Lining Them Up
Under the welter of Varsity publicity, Harvard's Jayvee football teams don't rate much attention in an average fall. That people are talking about this year's Junior Varsity is a reflection of an unusual team with an unusual record, and more than that, of a squad with a unique outlook on athletics in this professionalized world of 1946.
The record of the team starts you wondering how it got that way--four wins in four contests is the total so far, with 129 points tallied against four bootless (and scoreless) opponents. But the record, as those on the inside would testify, doesn't tell the whole story by a longshot.
Part one of the inner circle's secrets is Chief Boston, or Clarence as he was known at birth. Chief claims no compact with the fates, no Demosthenesian tongue between the halves or elsewhere--but the inspiration is there nonetheless, and it starts with the coach. Boston is a player's coach, a believer in teaching by doing, and a teacher who knows how to do.
He knows from experience, having held down the blocking back post on one of Dick Harlow's better outfits, the 1937 team that starred spinning Vern Struck at fullback. Watching him for an afternoon out at practice makes you wonder why he was a blocking back. Chief plays the star back on all the replicas of opposing teams that Harlow sets up for his mid-week drills; and when his Jayvee charges don't do things the way Chief wants, he shows them--and they love it.
The rest of this team's inspiration comes from some hidden source that even a month of observation cannot discover. It's more fun than a game to watch Boston's boys practice--they yell, they drive, they cheer when someone catches a pass or gets off a good kick. They look, in other words, like some people out for a good time, with a little exercise thrown in on the side.
All of this pays off in a rugged, if slightly ragged eleven. Featuring a line as heavy as the Varsity's, one that holds its opponents to even less yardage than does Harlow's, and a passing combination that is the envy of all who see it, the Jayvees are more like an average peace-time Varsity eleven than the coaching staff would like to admit.
The Dave Farrell to Bill Fitz passing team is the natural, but there are other stars. Tom Wilson is a runner like Farrell, but he kicks, too. Fullback Pete Fuller, son of a former Massachusetts governor, is a piledriver who is an outstanding amateur boxer and wrestler in his spare time. And you can't forget double-duty Bucky Harrison, sure-footed placement specialist and T formation quarterback.
On the ends are Fitz and Dana Bresnahan, another rangy pass-snatcher, with huge Ossie Keever and Jack Chilcott holding down the tackle slots. Gordy Stensrud and Frank Powell are at the guard posts, while Charlie Loring and Bob Grady have shared the center spot through the season. Behind the first team, too, lies a host of able reserves.
Unlike the Varsity situation, next year's story will be a different one for Boston's team. With three seniors and three juniors on the starting eleven, the Jayvees cannot look to the future with the same hope as Harlow's freshman-laden Varsity.
This afternoon Boston's boys will be facing its almost traditional foe, Henry Lamar's freshman team, weakened this year by the veteran freshman rule. After today comes only Tufts, Maritime, and Yale--then, if there were a Junior Varsity Rose Bowl. . . . .