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1918 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team

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1918 record  6–1 (3–0 SIAA)
Offensive scheme  Jump shift
Assistant coach  Fay Wood
Captain  Bill Fincher
1918 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team
Conference  Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association
Head coach  John Heisman (15th year)

The 1918 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team represented the Georgia Tech Golden Tornado of the Georgia Institute of Technology during the 1918 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association football season. The Tornado was coached by John Heisman in his 15th year as head coach, compiling a record of 6–1 (2–0 SIAA) and outscoring opponents 466 to 32. Georgia Tech played its home games at Grant Field.

Contents

Tech eclipsed 100 points three different times. Its only road game was its only loss to national champion Pittsburgh at Forbes Field. Pittsburgh was the only team to score on Tech during the 1918 season. The defeat ended Georgia Tech's 33-game winning streak.

Center Bum Day was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. He was a first-team selection by Walter Camp. Day's selection by Walter Camp as a first-team All-American was a historic first; he was the first Southerner to be chosen for Camp's annual All-America first team. Bill Fincher and Joe Guyon also made consensus All-America. Fincher and Buck Flowers made Camp's second-team.

Before the season

Because of America's entry into World War I in April 1917, and the ongoing war effort, several SIAA schools did not field football teams in 1918. Coming off the South's first national championship in 1917, Tech lost several players to the war effort and was heavily reliant on freshmen.

With captain-elect Everett Strupper lost to the war, tackle and placekicker Bill Fincher was left as captain. Fincher had a glass eye which he would covertly pull out after feigning an injury, turn to his opponents and say: "So that's how you want to play!"

Coach John Heisman used the pre-snap movement of his "jump shift" offense. Former end and Notre Dame alumnus Fay Wood assisted Heisman as line coach.

Buck Flowers, a small back in his first year on the team, was in the backfield after transferring from Davidson a year before, where he had starred in a game against Tech. Flowers had grown to weigh 150 pounds and was a backup until Heisman discovered his ability as an open-field runner on punt returns. "Heisman's eyes bulged. And bulged again. On the first punt, Buck ran through the entire first team. Same thing again ... and again. Heisman had uncovered one of the greatest broken-field runners."

Clemson

The season opened with a 28–0 defeat of Clemson. The last score came on a 55-yard interception return by Joe Guyon. Red Barron once hurdled tacklers for a 40-yard gain. Other scores came from Pug Allen and Wally Smith. Everett Strupper cheered from the sidelines.

The starting lineup was: Fincher (left end), Doyal (left tackle), Nesbit (left guard), Davis (center), Dowling (right guard), Vandegrift (right tackle), Staton (right end), Barron (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Guyon (right halfback), and Allen (fullback).

Furman

Buck Flowers starred in the 118–0 victory over Furman. Joe Guyon played in the line and did well. Tech made 34 first downs. For one score, in the fourth quarter, Flowers hit Red Barron on a 72-yard touchdown pass that went 42 yards in the air.

The scoring breakdown: Barron got 4 touchdowns, Allen 3, Adams 2, Ferst 2, Guyon, Fincher, Flowers, Smith, Cobb, and Doyal one each. Fincher made 14 straight extra points. Flowers made the other two.

The starting lineup was: Fincher (left end), Doyal (left tackle), Rogers (left guard), Davis (center), Huffines (right guard), Guyon (right tackle), Staton (right end), Barron (quarterback), Flowers (left halfback), Ferst (right halfback), and Allen (fullback).

11th Cavalry

Tech beat the 11th Cavalry 123–0. The game was called after the start of the third quarter. The scoring breakdown: Flowers got 5 touchdowns, Barron 4, Ferst, Allen, and Staton 2 each, Smith, Fincher, and Cobb one each.

Camp Gordon

Georgia Tech beat Camp Gordon 28–0. Frank Ferst and Red Barron each scored two touchdowns. "Barron had the game of his life" said the yearbook.

The game was nip and tuck until Everett Strupper, former Tech star playing for Gordon, fumbled, and Ferst recovered, racing 30 yards for a touchdown. In the third quarter, Red Barron had a 28-yard touchdown

North Carolina A&M

Two days before the Armistice, Tech beat NC State 128–0. State's only highlight came in the third quarter, when John Ripple recovered a teammate's fumble and returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown. However, it was called back due to an offsides penalty. Walter Camp attended the game. Ripple was the first football player from North Carolina ever to make an All-America team when he was selected second-team All-American by Camp. Five minutes into the fourth quarter, the game was called. The scoring breakdown: Barron and Ferst got 4 touchdowns each, Smith 3, Allen 3, Staton 2, Cobb 2, and Adams 1.

The starting lineup was: Fincher (left end), Doyal (left tackle), Nesbit (left guard), Day (center), Rogers (right guard), Webb (right tackle), Staton (right end), Barron (quarterback), Ferst (left halfback), Adams (right halfback), and Allen (fullback).

Pittsburgh

After declining the challenge last year, Heisman got his wish and a game with Pop Warner's Pittsburgh team. In a high-profile game played as a War Charities benefit Pitt dismantled Georgia Tech 32–0, ending Tech's 33-game streak without a loss. Pittsburgh was the 1918 national champion.

Warner historian Francis Powers wrote:

At Forbes Field, the dressing rooms of the two teams were separated only by a thin wall. As the Panthers were sitting around, awaiting Warner's pre-game talk, Heisman began to orate in the adjoining room. In his charge to the Tech squad, Heisman became flowery and fiery. He brought the heroes of ancient Greece and the soldier dead in his armor among the ruins of Pompeii. It was terrific and the Panthers sat, spellbound. When Heisman had finished, Warner chortled and quietly said to his players: 'Okay, boys. There's the speech. Now go out and knock them off.'

Pitt's first score came on a pass from Tom Davies to Katy Easterday. The next score came soon after the start of the second quarter, when Davies returned a punt back 50 yards for a touchdown. A double pass got the next score. The fourth touchdown was a 6-yard touchdown by George McLaren. "Guyon and Flowers were very clever at intercepting forward passes, which in a measure made up for the fumbling in a early part of the game." A 55-yard touchdown run by Davies was the final score. Guyon also starred on defense.

Tech managed a modicum of revenge. Pitt lost its only game to the Cleveland Naval Reserves. On the Naval team was Tech star Judy Harlan. Harlan stated: "I intercepted a pass and returned it to midfield in the fourth quarter. I felt I at least had evened up some of the losses we had at Tech."

The starting lineup was: Fincher (left end), Doyal (left tackle), Mathes (left guard), Day (center), Huffines (right guard), Webb (right tackle), Staton (right end), Barron (quarterback), Flowers (left halfback), Guyon (right halfback), and Allen (fullback).

Auburn

Tech beat Auburn 41–0 on a muddy field. Substitute quarterback B. Adams returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. The other five touchdowns were achieved by plodding through the mud. The first was on a pass from Buck Flowers to Joe Guyon. Flowers ran in the second, and Guyon ran in the third. Wally Smith made one, and Red Barron the last.

The starting lineup: was Fincher (left end), Doyal (left tackle), Webb (left guard), Day (center), Mathes (right guard), Huffines (right tackle), Staton (right end), Barron (quarterback), Flowers (left halfback), Ferst (right halfback), and Guyon (fullback).

Awards and honors

Center Bum Day was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. He was a first-team selection by Walter Camp. Day's selection by Camp as a first-team All-American was a historic first; he was the first Southerner to be chosen for Camp's annual All-America first team, which had been historically loaded with college players from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and other Northeastern colleges. Captain Bill Fincher was also a consensus All-American, as well as Joe Guyon. Fincher and Halfback Buck Flowers made Camp's second-team All-American.

Championships

Tech won its fourth straight SIAA title.

Depth chart

The following chart provides a visual depiction of Tech's lineup during the 1918 season with games started at the position reflected in parenthesis. The chart mimics the offense after the jump shift has taken place.

Unlisted

  • L. M. Lamar
  • Scoring leaders

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

    References

    1918 Georgia Tech Golden Tornado football team Wikipedia


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