This article is from the Sept. 29, 1921 edition of the Waterville Empire-Press. This article attracted my attention because of the similarities and the differences to the focus of this year’s Waterville-Mansfield Shockers football team. Much like today, the football team a century ago appeared to be on the upswing and looking forward to a competitive season. Also, there was a heavy focus on having a strong line much like today. Both a century and today, the Shockers had a deep, talented backfield to help ground out yards on offense. However, there are noticeable differences as well. The number of players on the team in 1921 sounds much greater than it’s 2021 counterpart; although, this year’s team has more players than even last year. Also, the 1921 team does not highlight much of a focus on their defense. Today’s team takes pride in having a competitive team on the defensive side of the field. But that may be a misrepresentation of the article as I found an article a week later covering a scrimmage that appeared to be a defensive struggle between the high school team and an intermural team in Waterville. The high school team won 6-0.

The Waterville High School Football Team

The football season for the Waterville high school opened with a great deal of enthusiasm and confidence of victory. The team has been training diligently, systematically and profitably for the past two weeks.

Coach Henderson believes that the team is in better shape this season than ever before as competition is stronger. He has ever reason to believe that his team will be a winning team. In an interview with him recently he said the men of the team were mastering the technique of football with great rapidity and were getting themselves in shape physically. Most of the players have been doing heavy work this summer so are in very good condition for the season’s work. Coach Henderson intends to combine many new plays with those that were successful last season. He says the line is uniform as to weight and playing ability; the back field is fast and dependable. The football schedule this year is one of the heaviest Waterville has ever attempted. She will meet her old rival Cashmere, November 11, at Cashmere. This promises to be one of the biggest conflicts of its kind in north central Washington this season. It is hoped a game may be arranged between those teams on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, at Waterville.

Leavenworth, Waterville’s opponent for many years, is to be met in a hard-fought game at Waterville on October 7. This is the first game of the season for the local high school and promises to be a heated contest. Both schools are getting in fine condition for the conflict. A return game will be played at Leavenworth on October 28.

Okanogan has accepted Waterville’s challenge for a game to be played at Waterville October 21. Both teams are confident of victory.

Ephrata will be played at Ephrata on October 14. This game is being looked forward to by both teams as one of certain success.

The team under the leadership of Capt. Porter has been working industrially on signal practice for the last week. Scrimmage has followed this signal practice for the last week. Scrimmage has followed this signal practice. A great many of the letter men have returned and with the new material, the loss of last year’s graduates was not felt as heavily as anticipated. The new material and that from last year’s second string have well filled those vacancies.

Captain Harold Porter, last years famous end has assumed the responsible position of quarterback. Captain Porter is one of the five letter men to return this season. He will be a great asset to the team because of his speed, technique and perseverance. Alfred Thulean, last year’s center, is having competition. Thulean is showing improvement over last year. Earl Herrington, last year’s consistent guard and letter man, is playing his old position with the same determination. Lynn Minten, letter man, last year held down the position of left half and this year is filling the vacancy of fullback left by Armour. Herbert Wilcox, another letter man, is out for his old position of right half. He is to be used as one of the kickers. The two Leahy brothers are additions that are highly valued. Allen Leahy, the older, is out for end and half back. Lester, the younger, is in the line. Francis Alexander, (indecipherable word) new one this year, is taking his brother’s old place on the team. Center is strengthened by Gustave Mohr at right guard. Mohr shows ability for one who has little football experience. Russel Leslie has returned to right tackle and helps to make the line a stone wall. Leslie has some experience last year, taking part in a number of games. Clem Ogle and Francis Sheehan are the two contestants for right end. Both men are last season gridironers and much is expected of them. Allen Sutor, a last season’s man, is displaying great football ability. No definite position has been assigned him. Edward Friel, another old football man has returned and is a very noticeable addition to the squad. Lawrence Howe is a hot contestant for end. His speed and receiving ability are exceptional. Edward Smith, on of last year’s men, is back again this season with his usual perseverance and uniformity. Smith is trying out for the position of left end. Robert Davis, who was out last season on account of sickness, is playing the back field and will probably be used at left half. He is a hard hitter and a consistent gainer. Gene Fritts, fast full back, is showing a specially in line plunges. Chauncey Richards, last year’s second string full-back, is furnishing keen competition for the older backs. Hale Porter, younger brother of the captain, is showing skill at the end position and should show up well when called to go in. Albert4 Mitchell, the other man trying out for quarterback, snaps signals out in a way that bewilders even the older players. Willis Jones is creating competition for the position of tackle. George Howe, Webster Langdon, Sellers brothers, David Dorsey, Leslie Jordan, Ted Waterhouse, Jeff Garnant, Gail Gibson, and others, are assisting the team by being members of the second string.

The team is working on individual weakness, kicking, forward passing, and technicalities. Strenuous physical exercise, signal practice and scrimmage is the plan of the coach for the next week. Mr. Henderson then expects to remedy the difficulties in order to be ready for the first game.


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