SI Vault
Jim Strain
October 19, 1981
It rattles like a dried gourd and looks more like a misshapen pumpkin than a football. But the faded score that had been meticulously lettered on its side is still legible: TEXAS U. 0—PHILLIPS U. 10.
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October 19, 1981

The Iron Men Of Phillips Used Just 12 Players In Upsetting Mighty Texas

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Kendall Coach Francis Schmidt came to Enid on Thanksgiving Day to watch Phillips beat Denver University 58-0 on an icy field. During the visit, Schmidt told Maulbetsch he would let him know his decision about the postseason game on Tuesday. When Maulbetsch didn't hear from Schmidt, he wired his last challenge, offering Kendall two possible playing dates and the home-field advantage.

Two days later, Schmidt responded: "Sorry not to have wired sooner. We do not expect to play Phillips. We do not consider that a win over two normal schools and a tie with the Aggies gives much of a state championship. America is a free country. Claim the title." The Iron Men did.

As a result of Phillips' startling success, it was admitted to the Southwest Conference for the 1920 season. But with the loss of several key Iron Men, Phillips had a disappointing 4-5-1 record and failed to score in conference play. It immediately dropped out of the conference. Maulbetsch was hired to coach Oklahoma A&M in 1921 and, unable to keep up with the highly competitive and growing programs in the region, Phillips' football reputation gradually faded. The Iron Men, however, had left behind a taste of glory and a very special football.

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