. Win one for all of Kentucky!"
It was an emotional team of Gold and White which ran out of the dressing room determined to indeed, "Win one!!"
The fired up Colonels dominated.
Herb Covington was easily the most effective player on the field. The little quarterback made several long runs and scored the only touchdown during the first half when he took it in just after the 2nd quarter began. Hennie Lemon was perfect on the extra point, and the half ended, 7-0.
The score wasn't truly indicative of the play during the first two periods, as Centre had a first down margin of 11-2.
The Colonels continued to demonstrate their superiority in the 2nd half. Terry Snowday and Tom Bartlett both scored, Lemon kicked 2 more extra points, and the final score was 21-0.
Again, even though Centre won easily, the score didn't tell the whole story. In the second half, Covey and his teammates continued their offensive onslaught as indicated by their racking up first downs at will, 13 to but 3 for the Tigers, to end up with 24 for the game to Clemson's 5.
"Not bad," was the opinion when Uncle Charlie was asked by a reporter after the game how he felt his team had played.
It indeed was a great performance, considering that Centre had played very conservatively due to all of the scouts present, and due to the fact that 3 starters were out of the lineup.
After the game, the players showered and dressed and headed to their Pullman. The Clemson student body followed them to the station and the Tigers' cheerleaders led them in cheers for the Colonels. It was, after all, the team that had beaten the Easterners, no matter that they had also just thoroughly defeated their own squad.
The Colonels' Pullman had been pulled onto a siding in Greenville where the team slept. The next morning, they were hooked onto the back of an east bound Southern train, and journeyed back to Danville.
Centre was 2-0, not tested, and things were looking good for the season. Of course, "the season" was Harvard in 3 weeks.
Again, as before, it was always Harvard.
OCTOBER 7- MISSISSIPPI
Centre and the University of Mississippi had never met before. It was one of the home games for the Colonels, and there were several reasons that the Rebels were penciled in during 1922.
Mississippi was one of the colleges which had been spun out of the S.I.A.A to form the Southern Conference. Even though Centre was left behind when the new conference was formed, it was still felt in Danville that the school could claim the "Championship of the South" if the Colonels played and beat the teams which had joined together to form the new organization.
On the 1922 Centre schedule were 7 members of the Southern Conference: Clemson, Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Washington and Lee, Auburn, and South Carolina. Run the string and Centre could certainly claim to be the premiere team in the South.
Other considerations in scheduling Ole Miss were the Rebels willingness to come to Danville, and the fact that the team qualified as a decent "warm-up" opponent prior to the Harvard game.
Carson-Newman was cannon fodder. Clemson was tougher. It was thought Mississippi would give the Colonels an opportunity to give the reserves game experience. The 4th opponent Virginia Tech, would provide sufficient competition to get the Colonels "battle-hardened." And then it was Harvard. The schedule was made out very precisely to prepare for the trip to the East and the game on October 21.
Mississippi had opened with a weak showing against a weak opponent, Union College, from Jackson, Tennessee. Neither team could score a point in what had been a rather listless performance.
In the weeks leading up to the game, Red Roberts had worked hard to get his weight down. He had ballooned up to 248 pounds during the summer. By the first week of October, he weighed in at 225.
Parallel to his loss of 23 pounds was his gain in speed. On the Thursday prior to the Ole Miss game, Uncle Charlie lined up the entire team for a 100 yard dash. When the linemen complained, he let them have a 10 yard lead and then blew the whistle.
Tackle Howard Lynch came in first, followed by Tom Bartlett. Ed Kubale barely nipped Red for 3rd.
The fact that the big All-American could come in a close 4th showed how hard he had trained in getting ready for Harvard, and he looked trim and quick against Ole Miss.
Ole Miss lived up to their lack of prowess and reputation by being wiped out by Centre, 55-0, never getting one first down.
The Boston "Globe" ran a story on the Centre-Mississippi game
Hope Hudgins ran for 80 yards and a touchdown, the longest run of the game.
Centre subbed freely, with the entire 27 man squad seeing action, and in the last quarter, 10 subs played the entire 15 minutes.
The only Colonel to play the entire 60 minutes was Ben Cregor, and it was old Baldy who supplied some unwitting fun for Uncle Charlie and the team.
Red and Covey consulted with Uncle Charlie on the sideline and the coach laughed and said, "Do it!"
In the huddle, Red said, "Baldy, you're playing your usual great game. I want you to score a touchdown now that we're close to the goal. You take over the fullback slot and we'll open some holes and you can get some points."
The ball was on the Mississippi 8 yard line when the Colonels lined up, 1st and goal.
Kubale centered the ball to Cregor and the Centre front wall let the Ole Miss linemen charge forward untouched. Baldy lost 8.
It was 2nd down and 16 to score.
"Come on, you can do better than that! Take it in!"
Again, Cregor cleanly fielded the center, the linemen stepped aside, and the loss was 7 yards.
It was 3rd and 23 yards to the goal.
Everybody but Baldy was in on the scheme. The Centre bench screamed for Cregor to "get serious!"
"Baldy, this is your chance. Don't keep losing yardage. The goal is the other way!"
Red offered encouragement.
"Baldy, you can do it! You're looking good! You have great style. You just need to head that way," and Red pointed to the Colonels' goal, barely able to keep a straight face.
Red lined up the team for another "effort." He told Cregor to line up 10 yards behind Kubale and run it around the left end.
"Kube will lead you with his center pass so you can get a running start."
"Baldy" caught the ball on a dead run laterally, no one blocked, and he was brought down on the 33.
Three plays ands a loss of 25 yards!
As Cregor later recounted, "Red then told me we had to punt, and since I'd gotten us so far back, I would have to make the kick. I'd never punted the ball in my life, but I think my best effort carried about 10 yards, and I felt like I'd done a pretty good job!"
Hump Tanner, who had played minimally during the first two games due to an injury, was back in fine form and scored twice, as did Red. Other TD's were by Covington, Hope Hudgins, Bartlett and Snowday. Covey kicked a field goal, and Red and Lemon both were good on 2 extra points.
Centre was 3-0 and had outscored its opponents, 148-0.
In the last 3 years, during which they'd taken the field 24 times, little Centre College had blanked its opponents 19 times.
The Colonels were on a roll, again.
The only worry after the game was that Bill Shadoan and Minos Gordy still hadn't heard about their request of having their eligibility restored.