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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

That kick spelled disaster for Brimfield


"I

was scared stiff that Harry Walton would blab. I didn't dare look at him."

"Harry doesn't know you were with us. He recognised Don, or says he did, and he naturally thinks I was along, but he doesn't know who the other two were. If he opens his mouth I'll brain him."

"I guess he won't. He's a sort of a pup, but he isn't mean enough for that. Gee, but it almost ruined my appetite for breakfast!"

"Even if Josh did find out," said Tim as they turned into Wendell, "he wouldn't do much to us, I guess. It wasn't our fault the fire was late in getting started, and the paper calls us heroes----"

"I don't believe it does. That's some of Josh's nonsense. I'm going to get a copy of the _Times_ and see what it does say."

"Take my advice and let the _Times_ alone," advised Tim. "Why, I wouldn't be seen with a copy of it in my possession! It would be circumstantial evidence, or corroborative evidence or something horrid, and I'd get pinched for sure. You keep away from the _Times_, dearie."

There was a good deal of interested speculation as to the identity of the four youths who had participated in the rescue of Farmer Corrigan's dwelling, but the general opinion was to the effect that the local paper had erred. One fellow made the suggestion in Don's hearing that if faculty would look

it up and see who had leave of absence Saturday night they might spot the chaps. Don sincerely hoped the idea wouldn't occur to Mr. Fernald!

But interest in the matter soon waned, for Brimfield was to play Benton Military Academy that afternoon and what sort of a showing she would make against that very worthy opponent was a far more absorbing subject for speculation. Benton had been defeated handily enough last year, but reports from the military academy this Fall led Brimfield to expect a hard contest. And her expectations were fulfilled.

Benton brought at least a hundred neatly uniformed rooters along and the field took on a very gallant appearance. The visitors seemed gaily confident of victory and from the time they marched into the field and took their places in the stand until the kick-off there was no cessation of the songs and cheers from the blue-clad cohorts. Coach Robey started his best men in that game and, as was quickly proved, needed to. The first period was a bitterly contested punting duel in which Rollins, and, later, St. Clair came off second best. But the difference in the kicking of the rival teams was not sufficient to allow of much advantage, and the first ten-minute set-to ended without a score. In fact, neither team had been at any time within scoring distance of the other's goal line. When play began again Benton changed her tactics and started a rushing game that for a few minutes made headway. But a fumble cost her the ball and a possible score on the Maroon-and-Grey's twenty-yard line and the latter adopted the enemy's plan and banged at the soldiers' line for fair gains. A forward pass brought the spectators to their feet and gained twenty-two yards for Brimfield, Steve Edwards being on the receiving end of a very pretty play. But Benton stiffened presently and Brimfield was forced to kick.

That kick spelled disaster for Brimfield. Rollins dropped back to near his own thirty yards and sent a remarkable corkscrew punt to Benton's twenty. It was one of the prettiest punts ever seen on the Brimfield gridiron, for it was so long that it went over the quarter-back's head, so high that it enabled the Maroon-and-Grey ends to get well down under it and was nicely placed in the left-hand corner of the field. The Benton quarter made no effort to touch it while it was bounding toward the goal line, for with both Edwards and Holt hovering about him a fumble might easily have resulted, and it was only when the pigskin had settled down to a slow, toppling roll and it was evident that it did not mean to go over the line that the Benton quarter seized it. What happened then was little short of a miracle. Both Captain Edwards and Holt took it for granted that the quarter-back meant to drop on the ball and call it down, and, since there was no necessity to smother the opponent, each waited for the other to tackle and hold him. But the first thing anyone knew the Benton quarter had the ball in his hands, had squirmed somehow between Edwards and Holt and was speeding up the middle of the field!


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