Now that we have White headed to Georgia, we can now turn our attention to the important things. If I can press my recall button and dial up the 1930's, I'll attempt to describe what high school football was like back in the dark ages.
First, we didn't have a manicured field on which we played. Most often if was sand with a few sandspurs thrown in to add to our woes. One field had sand covering oyster shells and the shells had worked to the surface. Sometimes the baseball field and football field shared the same space. The pitcher's mound was leveled off but no grass grew on the hard red clay. We even played several games where the fog was so thick one could not see the other side of the field.
Rules and field layout were different. The goal post was on the goal line. When a play went out of bounds, there was no inbounds marker. The ball was placed so the team could line up in normal formation with the end just inside the sideline.
If a player, for any reason, came out of the game, he could not return until the next quarter. No player on the punting team could leave the line of scrimmage until the ball had been kicked. The QB called all of the plays on the field. The coach could not go on the field at any time. We played both ways, offense and defense.
Our uniforms were "hand-me-downs" and each player was responsible for washing his uniform. Our helmets were leather and we had no face masks. We had a lot of broken noses and face abrasions. Our cleats were hard rubber that were actually a lethal weapon. I still have a scar to remind me of one particular incident.
The ball was shaped more like a basketball than today's football. It didn't lend itself to a passing game.
We were not provided a meal for home or away games. We had to bring our own Crisco can filled with food from home. Our school paid the visiting team maybe as much as $15 - %20. One time we played Valdosta, GA at their school and we got a whopping $30. in exchange for a real "beat down".
That's just a rough sample of our high school football program but we sure did have a heck of a lot of fun.
We used three formations. The Single Wing was the favorite because we had a small, but speedy tailback. That gave us lots of blocking, including our pulling guards. The snap went directly to the tailback. If we needed a short yardage play, we moved a big guy (usually a lineman) to one of the RB spots and used the "T" formation. The QB didn't play directly under the center, but took a short snap from the center and then a handoff to one of the three backs. Once in awhile we used the "Split T", and, as the name implies, it was a variation of the "T". The "Notre Dame Box" was a favorite with several schools. We practiced it quite a bit but really did not use it much. Frankly, I don't remember much about the Notre Dame Box. The Single Wing was a thing of beauty and my favorite.
My uncle had a "nose guard" that he showed me. It basically
Jun 27, 2017, 7:45 PM
looked like a small ice cream sundae metal bowl and would fit over the nose. I have no idea how it stayed on. He also told me about "whipping" another player for momentum, where you would grab a ball carrier by the arm and whip him like a discus thrower. They outlawed that due to all the shoulder dislocations.
I never saw or even heard of the nose guard. The helmet in the picture looks like it was even before my time. The ones we had did have a few inside straps which were supposed to provide some protection. We could tighten up the straps somewhat to fit the size of our head but there was really not much protection compared to current helmets. The leather got wet from sweat and there was really no way to clean them thoroughly so we had a stinking helmet. We had one or two boys who normally wore glasses but with no face guard they could never wear glasses while playing. One time, one of the guys ran on the field as a substitute and then he came running back off the field. He had forgotten to take his glasses off.
One time we were in the "T" formation with the play designed to go over the right guard. The right guard was confused and thought the play was going around right end which called for him to pull. At the snap of the ball, when he pulled, the defensive guy came racing in, took the ball from our QB and raced untouched for a TD. Our coach, C. Aubrey Smith, was not a happy man.