H. Irving Hancock.

The High School Captain of the Team Dick & Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard online

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Produced by Jim Ludwig




THE HIGH SCHOOL CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM

or Dick & Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard

By H. Irving Hancock




CONTENTS

CHAPTERS
I. "Kicker" Drayne Revolts
II. A Hint from the Girls
III. Putting the Tag on the Sneak
IV. The Traitor Gets His Deserts
V. "Brass" for an Armor Plate
VI. One of the Fallen
VII. Dick Meets the Boy-With-A-Kick
VIII. Dick Puts "A Better Man" in His Place
IX. Could Dave Make Good?
X. Leading the Town to Athletics
XI. The "King Deed" of Daring
XII. The Nerve of the Soldier
XIII. Dick Begins to Feel Old
XIV. Fordham Plays the Gentleman's Game
XV. "We'll Play the Gentleman's Game
XVI. Gridley's Last Charge
XVII. The Long Gray Column
XVIII. The Would-Be Candidates
XIX. Tom Reade Bosses the Job
XX. When the Great News was Given Out
XXI. Gridley Seniors Whoop It Up
XXII. The Message From the Unknown
XXIII. The Plight of the Innocent
XXIV. Dave Gives Points to the Chief of Police
XXV. Conclusion




CHAPTER I

"Kicker" Drayne Revolts


"I'm going to play quarter-back," declared Drayne stolidly.

"You?" demanded Captain Dick Prescott, looking at the aspirant
in stolid wonder.

"Of course," retorted Drayne. "It's the one position I'm best
fitted for of all on the team."

"Do you mean that you're better fitted for that post than anyone
else on the team?" inquired Prescott. "Or that it's the position
that best fits your talents?"

"Both," replied Drayne.

Dick Prescott glanced out over Gridley High School's broad athletic
field.

A group of the middle men of the line, and their substitutes,
had gathered around Coach Morton.

On another part of the field Dave Darrin was handling a squad
of new football men, teaching how to rush in and tackle the swinging
lay figure.

Still others, under Greg Holmes, were practicing punt kicks.

Drayne's face was flushed, and, though he strove to hide the fact,
there was an anxious look there.

"I didn't quite understand, Drayne," continued the young captain
of the team, "that you were to take a very important part this
year."

"Pshaw! I'd like to know why I'm not," returned the other boy
hotly.

"I think that is regarded as being the general understanding,"
continued Dick. He didn't like this classmate, yet he hated to
give offense or to hurt the other's feelings in any way.

"The general understanding?" repeated Drayne hotly. "Then I can
tell the man who started that understanding."

"I think I can, too," Prescott answered, smiling patiently.

"It was you, Dick Prescott! You, the leader of Dick & Co., a
gang that tries to boss everything in the High School!

"Cool down a bit," advised young Prescott coolly. "You know well
enough that the little band of chums who have been nicknamed Dick
& Co. don't try to run things in the High School. You know, too,
Drayne, if you'll be honest about it, that my chums and I have
sometimes sacrificed our own wishes to what seemed to be the greatest
good of the school."

"Then who is the man who has worked to put me on the shelf in
football?" insisted the other boy, eyeing Dick menacingly.

"Yourself, Drayne!"

"What are you talking about?" cried Drayne, more angry than before.

"Don't be blind, Drayne," continued the young captain. "And don't
be silly enough to pretend that you don't know just what I mean.
You remember last Thanksgiving Day?"

"Oh, that?" said Drayne, contemptuously. "Just because I wouldn't
do just what you fellows wished me to do?

"I was there," pursued Captain Prescott, "and I heard all that
was said, saw all that was done. There was nothing unreasonable
asked of you. Some of the fellows were a good bit worried as
to whether you were really in shape for the game, and they talked
about it among themselves. They didn't intend you to over hear,
but you did, and you took offense. The next thing we knew, you
were hauling off your togs in hot temper, and telling us that
you wouldn't play. You did this in spite of the fact that we
were about to play the last and biggest game of the season."

"I should say I wouldn't play, under such circumstances! Nor
would you, Prescott, had the same thing happened to you."

"I have had worse things happen to me," replied Dick coolly.
"I have been hectored to pieces, at times, both on the baseball
and football teams. The hectoring has even gone so far that I
have had to fight, more than once. But never sulked in dressing
quarters and refused to go on the field."

"No!" taunted Drayne. "And a good reason why. You craved to
get out, always, and make grand stand plays!"

"I suppose I'm as fond of applause from the grand stand as any
other natural fellow," laughed Dick good-humoredly. "But I'll
tell you one thing, Drayne: I never hear a murmur of what comes
from the grand stand until the game is over. I play for the success
of the team to which I belong, and listening to applause would
take my mind off the plays. But, candidly, what the fellows have
against you, is that you're a quitter. You throw down your togs
at a critical moment, and tell us you won't play, just because
your fearfully sensitive feelings have been hurt. Now, a sportsman
doesn't do that."

"Oh, it's all right for you to take on that mighty superior air,
and try to lecture me," retorted Drayne gruffly.

"I'm not lecturing you. But the fellows chose me to lead the
team this year, and the captain is the spokesman of the team.
He also has to attend to its disagreeable business. Don't blame
me, Drayne, and don't blame anyone else - - -"

"Captain Prescott!" sounded the low, but clean-cut, penetrating
voice of Mr. Morton, submaster and football coach of the Gridley
High School.

"Coming, sir!" answered Dick promptly.

Then he added, to Drayne:

"Just blame your own conduct for the decision that was reached
by coach and myself after listening to the instructions of the
alumni Athletics Committee."

Dick moved away at a loping run, for football practice was limited
to an hour and a half in an afternoon, and he knew there was
no time to be frittered.

"Oh, you sneak!" quivered Drayne, clenching his hands as he scowled
at the back of the captain. "It was you who brought up the old
dispute. It is you who are keeping me from any decent chance
this last year of mine in the High School. I won't stand it!
I'll shake the dust from my feet on this crowd. I won't remain
in the squad, just for a possible chance to sub in some small
game!"

His face still hot with what he considered righteous indignation,
Drayne felt better as soon as he had decided to shake the crowd.

In an instant, however, he changed his mind. A sly, exultant
look came into his eyes.

"On second thought I believe I won't quit," he grinned to himself.
"I'll stay - -I'll drill - -and I'll get good and square with this
cheap crowd, captained by a cheap man! Gridley hasn't lost a
game in years. Well, you chaps shall lose more than one game
this year! I'll teach you! I'll make this a year that shall
never be forgotten by humbled Gridley pride!"

Just what Phin Drayne was planning will doubtless be made plain
ere long.

Readers of the preceding volumes in this series are already familiar
with nearly all the people, young and old, of both sexes, whom
they are now to meet again. In the first volume, "_The High School
Freshmen_," our readers became acquainted with Dick Prescott,
Dave Darrin, Greg Holmes, Dan Dalzell, Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton,
six young chums who, back in their days in the Central Grammar
School Gridley, had become fast friends, and had become known
as Dick & Co.

These chums played together, planned together, entered all sports
together. They were inseparable. All were manly young fellows.
When they entered Gridley High School, and caught the fine High
School spirit prevailing there, they made the honor of the school
even more important than their own companionship.

In the first year at High School the boys, being mere freshmen, could
not expect to enter any of the school's athletic teams. Yet,
as our readers know, Dick and his friends found many a quiet way
to boost local interest and pride in High School athletics. Dick
& Co. also indulged in many merry and startlingly novel pranks.
Dick secured an amateur position as space reporter on "The Blade,"
the morning newspaper of the little city, and was assigned, among
other things, to look after the news end of the transactions of
the Board of Education. The "influence" that young Prescott secured
in that way doubtless saved him from having grave trouble, or
being expelled when, owing to Dr. Thornton's ill-health, Abner
Cantwell, a man with an uncontrollable temper, came temporarily
to the principal's chair. To everybody's great delight, at the
beginning of this their senior year, Dr. Thornton had returned
to his position fully restored to his former vigor and health.

In "_The High School Pitcher_" Dick & Co., then sophomores, were
shown in some fine work with the Gridley High School nine, and
Dick had serious, even dangerous, Trouble, with mean, treacherous
enemies that he made.

In "_The High School Left End_," Dick & Co., juniors, made their
real entrance into High School athletics by securing places in
the school football eleven. It was in this year that there occurred
the famous strife between the "soreheads" and their enemies, whom
the former termed the "muckers." The "soreheads" were the sons
of certain aristocratic families who resolved to secede from football
in case any of the members of Dick & Co. or of other poor Gridley
families, were allowed to make places on the team. As the group
of "soreheads" contained a few young men who were really absolutely
necessary to the success of the Gridley High School football eleven,
the strife threatened to put Gridley in the back row as far as
football went.

But Dick, with his characteristic vigor, went after the "soreheads"
in the columns of "The Blade." He covered them with ridicule
and scorn so that the citizens of the town began to take a hand
in the matter as soon as their public pride was aroused.

The "soreheads" were driven, then, to apply for places in the
football squad. Only those most needed, however, had been admitted,
and the rest had retired in sullen admission of defeat.

Two of the latter, Bayliss and Bert Dodge, carried matters so
far, however, that they were actually forced out of the High School
and left Gridley to go to a preparatory school elsewhere.

The hostile attempts of young Ripley, of Dodge, Drayne and others
to injure Dick & Co. have been fully related in the four volumes
of the "_High School Boys' Vacation Series_." This series deals
with the good times enjoyed by Dick & Co. during their first
three summers as high school boys. These stories are replete
with summer athletics, and a host of exciting adventures. The
four volumes of this Vacation Series are published under the titles:
"_The High School Boys' Canoe Club_," "_The High School Boys in
Summer Camp_," "_The High School Boys Fishing Trip_" and "_The
High School Boys' Training Hike_."

This present year no "sorehead" movement had been attempted.
Every student who honestly wanted to play football presented himself
at the school gymnasium, on the afternoon named by Coach Morton
for the call, including Drayne, who had been one of the original
"soreheads." Drayne afterwards returned to the football fold,
behaving with absurd childishness at the big Thanksgiving game,
as our readers will recall.

Leaving Coach Morton, Captain Prescott hurried away to take charge
of the practice.

"Come, Mr. Drayne!" called Coach Morton "Get into the tackling
work, and be sure to mix it up lively."

"Just a moment, coach, if you please," begged Drayne.

"Well, Drayne?" asked Mr. Morton

"Captain Prescott has just been telling me that I'm to be only
a sort of sub this year."

"Well, he's captain," replied the submaster.

"Huh! I thought it was all Prescott's fine work!" sneered Phin.

"You're wrong there, Mr. Drayne," rejoined the coach frankly.
"As a matter of fact, it was I who suggested that you be cast
for light work this year."

"Oh!" muttered Drayne

"Yes; if you feel like blaming anyone, blame me, not Prescott.
You know, Drayne, you didn't behave very well last Thanksgiving
Day."

"I admit that my behavior was unreasonable, sir. But you know,
Mr. Morton, that I'm one of the valuable men."

"There's a crowd of valuable men this year, Drayne," smiled the
submaster.

"On the strongest pledge that I can give you, Mr. Morton, will
you allow me to play regular quarter-back this season?" begged
the quitter of the year before.

"I would give the idea more thought if Prescott recommended it;
but I doubt if he would," answered Mr. Morton slowly. "Personally,
Drayne, I don't approve of putting you on strong this year. The
quitter's reputation Drayne, is one that can't ever be really
lived down, you know."

Though coach's manner was mild enough, there was look of the resolute
eyes of this famous college athlete that made Phin Drayne realized
how I hopeless it was to expect any consideration from him.

"All right then Mr. Morton," he replied huskily. "I'll do my
best on a small showing, and take what comes to me."

Yet, as he walked slowly over to join the tacklers around the
swinging figure, the hot blood came again to young Drayne's face.

"I'll make this year a year of sorrow Gridley!" he quivered indignantly.
"I'll hang on, and make believe I'm meek as a lamb, but I'll
spoil Gridley's record for this year! There was in olden times
a chap who had a famous knack for getting square with people who
used him the wrong way. I wish I could remember his name at this
moment."

Drayne couldn't recall the name at the time, but another name
that might have served Drayne to remember at this instant was - -

Benedict Arnold.




CHAPTER II

A Hint from the Girls


There had been nothing rapid in Dick Prescott's elevation to the
captaincy of the eleven.

Back in the grammar school he had started his apprenticeship in
athletics. During his freshman year in High School he had kept
up his training. In his sophomore year he had trained hard for
and had won honors in the baseball nine. In his junior year,
after harder training that ever, he had performed a season's brilliant
work, playing left end in all the biggest games of the season.

So now, in his senior and last year at Gridley High School he
had come by degrees to the most envied of all possible positions
in school athletics.

The election to the football captaincy had not been sought by
Dick. In his junior year it had been offered to him, but he had
declined it, feeling that Wadleigh, both by training and judgement,
was better fitted to lead the eleven on the gridiron. But now,
having reached his senior year, Dick was by far the best leader
possible. Coach and football squad alike conceded it, and the
Alumni Association's Athletics Committee had approved.

Dick Prescott had grown in years since first we saw him, but not
in conceit. Like all who succeed in this world, he had a good
degree of positiveness in his make-up; but from this he left out
strong self-conceit. In all things, as in his school life, he
was prepared to sacrifice himself along whatever lines pointed
to the best good.

Dave Darrin, of all the chums, was nearly as well fitted as was
Prescott to lead, though not quite. So Dave, with Dick's own
kind of spirit, fell back willingly into second place. This year
Dave was second captain of the eleven, ready to lead to victory
if Dick should become incapacitated.

Beyond these, any of the four other chums were almost as well
qualified for leadership. Ability to lead was strong in all the
"partners" of Dick & Co.

While they were on the field that afternoon all of the six worked
as though football were the sole subject on earth that interested
them. That was the Gridley High School way, and it was the spirit
that Coach Morton always succeeded in putting into worthy young
men. Once back in dressing quarters, however, and under the shower
baths, the talk turned but little on football.

As soon as they had rubbed down and dressed Dick & Co. went outside
and started back to town - -on foot. Time could be saved by taking
the street car, but Dick and his friends believed that a brief
walk, after the practice served to keep the kinks out of their
joints and muscles.

"What ailed old Drayne this afternoon, Dick?" asked Tom Reade.

"Why, he told me that he had hoped to play quarter this season."

"Regular quarter?" demanded Dan Dalzell, opening his eyes very
wide.

"That was what I gathered, from what he said," nodded Dick.

"Well, of all the nerve!" muttered Hazelton.

"The star position - -for a fellow with a quitter's record!"

"I was obliged to say something of the sort" smiled Dick, "though
I tried to say it in a way that wouldn't hurt his feelings."

"You didn't succeed very well in salving his feelings, if his
looks gave any indication." laughed Greg Holmes quietly.

"Drayne went over to coach afterwards," added Dave Darrin. "Mr.
Morton didn't seem to give the fellow any more satisfaction than
you did, Dick."

"Who is to be quarter, anyway?" asked Harry Hazelton.

"Why, Dave is my first and last choice," Prescott answered frankly.
"But, personally, I'm not going to press him any too hard for
the post."

"Why not?" challenged Greg.

"Because everyone will say that I'm playing everything in the
interest of Dick & Co."

"Dave Darrin is head and shoulders above any other possibility
for quarter-back," insisted Greg, with so much conviction that
Darrin, with mock politeness, turned and lifted his cap in acknowledgment
of the compliment.

"Then coach and the Athletics Committee are intelligent enough
to find it out," answered the young football captain.

"That suits me," nodded Dave. "I want to play at quarter; yet,
if I can't make everyone concerned feel that I am the man for
the job, then I haven't made good to a sufficient extent to be
allowed to carry off the honors in a satchel."

"That's my idea, Darrin," answered Dick. "I believe you have made
good, and so good at that, that I'm going to dodge any charge
of favoritism, and leave it to others to see that you're forced
to take what you deserve."

"Of course I want to play this season, and I'm training hard to
be at my best," said Reade. "Yet when it's all over, and we've
won every game, good old Gridley style, I shall feel mighty happy."

"Yes," nodded Harry Hazelton, "and the same thing here."

"That's because you two are not only attending High School, but
also trying to blaze out your future path in life," laughed Dave.

"Well, the rest of you fellows had better be serious about your
careers in life," urged Tom. "It isn't every pair of fellows,
of course, who've been as fortunate as Harry and I."

"No; and all fellows can't be suited by the same chances, which
is a good thing," replied Prescott. "For my part, I wouldn't
find much of any cheer in the thought that I was going to be allowed
to carry a transit, a chain or a leveler's rod through life."

"Well, we don't expect to be working in the baggage department
of our profession forever," protested Harry Hazelton, with so
much warmth that Dave Darrin chuckled.

Tom and Harry had decided that civil or railroad engineering,
or both, perhaps, combined with some bridge building, offered
them their best chances of pleasant employment in life.

Mr. Appleton, a local civil engineer with whom the pair had talked
had offered to take them into his office for preliminary training.
because at the High School, Tom and Harry had already qualified
in the mathematical work necessary for a start.

No practicing civil engineer in these days feels that he has the
time or the inclination to take a beginner into his office and
teach him all of the work from the ground up. On the other hand,
a boy who has been grounded well in algebra, geometry and trigonometry
may then easily enter the office of a practicing civil engineer
and begin with the tools of the profession. Transit manipulation
and readings, the use of the plummet line, the level, compass,
rod, chain and staking work may all be learned thus and a knowledge
of map drawing imparted to a boy who has a natural talent for
the work.

It undoubtedly is better for the High School boy to go to a technical
school for his course in civil engineering; yet with a foundation
of mathematics and a sufficient amount of determination, the High
School boy may go direct to the engineer's office and pick up
his profession. Boys have done this, and have afterwards reached
honors in their profession.

So Tom and Harry had their future picked out, as they saw it.
As soon as they had learned enough of the rudiments, both were
resolved to go out to the far West, and there to pick up more,
much more, right in the camps of engineers engaged in surveying
and laying railroads.

"You fellows can talk about us going to work in the baggage department
of our profession," pursued Tom Meade, a slight flush on his manly
face. "But, Dick, you and Dave are in the dream department, for
you fellows have only a hazy notion that - -perhaps - -you may be
able to work your way into the government academies at West Point
and Annapolis. As for Greg and Dan, they don't appear to have
even a dream of what they hope to do in future."

"You fellows haven't been spreading the news that Dave and I want
to go to Annapolis and West Point, have you!" asked Dick seriously.

"Now, what do you take us for?" protested Tom indignantly "Don't
we understand well enough that you're both trying to keep it close
secret?"

As the young men turned into Main Street the merry laughter of
a group of girls came to their ears.

Four of the High School girls of the senior class had stopped
to chat for a moment.

Laura Bentley and Belle Meade were there, and both turned quickly
to note Dick and Dave. The other girls in the group were Faith
Kendall and Jessie Vance.

"Here comes the captain who is going to spoil all of Gridley a
chances this year," laughed Miss Vance.

"Hush, Jess," reproved Belle, while Laura looked much annoyed.

I see you have a wholly just appreciation of my merits, Miss Jessie,"
smiled Dick, as the boys raised their hats.

"Oh, what I said is nothing but the silly talk of him Dra - - -"
began Jessie lightly, but stopped when she again found herself
under the reproving glances of Laura and Belle.

Dick glanced at one of the girls in turn, his glance beginning
to show curiosity.

Laura bit her lip; Belle locked highly indignant.

Prescott opened his month as though to ask a question, them closed
his lips.

"I guess you might as well tell them, Laura," hinted Faith Kendall.

"Oh, nonsense." retorted Miss Bentley, flushing. "It's nothing
at all, especially coming from such a source."

"Then some one has been giving me the roasting that I plainly
deserve?" laughed Captain Prescott.

"It's all foolish talk, and I'm sorry the girls couldn't hold
their tongues," cried Laura impatiently.

"Then I won't ask you what it was," suggested Dick, "since you
don't like to tell me voluntarily."

"You might as well, Laura," urged Faith.

"It's that Phin - - -" began Jessie.

"Do be quiet, Jess," urged Belle.

"Why," explained Laura Bentley, "Phin Drayne just passed us, and
stopped to chat when Jessie spoke to him - - -"

"I didn't," objected Miss Vance indignantly. "I only said good
afternoon, and - -"

"I asked Drayne if he had been out to the field for practice,"
continued Laura. "He grunted, and said he'd been out to see how
badly things were going."

"Then, of course, Laura flared up and asked what he meant by such
talk," broke in the irrepressible Jessie. "Then - -ouch!"

For Belle had slyly pinched the talkative one's arm.

"Mr. Drayne had a great string to offer us," resumed Laura. "He
said football affairs had never been in as bad shape before, and
he predicted that the team would go to pieces in all the strong
games this year."

"We have a rule of unswerving loyalty in the history of our eleven,"
said Prescott, smiling, though a grim light lurked in his eyes.
"I guess Phin was merely practicing some of that loyalty."

"None of us care what Drayne thinks, anyway," broke in Dave Darrin
contemptuously. "He wants to play as a regular, and he's slated
only as a possible sub. So I suppose he simply can't see how
the eleven is to win without him. But, making allowances for


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Online LibraryH. Irving HancockThe High School Captain of the Team Dick & Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard → online text (page 1 of 11)