Then the instructions came from the bench: do not pass any more. Hit the line. Ronnie did. He sent his fullback straight up the middle 27 times. Santa Monica threw short passes and used their regular wide-open attack. Final score: Santa Monica 26, Inglewood 12.
NEWS FOR THE COACH
I visited the dressing room after the game. It was pretty hard to take?two boys knocked cold, the rest crying. I noticed Ronnie sitting dry-eyed in a corner. He was, shall we say, mad? I said, "Hello, superman, can't you cry?" He turned to me. "Why should I cry when the coach lost the ball game?"
I was forced to agree, and so informed the coach the next day. He said, why did we move to Inglewood anyway? They hadn't asked us to. I said, I got news for you. If you don't give Ronnie at least one quarter to call his own plays next week, he will refuse to play for you.
Well, the next week was against Bell who'd just won the championship of their league the week before. Just for kicks, Ronnie threw seven touchdown passes to seven different players. He refused all instructions from the bench. The following week we played San Pedro and he threw for five and ran for two, just to show it was legit. For the balance of the season, every fourth time he threw the ball it was for a touchdown, with a completion average of 69%. The team was the high-scoring team in the nation that year.
And Ronnie, with a record of 20 touchdowns and a year average of 59% pass completion, nevertheless did not receive one honor?not one honor! Can you figure that? Could it be that the coach did not recommend him?
The day after the season ended, after Ronnie and I had talked things over, we agreed to move to Santa Monica. Ronnie found it tough at Santa Monica. Our scrimmages on Wednesday were rougher than the games on Friday. But Coach Jim Sutherland was an honest, straightforward, fair-minded man. And I'll say this: I can't ever recall seeing a Santa Monica player being carried off the field.
Ronnie was very fortunate. He set a California Interscholastic Federation passing record?27 touchdowns and 12 conversions. He ran for three touchdowns. The team scored 30 touchdowns passing and 30 running.
So now the colleges came after Ronnie. And with them came the "Curbstone Cuties." That's what I call those alumni proselyters, and they're real sharpies. The first thing they say is, they'll get the boy a car. Next they say they'll assign a "sponsor" to him. A "sponsor" is supposed to be a guy who pays the bills. But he turns out to be a guy who thrusts a ten dollar bill into your hand at Christmastime after you have made the team, sweated through the classrooms, worked in a soda fountain and have generally gone through hell for dear old Alma Mammy.
Ronnie got plenty of offers and promises. He's always wanted to make writing his career?a California alumnus promised him a definite job on the Berkeley Daily Gazette. There would be other chances in radio and television, he was told. Other colleges got in their bids. One of the biggest laughs I had was when a head coach in the Pacific Coast Conference phoned Jim Sutherland, not knowing that Jim despised him. This coach said, "Jim, what's the current going price on Ronnie Knox?" Jim thought he would have a little fun. "From what I hear," he said, "it's $300 a month for four years." "What!" screams the coach. "Why the hell should I pay $300 for Ronnie when I can get two big tackles for that?"