Back on the field,
Johnson and Dillon dropped back to the five-yard line. Harvard's kicker sent
the ball into the air. Johnson gathered it in, and the Indians formed a wall in
front of him. Exendine pulled out the back of Dillon's jersey, and Johnson
slipped the ball beneath it and yelled, "Go!"
scattered, each player hugging his stomach as if he held the ball. The Harvard
players bore down on them and began slamming Carlisle backs to the turf.
Marshall was playing safety, and as Dillon ran toward him, his arms swinging
freely, Marshall, thinking he was a blocker, stepped neatly out of the way and
let him go by. After 30 yards Dillon was alone. As the Crimson scuttled around,
wildly looking for the ball, the crowd of 12,000 noticed the bulge in the back
of Dillon's jersey and began to shriek with laughter. Finally Marshall
understood what was happening. He wheeled and chased vainly after Dillon for
the last several yards.
Harvard coach John
Cranston vehemently protested to the referee, but Warner had taken the
precaution of warning the official that his team might attempt the play, and
the ref had watched carefully as it unfolded. He signaled a touchdown.
erupted on the Carlisle sideline. The Indians had just outwitted and
embarrassed the foremost university in the country--Carlisle style--and taken
an 11--0 lead. "I don't think any one thing ever gave them greater
joy," Warner said later.
The Crimson was
incensed, and the game from then on was a mauling. Harvard's superior size and
depth began to tell. The Crimson flooded the field with fresh players who
exhausted the Indians' starters. Harvard bulled its way over the line for a
touchdown. To Warner it seemed that "every Indian was out on his feet."
Harvard scored again and held on for a 12--11 victory. "For once, however,
there was no mourning after a loss," Warner remembered.
For the first
time, the Indians were credited with intelligence. The New York World ran a
series of stories explaining and diagramming the play. The paper's leading
sportswriter, Charles Chadwick, a former Yale football star who had often
written patronizingly of the Indians, now wrote, "The poor Indian, so often
sized up as deficient in headwork, has at last earned the right to be
considered as something more than a tireless, clumsy piece of football
mechanism. He is now to be regarded as a person of craft. He has added his
quota to the history of strategic football."
When Jim Thorpe
first set foot on the Carlisle campus, on Feb. 6, 1904, he was a slight,
narrow-shouldered boy of 16, brooding, shy and guileless. His tribe, the Sauk
and Fox, had been expelled from Illinois to Wisconsin, then to Kansas and
finally to a 17-mile-wide rectangle of land cut by rivers in what is now
Jim and his twin
brother, Charles, were born in May 1887. As the boys grew up, the Sauk and Fox
were in transition. Half the tribe was still clad in blankets and lived in
traditional bark houses; the Thorpes, however, were a literate family and lived
in a timber house on the banks of the Canadian River, where they worked a
160-acre parcel of land.
The boys' father,
Hiram Thorpe, was a rowdy horse trader and bootlegger. Their mother, Charlotte
Vieux, a Kickapoo-Potowatomie and a French Catholic, was as refined as one
could be in Indian Territory, educated by Jesuits and fluent in three
languages. Hiram was over 6 feet, weighed 225 pounds and was exceedingly
good-looking. He fathered at least 19 children by five women. Charlotte bore
him 11, only five of whom survived to adulthood. She herself died before she
Keokuk Falls, a stagecoach boomtown with a red-light district famed for its
seven "deadly saloons." The stage driver liked to announce as he pulled
in, "Stay for half an hour and see a man killed." Hiram would get drunk
and pass out in the front yard of the justice of the peace. Or he would ride
home amusing himself by shooting out the lights of the homesteads along the