The fight hardly caused a ripple. Since there was no referee or other supervisor, general riot was always imminent. Common offenses included the usual tripping, elbowing, kneeing and kicking. These violations, along with refinements such as clotheslining with the forearm across the face, if perpetrated too often, usually brought the offender a clout in the teeth from his irate victim. On the other hand, techniques such as poking in the eye with a finger, if judiciously and infrequently employed, could in most cases be explained away as accidental.
At midafternoon, we Hornets could smell victory despite the fact that we stood on the short end of a 78-60 score. We were convinced that the home-field whammy was about to plague the Wallopers. Paul Rasmussen was most vocal. "Just watch. Every Saturday, Indian Joe's gotta sweep the basement. His old man'll call him. Just watch."
Paul's prophecy generated such wild enthusiasm in our ranks that we tried a forward pass. It was utterly foolhardy. The obese pigskin did not lend itself to throwing. Even the most expert 12-year-old could, at best, cradle it in his hand and push it forward erratically and inaccurately. The Wallopers promptly intercepted and lateraled off to Indian Joe. We trailed 84 to 60.
We got the touchdown back when Donkey Roberts waited until Sid Pugh was looking straight at him, then held his nose and made a distasteful face. Sid scored in two plays, and several moments later scored again. Score: Wallopers 84, Hornets 72.
The Wallopers picked off an errant lateral from Sam Dodd and scored. Not a whisper of criticism was leveled at Sam. The lateral pass was much esteemed, especially by cornered ballcarriers facing certain inundation.
The sun poised on the far horizon. Still Indian Joe was among us. We needed three touchdowns to tie, four to win. By common consent, the game would end when darkness prevented further play. Soon the shades of early evening began to fall and the dinner hour was close at hand. Indian Joe remained on the field. We waited to hear the bull-throated cry of his father, "Vladimir! You come home! Right now!"
In desperation, we scored again. It was slow, tough work in the twilight. Two touchdowns to tie, three to win.
We huddled, defeat surrounding us like a fog. We failed to see two Catholic nuns who had halted on the sidewalk.
"Vladimir Syczkronski," said the taller nun, staring hard at Indian Joe, "Jamie Rooney and Charles Roberts. You'll be late for the altar boys' dinner. Run along home, boys, and change your clothes." In one instant the Wallopers ball club had been ruined.
After that it was easy. We tallied as we pleased. Final score: Hornets 102, Wallopers 90.