First published October 27, 1983: Along with the falling leaves and the crisp air of autumn comes the excitement of football. This has been true in Westfield for many years. Take for example the year 1904. First page article in "The Westfield Republican" of Oct. 12 of that year announced that our high school football team was victorious over Mayville - the first game of the season. Captain Jones won the toss and decided to receive the kick-off. From the time the ball was kicked off until Nixon carried it over the goal line, Westfield hammered her opponents' line at will. One more touchdown was secured in the first half. After a rest of 10 minutes, Westfield continued her hard playing, Hopson taking Allen's place. Once Mayville held Westfield four downs. This was caused by a bad double paw. Two more touchdowns were secured, but the goal was missed each time. Throughout the game the best of feeling prevailed. Both teams refrained from unnecessary roughness and no exceptions were taken to the decisions made by the officials. Coaches Tennant and Wright were very much pleased with the showing our boys made and "they are working hard strengthening the weak points." Many of us can remember when the home football games were played at Welch Field from 1913 until they were moved to Douds Field at the school, but in 1904 athletic events took place at the old J.C. and L.E. Field which by today's standards would be most inadequate. Back to 1904, Westfield won the second home game over Brocton with a score of 19 to Brocton's 0. "Davis was developing into a fierce line backer, and Nixon and Douglas were sure men. Capt. Jones was developing into a better general with every game. Instead of calling signals he simply made signs and his opponents were caught napping for they were not used to such speedThe best of feeling prevailed through the game. Neither team had a man injured." The following week, in a drizzling rain, a muddy game was played against Fredonia Normal School. Fredonia scored one touchdown. It was the most fiercely contested game seen on the local grid-iron since 1899. The home team was determined to win, but was finally overcome by the superior weight of their opponents, and it took 30 minutes to make the one touchdown. Oct. 30, 1904 Westfield High School football team accompanied by 40 rooters went by special trolley car to North East, Pa. and defeated the school team by a score of 5 to 0. For the first time that year the Westfield team met up with some poor losers. "A few of the more uncivilized ones wanted to wipe Wright off the map because time was up. After relieving their surplus pressure of breath and firing a few apples, sticks and stones, they found that it was useless so they went home defeated and soreAt 8 o'clock when the special car started back the crowd had dispersed and no one was molested on the way out of town. "On the way home, Chairman Prendergast opened the session with a rousing speech, followed with music by the orchestra. Then the chairman introduced the speakers until the car reached home." Westfield was victorious in the return game with Mayville and the Election Day game with Dunkirk High School. They closed the season on the home field by sweeping the North East team off the field. The score was Westfield 28, North East 0 when the game was called because of darkness and the North East aggregation went away very quietly - their swagger all gone. It appears that 1904 was a red-letter year in the history of football in Westfield. During my high school days, the game with our toughest opponents was the last game of the season - always the North East game on Thanksgiving Day. I never realized that the bitter rivalry had its roots in the very early days of high school football in Westfield.
Photo courtesy of Patterson Library
Football circa 1904 — These high school heroes were, row 1, left to right: W.Hopson; W.McCarty; B.Wilson; unknown; R.Beach; J.Porter; and G.Minton. Row 2: Sam Nixon; Jim Douglas; Fred Jones; and Cliff Davis.