Chapter 98

Back To Danville

When the team was leaving the locker room to head back to the Lenox to get ready for the return home, Coach Bob Fisher sought out Red Roberts and told him how much he appreciated the play of Centre, and how proud Red should be that he was the captain of such a wonderful group of young men. 

"Red, I'd consider it an honor to have you as Harvard's guest for our game with Yale down in New Haven on November 25th."

Red checked with Uncle Charlie who was standing nearby.

"We don't play that weekend," Uncle Charlie said, "We don't play until the following Thursday against South Carolina."

Coach Fisher continued, "We'd like you to sit on our bench. There's no better seat in the Yale Bowl!"

Howard Reynolds overheard the conversation.

"Red, the 'Post' will pay your expenses if you'll write your impressions of the game for our paper."

Uncle Charlie indicated by a smile and nod that Red should go.

On the morning of November 22nd, the big redhead from Somerset, Kentucky took the train to Boston and joined the Crimson team for the trip to New Haven. He did indeed sit on the bench, and he wrote a bylined article for the "Post."

The Crimson defeated the Elis, 10-3.

The team left for Danville late Saturday evening, their spirits raised by another boisterous sendoff from the Southern contingent in Boston, and the hundreds of locals who had grown to admire, even love, the boys from the Bluegrass.

Everybody hated to leave Tom Bartlett behind in a Boston hospital, but they said he was better off in a big city where he could get the care he needed. The only good thing for me was that I got to sleep in a bunk in the Pullman on the way back, One of the players took Tom's lower berth, and I slept above.

While the guys hated to lose, they were most concerned that Terry Snowday and Herb Covington not feel bad about the fumbles. Red came up to Covey and told him we'd have lost by 30 if it hadn't been for his play, and he was right. Herb Covington was everywhere, especially in the 2nd half, and kept us in the game.

The train went west through the night, crossing Massachusetts and New York and arriving at Niagara Falls in the early afternoon. In what had become a Centre ritual, there was another afternoon spent at the great, natural wonder.

Roscoe Conklin Breckinridge had again accompanied the team in 1922 but didn't perform at the half. While on the platform at Niagara's station, he was interviewed and a memorable quote made the next day's papers.

I'm in favoah of doing away with the fust period. Make it only three quatahs. Call the staht in on the second, and my boys will win every game they play.

Roscoe had pretty well summarized the game.

The team spent the day at the Falls, returned to their Pullman and pulled out toward Cleveland at 7:00 P.M. Sunday evening. Once again, as in previous years, they hooked onto another southbound New York Central passenger train at Cleveland, were coupled onto the Southern's Royal Palm in Cincinnati, stopping briefly in Lexington where they were greeted by fans, and arrived back home in Danville, right on schedule, at 10:55 A.M, Monday, October 23.

George Joplin had accompanied the Colonels on the trip in his capacity as a reporter for the "Messenger" and Louisville "Herald."

It was another memorable reception, as wild and boisterous as those of the previous years.


With hearts full of respect and gratitude, one-third of population of Danville met the Centre College Colonels at the Southern Station when they arrived at 10:55 this morning. Businessmen closed the doors of their stores, public schools closed, Kentucky College for Women and Centre dismissed their classes, and the student bodies moved to the station.

When Captain Roberts stepped from the special Centre sleeper, followed by other Romans of the gridiron, a mighty shout went up from the throng.

It was mighty sweet music to the ears of the players, for down in their hearts, every one of them was feeling blue. They had set their hearts on beating Harvard and had bent every effort in that direction. Fate has played some cruel pranks on the Gold and White this autumn, and thrown Centre for several losses. The fine spirit shown by the home folks paralleled that "never-give-up spirit" exhibited by Captain Roberts' men in Harvard Stadium Saturday. Win or lose, Danville is behind Centre and this fact was convincingly impressed upon the minds of the gridders today.

There was another parade away from the station, the team riding in specially decorated cars, the Centre "Six" playing and leading the throng. The sidewalks for the several blocks to Main Street were lined with cheering spectators who then joined in behind the cars and moved to the yard in front of the old Boyle County Courthouse.

Dr. M.A. Hart, pastor of the Christian Church, spoke on behalf of those who welcomed their heroes home.

The "Cardinals" were the upcoming opponents for the following week's game with Louisville 

Dr. Hart continued-

Fumbles may be unfortunate in games or in life, but they are not unforgivable in either.

The crowd cheered for several long minutes after that remark by the minister. As soon as Reverend Hart sat down, Hump rose and spoke.

"We have always played as a team. If we have done well, it is to the team's credit, not to one individual. If we have lost, again it is the team. If we make a long run, all of the team made it possible. And if we fumble, again, it is not an individual who has fumbled, it is the team."

Uncle Charlie stood and surveyed the crowd, and then looked back at his boys, and particularly Hump. It was like the moment when he was holding practice on the wet field in Los Angeles, and the reporter described his action and comments when the team ran a formation to perfection.

Occasionally, when the boys pulled a circus play that seemed impossible, they got a dram of praise.

"Well!" Uncle Charlie would exclaim in an umpire's whisper that would shake the goalposts.


Uncle Charlie, his eyes glistening, stood for the longest time, composing himself.

"Well!" he finally said.