Chapter 110

October 6, 1923   Centre vs. Carson-Newman

Uncle Charlie's wife and his daughter-in-law, Tom's wife, both came up from Horse Cave to the game. The understanding among those who knew that the father and son were facing each other was that Pearl, Uncle Charlie's wife, wanted Centre to win, "but not by too much."

It was a disappointment to the Centre coach that he couldn't get to Danville from Cincinnati in time for the game. The kickoff was delayed, but even at that, his train arrived after the action was over.

The inaugural game for the new stadium was played on a gorgeous, early fall day. There was a big crowd, anxious not only to see the Colonels in action, but many of the fans arrived early and walked out on the field, around the track, under the stands, climbed to the top of the stadium to "get the view," admired the new scoreboard, and all shared Uncle Charlie's sentiment upon first seeing his creation that it was, "Wonderful. Marvelous. Wonderful. Marvelous."

Centre was going to start 9 lettermen, with only two men who had moved into the lineup being from the 1922 freshman team. Albert Spurlock at left half, and Walter Skidmore at left tackle, were the newcomers. George Chinn, the young man who had played so well in 1920 but missed much of 1921 and 1922 due to injuries, was back in good form and playing in the left guard slot. Chinn had filled out to a solid 210 pounds.

Right end       Minos Gordy           Junior       5' 10"     185
Right tackle   Howard Lynch        Junior       5' 10"     195
Right guard   Frank Rubarth        Junior       5' 11"      177
Center             Ed Kubale                Junior       6'            185
Left guard      George Chinn          Senior       5' 11"      210
Left tackle      Walter Skidmore    Soph.        5' 11"      170
Left end          Hennie Lemon        Junior      5' 10"     170
Quarterback  Herb Covington      Junior       5'   5"      155
Left half          Albert Spurlock       Soph.        5' 10"     185
Fullback         Case Thomasson     Junior       6'            175
Right half       Hope Hudgins         Junior       5'  7"      152

The line averaged 185 lbs., the backfield 167 lbs., and the team average was 178 lbs.

The crowd was warmed up by the Centre "Six" which set up along the west side stands and began playing some 30 minutes prior to the 2:30 P.M. kickoff.

Besides the musicians entertaining the crowd, "Rabbit" Abbott, the Carson-Newman right halfback, put on an exhibition which brought a lot of "ooh's" and "aah's" from the crowd. "Rabbit" could pass, punt and dropkick equally well from either his left or right side. He'd fire a pass 30 yards with his left arm, and then another perfect spiral with his right. He'd kick left and right, so effortlessly and naturally that no one could decide if he had a preferred "sidedness," as one spectator expressed it.

Centre had made extra efforts to make Tom Moran and his team and fans feel welcome. Cars were lined up to bring everyone to the new stadium from the Gilcher. The ladies had been given corsages made in the team's colors of orange and blue. Everybody stood and cheered when a smiling Tom, waving to the crowd, led his team onto the field.


Tom Moran, Uncle Charlie's son and the coach,  ( 11 ) is far left, second row. "Rabbit" Abbott, the ambidextrous halfback, ( 33 ) is far right, first row. 

The pundits had made Centre the favorite by 6 touchdowns. Pearl, Uncle Charlie's wife, got her wish that Centre win, "but not by much." Her son's team played tough and intelligently, much as Tom had been taught in playing under and studying his father's way of coaching.

Centre scored once in the 1st quarter when, 10 minutes into the game, Case Thomasson scored on a short plunge after a long drive, Hennie Lemon kicked the extra point, and that was all of the scoring in the first half which ended, 7-0.

Carson-Newman got to the Colonels 4 yard line late in the 2nd quarter but Centre dug in and held and ran out the clock.

The 3rd quarter was scoreless, and in the last period, Herb Covington scored after another significant drive, Lemon was good again, and the game ended, 14-0.

"Rabbit" Abbott didn't score holding the ball with his left or right arm, didn't throw a pass with either, didn't kick a field goal from starboard or port, but he did punt very effectively. There was no mention with which foot.

Captain John Hutchins, the "Fighting Parsons" fullback, played a tremendous game, hurling his 190 lb. body against the Colonels' front wall time after time. It was agreed by all that if he'd had more blocking from his line, he could have been a decisive factor.

The 14-0 win was obviously a far less impressive showing than the 72-0 thrashing of Carson-Newman in 1922. While it was a win, the score left the followers of the Gold and White somewhat concerned about what the future held. It was a statement about how far Centre had come since 1917.

"We only won by 14-0," conveyed a bit of disappointment. Centre's fans had come to expect to win, and to win in a convincing manner. Reading the stats revealed that Centre was more in control than the score may indicate, running up 14 first downs to but 5 for Carson-Newman.

Centre's overwhelming wins had created such expectations that a 14-0 shutout seemed disappointing.

Centre also played rather conservatively, knowing there was a Clemson scout in the stands. However, the simple fact was that the game was a real contest because Tom Moran had done an excellent job in preparing his team for its game in with the Colonels.

Shocking news reached Danville on Monday morning following the Carson-Newman game. The University of Kentucky had traveled to Cincinnati for a Saturday afternoon game with the University of Cincinnati while Centre and Carson-Newman were squaring off. UK won, 14-0.

Price Innes McLean, a 20 year old center, had suffered a blow to the head during the contest but seemed to be alright and returned to Lexington with the team on Saturday night. Sunday morning he complained of a headache and by noon had lost consciousness. He was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital where emergency surgery was performed, unsuccessfully.

A tragedy in Cincinnati

January 13, 1901-October 7, 1923

Looking at the situation in retrospect, it would seem that McLean suffered a traumatic subdural hematoma, a blood clot on the brain, which in today's more sophisticated medical environment is usually successfully treated if a CT scan is obtained in a timely manner, and the clot evacuated and bleeding controlled. However, in 1923, such an injury was often fatal.

The Centre team sent a large floral arrangement.

The following year, the new Kentucky football stadium was named for young Price Innes McLean, and the Wildcats' facility was known as McLean Stadium at Stoll Field.