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tBBC Sunday Morning Coffee: October 15, 1916


Sunday Morning Coffee: October 15, 1916
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


The wind whistled sharply as the sun began to rise on this crisp Sunday morning. John Wilce rolled over from his slumber, having not slept well at all. His night had been dominated with recalling the day before. It had indeed been an event.

“Coffee?” He whispered to his sleeping wife, Minerva, who had the blanket over her head in an attempt to warm herself from the frigid temperature of the early frost and cooling weather.

“Yeah that’ll be nice. Slap some blocks in the burner too. I am freezing.” She squeaked from beneath the covers.

John laughed as he pushed himself up, leaning above her covered body. “Anything for my little princess!” He kissed the blanket where he believed her head would be.

He slipped on a trench coat slung over a chair next to the door of their room. She was right. It was rather cold.

In the preparation of making a pot of coffee he simply could not rid the remembrances of the day before. He tilted his head sideways as he slipped on his rounded spectacles. A smile overcame him, rather mischievously.

The day before his team, The Ohio State University Buckeyes, over off High Street between Woodruff and 17th Street, at Ohio Field, put on some show. Word had to be nationwide now. He was certain of it. The telegraph he had always surmised was a wondrous invention, though depending upon the news, certainly an uninviting contraption as well. Oberlin come this morning would indeed be in camp of believing the telegraph was an intrusive nuisance.

The day was a cloudy and cool afternoon. The crowds were large – larger than John recalled ever seeing at any game. The stadium itself was at full capacity which bordered on 14,000. But the out-lining hills and roof-top spectators drove the number higher – much higher. John estimated at least 20,000, if not closer to 25,000. Football was coming into its own at The Ohio State University, as it had already exploded out East. It made him quite pleased.

The Buckeyes had scored on their first three offensive possessions. The young, well-touted, halfback out of Columbus’s East High School, Chic Harley, was all they said he was. He could run like the wind. He had total upper body strength which made tackling him above the waist more of a wrestling match that the tackler often lost out on. His leg strength was the most powerful John had ever witnessed in a kid before. Tackling him below the waist was a simple run-over. Chic would score those first three touch-downs. The first was tremendous – from the Buckeyes’ own thirty yard line – seventy yards out. John recalled the play was a pitch out to a flanked Chic. He snatched the toss and was gone. To John it looked as if no one had touched him. The second was more of a power drive from thirty-three yards out. Chic cuddled the ball in his belly and just steamrolled into the center of the line. Men much larger than him were mowed over and left looking up and behind them. The third touchdown was from six yards away from the end zone. It was a tad more dramatic. Fullback Dick Boesel had fumbled the ball as he plowed into the line. The ball zipped backwards in an awkward bounce before this magical kid, Chic, ran up to it, as if on cue, the ball leaping in to his hands as if on command, and he stood in the end zone holding the ball in the air before everyone even realized there had been a fumble. Even the referees, dazed momentarily, looked at one another before raising their arms to signal a touchdown.

Oberlin would be in for a long afternoon. The Buckeyes had 33 points by the end of the first quarter. At the half it would be 67-0 in the Buckeyes favor. Chic Harley would eventually score six touchdowns, and with his drop-kick extra points add another five points to his total. Halfback Fred Norton pounded out five touchdowns, the longest from 55-yards out. And fullback Dick Boesel would have four for himself.

The smell of coffee now filled the small kitchen. Minerva strolled into the room with the blanket wrapped around her. “Firewood?”

“Sorry!” He immediately fumbled through the stack alongside the wall, tossing them into the small wood burning stove. “Momentarily – my dear.”

“Coffee?” She smiled.

“That’ll be sooner.” He reached for two tin cups on a self above the stove.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!” Minerva sarcastically laughed.

“Yeah!” John knew the direction she was taking. “128-0 is a little over-kill…”

Minerva laughed loudly. “You think!”

“It just happened… ah…so quickly too.”

John was almost reluctant to see what the morning paper headlines would be. But he then realized he couldn’t be bothered by such trivial complexities. He had to prepare his team for their Western Conference opening the following Saturday against a strong Illinois team.

John and Minerva sipped their steaming cups of coffee enjoying their moment in their overly chilled house near The Ohio State University campus.

The post Sunday Morning Coffee: October 15, 1916 appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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