Football's Fourth Season Under Reins of Head Coach Harlow Gets Under Way September 9 for Earliest Start Since War
Best Attended Spring Practice Bodes for Optimism As Gridmen Start Grind
Two years ago Harvard's first great football team since the days of Barry Wood went into the closing minutes of the Princeton game trailing 14-7. All afternoon it had stubbornly battled the fast. Crislor machine on almost even terms. With but a couple of minutes to play Harvard had the ball just inside Tiger territory, and the long pass was called.
Quarterback Oakes took the ball, faded back, and sent a forty-yard pass into the air. Bob Stuart, fastest Harlow back, had only the safety man to boat. The pass went just out of reach of that Nassau safety man, and Stuart clutched it, juggled it for a second, as he nestled it in his arms, and crossed the goal line standing up. Russ Allen was called back from the line to boot the ball squarely between the uprights to tie the game and put Harvard football where it belonged.
At New Haven that year it was almost the same story, only the Crimson team trailed 14-0 in the fourth quarter. This time it was George Ford who ran wild in the closing minutes, and this time the point which would have tied the game was missed by Vernon Struck. The game was a disappointment, but it was only a temporary one in the forward march of Harvard football.
Two Tough Ones
Last year there were also temporary disappointments. An amazingly fast Big Green team from the hills of Hanover outsloshed the Harlowmen on a muddy field and won 20-2. An inferior Army team triumphed 7-6, when Harvard's injury-riddled eleven pushed them all over the gridiren but lacked the key men to score.
Then there was the Princeton game, the game before the Cadet headache. It was gridiron justice that Vernon Struck, Harvard's great spinning back from Contralia, Illinois, should wipe out all memories of missing the crucial point at Yale the year before by playing a truly sensational game to lead the team to a 34-6 victory.
Harvard vs. Frank
All-American Clint Frank brought his undefeated Elis to Soldiers Field last year with the knowledge that the toughest encounter of their schedule awaited them. The Crimson opened early when end Don Daughtern took a flat pass in the end zone to register. In the third period the Frank attack unfolded. Down the field marched the Elis to deadlock the score at 6-6.
A punt over the goal line gave Harvard the ball on its own 20-yard stripe carly in the fourth quarter. The stage was set for an 80-yard march the like of which few Harvard men in the stands ever recalled. At least three of the plays would have been touchdown romps from long distances, but on each occasion Frank, playing all over the field, made the tackle. Then, from the 14-yard line, tailback Frank Foley started an end skirt which saw him outdash the exhausted Frank and cross the goal line standing up.
There were other games. One of the most spectacular games ever played on Soldiers Field was the Freshman game of this year's Seniors the class of 1939. The Crimson lost, 21-19, but the regulars were beginning their four-year development, regulars like ends Bob Green and Don Daughters, tackle Ken Booth, centers Tim Russell and Rick Hedblom, backs Chief Boston, Frank Foley and Austie Harding, and Harlow's jack-of-all-trades, Cliff Wilson.
The linemen are always eclipsed when the team starts winning, and the last two years proved no exception to the rule. But one game last year, that with the Navy at Baltimore, tied at 0-0, should stand, if nothing else does, as a memorial to Harlow's best line which will pass into its fourth year this season.
Of course there will be the usual gaps and question-marks to be filled when Coach Dick calls out the gridmen Friday, Septembed 9, for the earliest starting date in Harvard's football history, made possible by the new Big Three agreement, although criticized by Yale.
Gaps and '?'s
First and foremost is the question of finding a new spinning back, key man of the Harlow offense. Vernon Struck will be there, fresh from experience in the All-Star game, in which he and guard Joe Nee, also from the class of 1938, were chosen to participate. But Struck cannot be used again; he will be in a backfield coaching capacity.
A gap exists also in the guard ranks, with the graduation of Allen, Nee and Klein. Question-marks are Chief Boston, out of spring practice due to illness and an appendix operation, center Tim Russell, injured practically all of last season, and Torby MacDonald, sensational wingback, who took the place of the injured Bob Stuart last year, but who has been harassed by leg-trouble since.
Healey Ready to Go
The graduation of Alex Kevorkian, man-mountain tackle, is not as crucial as at first appears, for Tom Healey, 205-pound baseball pitcher, lacks only experience to become a steady fixture. Spring practice proved that the other tackle position will be no problem with Mose Hallett as a reliable understudy to Ken Booth, who has for three years proved himself as smart and steady a tackle player as exists in the east.
Captain-elect Green will flank Healey, while Daughters will stand next to Booth. Give Daughters the pass-catching edge and Green the blocking edge; both are heady defensive players. Win Jameson, another veteran wing, should prove one capable relief; the other remains in doubt.
Now we come to Wilson. For three years he has been shifted from blocking back, to center, to guard, and back again. It is a tribute to his ability that he has stood the test. This year looks like the same thing for him, and spring practice bore this out.
If Russell and Hedblom are unable to make the grade at center for any reason, then Wilson will be needed there. If Russell or Hedblom becomes a fixture, however, as looks highly probable at this writing, then Wilson will fit in at guard, with Dave Glueck holding down the other guard position. Fortunately, spring practice brought out several promising guardsmen from this year's Sophomores.
Backfield No Cinch to Pick
Here we are back at the start of our gaps. Struck? Well, Ben Smith looked as if he might be the real thing. There is also George Downing. The first few