Editor’s note: This article is part of our series that takes a look back at our area within the last few decades. This is the write-up for Clinton High School’s first homecoming game 85 years ago on Oct. 17, 1924 and printed Saturday, Oct. 18, 1924.

They fought!

Doggedly, grimly, desperately. Clinton high school’s football team fought the heavier Rock Island High school aggregation in an effort to give the record throng in attendance at the local school’s first annual homecoming celebration Saturday a gridiron victory. Outweighed and largely outplayed, Coach Belding’s charges stuck their smoking guns beneath a sun of mid-summer heat, yielding yard by yard to the powerful running attack of the visitors but refusing to permit the retreat to become a rout.

Steady gains were registered by the visitors in mid-field but the Clinton defense always stiffened and repulsed the attack when the Maroon and Gold clad foes neared the danger zone.

The first and then the second period passed and neither team had broken into the scoring column although the so-called “edge” of play rested with the invaders.

“Break” Finally Comes

The third period opened and the Clinton team, spurred on to greater endeavors by Coach Belding’s remarks during the intermission, began to play the Islanders on more even terms. The off-tackle drives and smashing end runs of the down-river aggregation were meeting with less uniform success in the face of the determined defensive play of the Red and Black gridders. An exchange of punts finally gave the Illinois combination the ball on their own 16-yard line where Kunau had punted out of bounds.

An end run gained a first down but a fumble cost Rock Island three yards on the next play.

A smash gained a half dozen yards but the Clinton defense smothered the following effort for a yard loss.

The oval rested on the Islander’s 27 yard line and it was fourth down. Woodward dropped back to punt out of danger but “Dinty” Moore, playing defensive left end, streaked through and blocked the kick, the pigskin rolling to the nine yard line where Wallace of Clinton recovered after a nip and tuck sprint with an opponent.

The Clinton cheering section went wild as a touchdown seemed imminent.

Moore Goes Over

It was first down and goal to make. Moore, now at the helm, called a plug at the line but the gain was scant. The diminutive pilot took the ball himself on the next play and skirted right end in a twisting, dodging, rolling run that advanced the ball to the one foot line before he skidded out of bounds. Chambers, injured leader of the Islanders, who had graced the sidelines up to this point, was rushed into the fray at left end in place of Day and the Maroon leader immediately opened up with a vocal exhortation to his mates to halt the Clinton attack.

His little forensic effort resulted in the ball being advanced to the six inch line and Clinton given first down.

Moore fell across the goal line in the wake of Captain Chatterton on the first play for the only touchdown of the contest. Kinnan attempted to place kick for the extra point but the try was low and wide.

Rock Island was offside, however, and Clinton was awarded the extra marker. Score: Clinton 7, Rock Island 0

Islanders Threaten

Following the touchdown, Rock Island received the kickoff and opened up with a vicious running attack which temporarily threatened to sweep the Clintonians off their feet.

A half dozen plays took the ball from the Rock Island 20 yard mark to the local 33 yard line but the visitors refused to continue their steady running attack, attempting forward passes which eventually forced them to punt over the Red and Black goal line as the third period ended.

The final quarter found the invaders desperate in their attempts to score but the Clinton defense managed to hold the assaults fairly well in check.

Near the end of the game Krebs was inserted in place of Kunau for an attempted dropkick but the boot was short and the final Clinton scoring opportunity had passed. Rock Island mixed passes with straight football but the alert Clinton secondary defense nipped most of the attempts and as the glowing disc of the October sun rapidly dropped through the Indian summer haze veiling the western hills, the pistol sounded, ending the fray with Clinton’s first homecoming climaxed by victory.

Clinton Outgained

Rock Island outgained Clinton from scrimmage but the stubborn Red and Black defense coupled with poor generalship on the part of the visitors’ quarterback on a number of occasions prevented the Islanders from breaking into the scoring column. Rock Island exhibited one of the finest running attacks of any high school eleven seen on local gridirons in recent years and at times pierced the local defense with consistent gains from five to 15 yards.

Moore, on the flank defensively and at quarter on offense, was one of the bright stars of the homecoming victory while Captain Chatterton played a great game in the line. Kinnan’s work was of high quality and his running down under punts was one of the features of the game.

Kunau and Meggenberg were the other outstanding performers for the winners, Kunau getting off some lengthy boots which took the oval out of danger while Meggenberg showed considerable ability as a ball carrier and as the safety man on defense.

Stephany, Liedtke, O’Hern and Captain Chambers, after his entrance in the game, were the chief assets of the losers.

The Clinton Lineup: Kinnan, left end; Wallace, left tackle; Vickerstaff, left guard; Chatterton, captain, center; Bossen, right guard; Miller, right tackle; A. Pierce, right end; Moore, quarterback; Kunau, left halfback; Meggenberg, right halfback; F. Pierce, fullback.

Substitutions – Dilerang for Vickerstaff; Smith for Miller; Krebs for Kunau.

Clinton’s first Homecoming was a success. Of that there can be no doubt. And its continuation in succeeding years will probably see attendance records at the Homecoming games mount steadily year by year.

Coan Field presented a colorful sight Saturday afternoon beneath the warm October beams of Old Sol.

The main section of the Clinton supporters occupied the west stands and the old yells and some new, boomed out under the leadership of a trio of cheer leaders garbed in old gold and white. The Clinton High school band aided the rooters in their effort to cheer the outweighed local eleven.

With its brown and red tints and falling leaves, a misty, dusky smoky something in the air, a kind of melancholy that is sweet as well as sad, October has a way of making us dream.

It gives us a calmness unlike the unrestrained exuberance of spring. It is a rare month: and a great one for Homecomings.

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