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other met in mid-field and seemed desirous
of engaging in battle before the real contest
But now the two teams came in sight and
were greeted by thunderous and inspiring
cheers from every side.
Cradley, notwithstanding his disinclination
to play, had his objections overruled, and was
among their number. He had not heard
from home in the meanwhile, and was in a
most dejected mood in consequence, But
he bit his lip, and started in to play with a
dogged determination that meant danger to
any one who opposed him.
After a little preliminary practice, the two
teams were drawn up and time was called.
They proved to be pretty evenly matched.
Tug and strain as they might, neither seemed
to be able to gain the advantage of the other.
Hammer and tongs at it they went. Now
they would be all down in a heap in the
centre of the field, then they would rush
wildly towards the end in pursuit of the ball,
only to follow it back again, propelled by the
foot of some sturdy athlete who had been
stationed there for that very purpose.
At last amid the most intense excitement
the three-quarters of an hour came to a close,
and the first half ended, Six to six the score
stood. Each side had made a touchdown
and kicked a goal.
After a short rest, to work they went again,
Now this way, now that; the eye could
scarcely follow the flying legs and swinging
arms of the contending athletes. To and fro
they shoved each other, and for a long time
the outcome was doubtful, but finally the
Pittston team amid the most tremendous
hurrahing succeeded in making a touchdown.
No goal resulted,
But soon they were lined up again and as
hard at it as at any time before. But five
minutes of time yet remained. Would the
Burkely team succeed in tieing the score, or
perhaps advancing it in their own favor ?
THE FREE LANCE.
Steadily they were pushing the Pittston boys
backwards into their territory.
Suddenly Burkely’s .huge half-back was
seen emerging from a scrimmage with the
Cradley, who was back of his line, saw him
come tearing down the field towards him
with the ball snugly tucked under his arm.
His mind was still influenced by gloomy
“ Let him go,” was the first impulse that
flashed through him ; “do not try to stop
him ; you’ll. get hurt; somebody else will
But no, that man must be stopped and no
body else is near him.
He dashes to the side to intercept him.
Faster, faster, he can never intercept him.
The goal posts loom up before him, But a
few yards now intervene from the fated line.
Can he ever ever make it ? Ah, that spurt
brings him close. He makes the spring.
He has him ; he can tell by his grip, Down
they go with a thud just an infinitesimal dis
tance, it seems to him, from the line. From
that instant he knows no more.
When he came to himself he was lying in
his own comfortable bed. A dull ringing
pain was in his head, and his limbs ached all
over. Thurston, Hatley and others were
“ Glad to see you come around, old boy !”
exclaimed Thurston, smilingly; “ knocked
senseless, you know, but with the exception
of a sprained ankle and a general shaking up
the doctor says you’ll be about all right in a
day or two. Yes, I know, you would inquire
about the result of the game. You saved
the day for us. Final score ten to six. They
went home like a pack of whipped sheep.”
It is rather probable that Thurston exag
gerated this last statement in his enthusiasm,
but Cradley had no time to ponder over it,,
for the others crowded around to congratu