Centerville @ Ellery - 11/20/1909


With Merritt Spaulding having graduated most pundits expected the Ellery Bruins to take a step back. In fact, the 1909 squad was even better than the 1908 edition that featured Spaulding. In a more team-oriented, less star-focused approach the Bruins coasted through the 1909 campaign without a loss, and aside from a 17-17 tie with rival George Fox on November 6th, were the nation's most impressive eleven. To be fair, both Liberty College and Minnesota Tech were unbeaten and untied (7-0-0), but neither played a top-level schedule such as the one Ellery faced that autumn.

The Centerville Chiefs, who had been nigh unbeatable the past several seasons, had their worst season under coach Pug Johnston, finishing 8-4-0. The Chiefs stumbled early and never really recovered. Despite a 24-7 win in their opener, they were facing a town team from Steelton, PA and should have won more handily. The problems became more apparent quickly - four days after their uninspiring win over Steelton, the Chiefs fells 10-7 to another town team (Lebanon Valley) stunning the gridiron world. Not surprisingly, when they took the field just three days later for their Saturday tilt with Penn Catholic, they fell again, this time 17-10. Though Johnston got them straightened out, they lost to both Liberty College (17-0) and in what was arguably the season's best game, they fell 6-3 to Ellery on November 20th. The lone bright spot for the overly demanding Coach Johnston was a freshman back he threw into some of the easier contests - a fellow name Jack Oxendine who would later become one of the towering figures of the sport.

It was a good year for the Academia-to-be schools - aside from Ellery, Sadler (8-1-0) and George Fox (8-1-1) were also strong and Dickson was 6-3-0. Brunswick at 4-4-0 was a disappointment and future stalwarts Pierpont didn't bother to field a team (neither did Henry Hudson). In the South, Noble Jones took a nosedive when Coach John Christian bolted for more money to coach at Minnesota Tech (where he promptly made them into a regional power), but Northern Mississippi (7-1-1) was a squad on the rise and Central Carolina (7-2-0) continued to impress. In the Midwest, the Minnesota Tech Lakers took to Coach Christian's pass-first concepts and went undefeated & untied on the year while other powers-to-be were still feeling their way (Chicago Poly went 4-4-0), Detroit City (4-3-0), Iowa A&M (4-3-1) and the brand-new program at Whitney College was an unimpressive 1-6-0.

The Mott's All-American Team featured a change in format as the team now had 11 players with more defined positions than the traditional Back-End-Line configuration of previous years. 

The 1936 Omni Scouting Bureau's retroactive National Champions list pegged Ellery as the champs, although at the 1909 season's conclusion, all three of Ellery, Liberty College & Minnesota Tech claimed the honor.

Mott's All-American Team for 1909:

QB Thomas Anderson (JR) Minnesota Tech
HB Paul Ellerby (SR) Ellery
HB Gene Young (JR) George Fox
FB Edgar Reynolds (SR) Ellery
E Phil Scruggs (JR) Sadler
T Matthew Ashford (SR) George Fox
G Everett Ellsworth (JR) Ellery
C Donald Ritter (SR) Ellery
G Arthur Abernathy (SR) Sadler
T Earl Wallis (JR) Liberty College
E Hank Stamatis (JR) Ellery