Devout Newton football fans (aren’t we all?) will tell you that the sport in Cardinal Country dates back to 1903, when the Rev. R. F. Chambers, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, and Roy Fisk coached the “Newton Outlaws” to a 2-2-0 record.
Imagine my surprise, while reading microfilmed newspapers at the Newton Public Library, when I came across an item in The Newton Journal, a Republican weekly, announcing a “foot-ball match” to be played “between the Public School Club and a club from Wormley’s Academy” at “the old ball ground” (wherever that was), Nov. 12, 1885.
The public school team was also referred to as the “Union school club.” Wormley’s Academy was, of course, Hazel Dell Academy, which Prof. George W. Wormley purchased from its founder, Prof. Darius Thomas, in 1884.
“The contest is for a superb foot-ball, to be given to the winning club by Messrs. Carrier & Larimer, the ‘Famous’ boot and shoe men,” the Journal announced. Carrier & Larimer was the Newton firm of Milt A. Carrier and Robert “Bob” Larimer.
The game was to commence at 3:30 p.m. “The boys would like to see a big crowd present,” the paper said.
Happily, we have the results of this early scrimmage.
“After a spirited and stoutly contested game the honors fell to the Union school club,” the Journal reported on Nov. 18, 1885. The Public School Club beat the Wormley school by 3 goals to 2.
“Of course, the boys were happy.”