|Early "foot ball" was half sport and half street riot.|
Come one! Come all! "To witness the greatest and latest sport to take place in Prescott for the first time..." (*1)
The exciting game of Foot Ball!
"The boys are practicing regularly for the game. In the day time, they practice in the plaza, while at night, they go through signals and receive instructions in the Scopel Block, so all lovers of good sport may expect an exciting game Sunday," (December 8th, 1895.) (*2)
"A small charge of fifty cents will be collected to help defray the expenses of the visiting team. It is hoped that a large crowd will be present." (*1)
There was an additional motivation: Prescott wanted "to win at least one sport from Phoenix before the year closes." (*3)
Everyone was excited for the big game.
|Early foot balls were round.|
A cheer, published in the Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner, gives insight into the spirit of the early game:
Song of the Foot Ballist
Line up, pass her back, keep the ends in check;
When the umpire's back is turned, slug 'em in the neck.
Paste a fellow when he's down, grind him with your boot;
Break his head if necessary--scoot, brother, scoot.
Tackle 'em below the knee, gouge him in the eye;
Kick him in the abdomen and leave 'em there to die.
Never mind a rib or two, smash a collar bone;
Sweeter than the sweetest music is a dying groan.
Mother sits up in the stand, anxious for her son;
She won't recognize her baby after we are done.
Slug him once again for luck, break his Grecian nose;
Make him lose an ear or to, amputate his toes.
Just another rally, boys; give it to them hot;
Lay 'em out upon the sword just as soon as not.
See we're almost over now, yonder is the goal;
Kill him if you must, and Lord have mercy on his soul! (*4)
"The Phoenix players arrived on the 2:30 train...and were met by the Prescott team (who) escorted (them) to Hotel Burke. Shortly afterwards (both teams) left for the grid iron. On the way over, there were numerous 'Rah! Rah! Rah's!!!' of the different teams." (*5)
The first half was a defensive struggle. Prescott played extremely well considering they were out-weighed 155 lbs. to 175 lbs. per man! Prescott relied more on the kicking game, while Phoenix grinded-out runs of "3 yards and a cloud of dust."
Prescott did have a chance at a field goal, but missed. The first-half ended in a scoreless tie.
The crowd had become as unruly as the play. "Many of the visiting foot ball people complain that the boisterous language...was too severe and uncalled for. Probably they are right," the newspaper confessed, "but what can anyone expect from a howling and insane mob, when it comes to kicking the English language over the goal line so indiscriminately?" (*6)
ALSO ENJOY: Entertainment in Prescott a Century Ago
Insights into how citizens of Prescott enjoyed themselves a century ago--including animal fights.
The second half started with the same back and forth defensive play, when finally, "the ball was surrendered to Phoenix and by small gains, they brought it to Prescott's 15 yard line." With exceptional blocking on the next play, Phoenix took the "ball around left end for (a) touch down. Phoenix missed goal, score 4-0." (*5)
The next time Phoenix had possession, the result was the same, making it 8-0. That was the final score.
Although there was supposed to be a charge of fifty cents per person, this evidently, was not strictly enforced. For some reason, the crowd of 300 only produced a gate of $50. (*6)
Little did they know that a quarter-century later, Tom Campbell would be the second Governor of the State of Arizona.
Going winless against Phoenix in 1895 was a disappointment for Prescott. "The Phoenix boys speak handsomely of Prescott. They should do so, of course, because they invariably get anything and everything they come up for," the paper lamented, "(at least) the plaza is still intact!" (*6)
Fortunately, Prescott did win a rematch in 1897 and the pride of the city was restored.
Prescott's jerseys did not arrive until 17 days after the game (on Christmas morning.) The paper described them as "a very pretty cardinal with a blue diamond." (*7)
The jerseys must have been extremely good looking. For although Phoenix failed to pilfer our plaza, they did end up copping our color!
Did you know that the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame is located in Prescott?
CLICK HERE for information on the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame
Note: Back in the 19th century, Phoenix was often spelled "Phenix." For the sake of clarity, the author changed the spelling to its modern form in this article.
(*1) Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner 12/11/1895 pg. 3 col. 2
(*2) IBID Pg. 3 col. 3
(*3) IBID pg. 3 col. 1
(*4) Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; 12/18/1895 Pg. 1 col. 6
(*5) Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner 12/11/1895 Pg. 1 col. 8
(*6) IBID Pg. 3 Col. 5
(*7) Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner 12/25/1895 Pg. 3, Col. 4
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