1919 Centre Praying Colonels football team

The 1919 Centre Praying Colonels football team represented Centre College in the 1919 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season.[1] The Praying Colonels scored 485 points, leading the nation, while allowing 23 points and finishing their season with a perfect record of 9–0.[2][3] The team was retroactively selected by Jeff Sagarin as national champion for the 1919 season.[4]

1919 Centre Praying Colonels football
1919CentreafterWVU.jpg
Centre players after the defeat of West Virginia
National champion (Sagarin)
ConferenceSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1919 record9–0 (1–0 SIAA)
Head coachCharley Moran
Offensive schemeSingle wing
CaptainBo McMillin
Home stadiumCheek Field
Uniform
20scentreuniform.png
Seasons
← 1918
1920 →
1919 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Auburn $ 5 1 0     8 1 0
Alabama 6 1 0     8 1 0
Centre 1 0 0     9 0 0
Kentucky 3 1 1     3 4 1
Georgia Tech 3 1 0     7 3 0
Tulane 3 1 1     6 2 1
Vanderbilt 3 1 2     5 1 2
Furman 2 1 1     6 2 1
Mississippi A&M 5 2 0     6 2 0
Georgia 4 2 2     4 2 3
LSU 3 2 0     6 2 0
Clemson 3 2 2     6 2 2
Florida 2 2 0     5 3 0
Wofford 1 1 0     3 2 1
Transylvania 1 1 0     2 4 0
Ole Miss 1 4 0     4 4 0
The Citadel 1 4 0     4 4 1
Sewanee 1 4 0     3 6 0
Georgetown 0 0 0     0 2 0
Tennessee 0 3 2     3 3 3
South Carolina 0 4 1     1 7 1
Mercer 0 1 0     0 2 0
Mississippi College 0 4 0     3 5 1
Howard 0 4 0     3 5 2
  • $ – Conference champion

Quarterback Bo McMillin and center James "Red" Weaver were named to Walter Camp's first-team 1919 College Football All-America Team. Just the year before Bum Day was the first Southern player ever selected to Camp's first team – and Centre became the first school with two. Fullback and end James "Red" Roberts was named to Camp's third team.

The highlight of the season was the win over West Virginia. McMillin had the team pray before it, forever giving the Centre College Colonels its alternate moniker of "Praying Colonels."[5]

Before the seasonEdit

Five Centre regulars were natives of Fort Worth, Texas, namely quarterback Bo McMillin, Bill James, Sully Montgomery, Matty Bell, and Red Weaver.[6] They were accused of being professionals, but the charges were rebuked by season's end.[7] "Without Bo it would not be a Centre team."[8]

Former Centre player and North Side High School head coach Robert L. Myers was to bring McMillin, Weaver, and the above teammates to Centre. However, McMillin and Weaver did not have sufficient credits to enter college, and thus entered Somerset High School for the 1916-17 year, playing with Red Roberts.[9]

Centre's linemen were known as the "Seven Mustangs".[10]

ScheduleEdit

DateOpponentSiteResult
September 27Hanover*
W 95–0
October 4at Indiana*
W 12–3
October 18Xavier*
  • Cheek Field
  • Danville, KY
W 57–0
October 25at TransylvaniaLexington, KYW 69–0
November 1at VirginiaW 49–7
November 8at West VirginiaCharleston, WVW 14–6
November 15Kentucky
  • Cheek Field
  • Danville, KY
W 56–0
November 22vs. DePauwLouisville, KYW 56–0
November 27at Georgetown (KY)Georgetown, KYW 77–7
  • *Non-conference game

[11]

A game with Maryville College was scheduled but never played due to Maryville injuries.

Season summaryEdit

Week 1: HanoverEdit

Hanover at Centre
1 234Total
Hanover 0 000 0
Centre 26 202128 95
  • Date: September 27
  • Location: Cheek Field
    Danville, KY
  • Referee: Dexheimer (Chattanooga)

On opening day, Centre swamped Hanover 95–0. Eight different players scored. Roberts was shifted from fullback to tackle, and played well.[13]

 
Red Roberts

The starting lineup was King (left end), Roberts (left tackle), Montgomery (left guard), Bell (center), Van Antwerp (right guard), Coleman (right tackle), Whitnell (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Murphy (left halfback), Davis (right halfback), Diddle (fullback).[13]

Week 2: at IndianaEdit

Centre at Indiana
1 234Total
Centre 0 0012 12
Indiana 3 000 3

Centre beat Indiana 12–3. Indiana was up 3–0 with 2:20 left in the game, when Centre started its comeback victory.[12] McMillin and Roberts worked it towards the goal, Roberts going over. Indiana was then desperate to even the score, and McMillin intercepted a pass, and returned it for a touchdown, dodging and straight arming the entire Indiana eleven.[12] Indiana's three points came early in the first period, when its quarterback, Mathys, made a 35-yard drop kick.[12]

The starting lineup was Whitnell (left end), Montgomery (left tackle), Van Antwerp (left guard), Garrett (center), Coleman (right guard), James (right tackle), McCullom (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Bittle (left halfback), Davis (right halfback), Roberts (fullback).[12]

Week 3: St. XavierEdit

The Colonels beat St. Xavier 57–0.

Week 4: TransylvaniaEdit

In the fourth week of play, the Colonels beat the Transylvania Pioneers 69–0. Transylvania's Milton broken several bones in his foot the week previous.[14]

Week 5: at VirginiaEdit

Centre at Virginia
1 234Total
Centre 14 14147 49
Virginia 0 700 7

Centre's backfield starred and smashed the Virginia Cavaliers 49–7 in the mud. Joe Murphy had a 75-yard touchdown run.[15] Soon after, McMillin went 70 yards for a touchdown.[15] Kuyk scored Virginia's points.[15]

The starting lineup was Bell (left end), Montgomery (left tackle), Van Antwerp (left guard), Weaver (center), Cregor (right guard), James (right tackle), Snoddy (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Armstrong (left halfback), Davis (right halfback), Roberts (fullback).[15]

Week 6: at West VirginiaEdit

Centre at West Virginia
1 234Total
Centre 0 077 14
West Virginia 6 000 6

The sixth week of play brought the highlight of the season — a 14–6 comeback win over West Virginia and the nation's leading scorer Ira Rodgers. McMillin had the team pray before the game, forever giving the Centre College Colonels its alternate moniker of "Praying Colonels."[5][17][18]

Rodgers came out passing and West Virginia scores first early when he bucked it over. Later, a 25-yard pass from McMillin to Terry Snoddy brought the ball near the goal. Roberts eventually scored. Centre had another touchdown drive in the last quarter, ending in McMillin sidestepping for a touchdown.[16] Murphy was in a flimsy track suit and track shoes.[19]

 
Bo McMillin

The starting lineup was Bell (left end), Montgomery (left tackle), Van Antwerp (left guard), Weaver (center), Cregor (right guard), Jones (right tackle), Snoddy (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Davis (left halfback), Armstrong (right halfback), Roberts (fullback).[16]

Week 7: Kentucky StateEdit

With a large crowd at home on Cheek Field, the Colonels beat rival Kentucky State 56–0, giving the Wildcats their worst loss on the season. Roberts had three touchdowns.[20]

The starting lineup was Bell (left end), Montgomery (left tackle), Van Antwerp (left guard), Weaver (center), Cregor (right guard), James (right tackle), Snoddy (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Davis (left halfback), Armstrong (right halfback), Roberts (fullback).[20]

Week 8: vs. DePauwEdit

DePauw vs. Centre
1 234Total
DePauw 0 000 0
Centre 7 142114 56

The Colonels defeated the DePauw Tigers in Louisville 56–0. McMillin's passes "aroused the wonderment of the crowd."[21] The first touchdown came on an 18-yard pass to Army Armstrong.[21]

The starting lineup was Bell (left end), Montgomery (left tackle), Van Antwerp (left guard), Weaver (center), Cregor (right guard), James (right tackle), Snoddy (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Armstrong (left halfback), Davis (right halfback), Roberts (fullback).[21]

Week 9: at GeorgetownEdit

Centre at Georgetown
1 234Total
Centre 14 212814 77
Georgetown 0 070 7

Centre rolled up a 77–7 score on the Georgetown Tigers. Georgetown's one score came off a 65-yard fumble return.[22] Weaver made 11 straight extra points.

The starting lineup was Bell (left end), Montgomery (left tackle), Van Antwerp (left guard), Weaver (center), Cregor (right guard), James (right tackle), Snoddy (right end), McMillin (quarterback), Davis (left halfback), Armstrong (right halfback), Roberts (fullback).[22]

PostseasonEdit

LegacyEdit

 
Red Weaver

Red Weaver made 47 out of 48 extra points with 46 in a row,[23] and held the NCAA record with 99 consecutive points after touchdowns in the 1919 and 1920 seasons.[24][25] Weaver was put at the placekicker position on an Associated Press Southeast Area All-Time football team 1869-1919 era.[26]

The season brought national attention to the small town of Danville.[27]

Awards and honorsEdit

Due to the dispute over professionalism, most writers picked Auburn as SIAA champion. The team was retroactively selected by Jeff Sagarin as the national champion for the 1919 season.[4]

McMillin and Weaver were named to Walter Camp's first-team 1919 College Football All-America Team. Just the year before Bum Day was the first Southern player ever selected to Camp's first team – and Centre became the first school with two. Fullback and end Red Roberts was named to Camp's third team.

PlayersEdit

Depth chartEdit

The following chart provides a visual depiction of Centre's lineup during the 1919 season with games started at the position reflected in parenthesis. The chart mimics a single wing on offense.

StartersEdit

LineEdit

Player Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
Matty Bell End Fort Worth, TX North Side H. S. 163 20
Ben Cregor Guard Springfield, KY 5'11" 175 20
Bill James Tackle Fort Worth, TX North Side H. S. 169 21
Sully Montgomery Tackle Fort Worth, TX North Side H. S. 6'3" 210 18
Terry Snoddy End Owensboro, KY Owensboro H. S. 5'10" 173 19
Howard Van Antwerp Guard Mt. Sterling, KY Mt. Sterling H. S. 173 20
Red Weaver Center Fort Worth, TX North Side H. S. 5'10" 158 21

BackfieldEdit

Player Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
Norris Armstrong Halfback Fort Smith, AR Fort Smith H. S. 5'10" 154 21
Allen Davis Halfback Danville, KY 148 20
Bo McMillin Quarterback Fort Worth, TX North Side H. S. 5'9" 175 21
Red Roberts Fullback Somerset, KY Somerset H. S. 6'2" 193 19

SubsEdit

LineEdit

Player Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
Clayton Ford Guard Danville, KY 190 20
William Garrett Center Columbus, OH West H. S. 155 21
Gus King End Oak Cliff, TX 155 20
Edwin Whitnell End Fulton, KY Fulton H. S. 160 19

BackfieldEdit

Player Position Games
started
Hometown Prep school Height Weight Age
Edgar Diddle Halfback Castle Heights 166 21
Joe Murphy Halfback Columbus, OH East H. S. 130 20

[28]

Scoring leadersEdit

 
Terry Snoddy

The following is an incomplete list of statistics and scores, largely dependent on newspaper summaries.

Player Touchdowns Extra points Field Goals Points
Bo McMillin 10 11 71
Red Roberts 9 54
Red Weaver ? 46 46
Terry Snoddy 5 30
Joe Murphy 5 30
Norris Armstrong 4 24
Edwin Whitnel 3 18
Allen Davis 2 12
Hump Tanner 2 12
Edgar Diddle 1 6
N/A v. Xavier/Transy/Georgetown 30 2 182
Total 71 59 485

[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://newspaperarchive.com/boston-daily-globe-dec-20-1919-p-21/
  2. ^ 1919 Centre football scores Archived 2000-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ John Y. Brown, The Legend of the Praying Colonels, J. Marvin Gray & Associates, Inc., Louisville, Kentucky
  4. ^ a b National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2015). "National Poll Rankings" (PDF). NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA. p. 108. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Centre College of Kentucky". School. 31: 428. 1919.
  6. ^ Fred Turbyville (November 21, 1919). "Centre College Prays and Crys, Then Goes Out And Wins". New Castle Herald. p. 14. Retrieved May 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ "Charges Against Centre Men Are Considered Ridiculous". The Courier-Journal. December 9, 1919. p. 10. Retrieved May 27, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  8. ^ Charles A. Reinhart (October 26, 1919). "Sport Review". p. 50. Retrieved February 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  9. ^ "Red Weaver".
  10. ^ Whitney Martin (November 25, 1943). "Sarazen Loses Squire Title Sells Property". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  11. ^ "Centre College Football Records (1910-1919)".
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Centre Downs Indiana In Last Two Minutes of Play". The Courier-Journal. October 5, 1919. p. 42. Retrieved May 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  13. ^ a b "Centre Swamps Hanover". The Indianapolis Star. September 28, 1919. p. 25. Retrieved May 28, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2016-07-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ a b c d e "Centre College Smashed Vaunted Virginia Eleven". The Courier-Journal. November 2, 1919. p. 47. Retrieved May 28, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  16. ^ a b c "Centre College Victorious Over West Virginia Team". The Courier-Journal. November 9, 1919. p. 43. Retrieved May 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  17. ^ Frank G. Weaver. "Come On, You Praying Kentuckians". Association Men. 45: 416.
  18. ^ a b "Kentucky Colonels Have Phenomenal Record; Always Pray Before Battle". Arizona Daily Star. November 28, 1919. p. 7. Retrieved May 27, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  19. ^ "It Really Happened In Football". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. November 17, 1937.
  20. ^ a b Sam H. McMeekin (November 16, 1919). "Colonels Are Triumphant In Big Game At Danville". The Courier-Journal. p. 53. Retrieved May 28, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  21. ^ a b c d Sam H. McMeekin (November 23, 1919). "Centre College Overwhelms Depauw Football Eleven". The Courier-Journal. p. 44. Retrieved May 28, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  22. ^ a b c "Colonels Romp Over Georgetown". The Courier-Journal. November 28, 1919. p. 8. Retrieved May 30, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  23. ^ "How About This?". The Atlanta Constitution. November 28, 1919. p. 18. Retrieved May 30, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  24. ^ "Detail Story of Stadium Game". Boston Post. October 24, 1920. p. 56. Retrieved March 16, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  
  25. ^ "Kicks 90 Goals, "Red Weaver's Toe Stuff May Be Useless Next Year". The Wichita Beacon. December 24, 1920. p. 4. Retrieved March 16, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  
  26. ^ "All-Time Football Team Lists Greats Of Past, Present". Gadsden Times. July 27, 1969.
  27. ^ "Kentucky School Wins". The Dekaly Daily Chronicle. 21 (1). December 1, 1919.
  28. ^ "The Centre College Football Squad". The Gazette Times. Pittsburgh. December 3, 1919. p. 13. Retrieved May 27, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.