Have you seen the coverage of a trick play pulled recently by a middle school in Corpus Christi? Reader Jae Ellis points out that similar high jinks were perpetrated more than 80 years ago by the Highland Park Scots, led by captain Al “Big’un” Rose. Jae provides documentation in the form of a passage from the book Pigskin Pulpit:
A number of times during the mid-1920s, after being assessed a 15-yard penalty, Highland Park linemen would distract the other team by suckering the officials. The dumbfounded referee would fail to halt play while the Highlanders looked at each other with quizzical expressions and began debating: “Is that right? Fifteen yards for holding?” The cue prompted captain “Big’un” Rose to declare that his team was shortchanged. Commanding his center to hand him the ball, he would turn to the perplexed official, and say: “You owe us ten yards.” As the opposing team relaxed to watch the argument, Rose would start stepping off the ten yards, and after clearing the defensive linemen, would scamper toward the goal for a touchdown. However unconventional, neither the outrage of the opposing team nor the referee’s embarrassment could erase the fact that Highland Park had put the ball into play in a legal manner.
Thanks for the history lesson, Jae!