Reviews of the programs for the athletic banquets for years 1908-10 (Carlisle’s athletic banquets covered calendar years not school years) found no mention of John Russeau (in any of the various spellings). That means that he didn’t get enough playing time in any of the varsity sports to letter at Carlisle. That he appeared in the 1908 team photo shows that he was on the team, probably as one of the scrubs. That he was assigned the task of coaching the Painters implies that Pop Warner thought he understood the game well enough to teach younger players how to play the game. Unfortunately, he is also credited with some things that he most likely didn’t do.
For example, his Rice Lake Hall of Fame biography includes this statement: “John played at tackle and end on both sides of the line and scored two touchdowns, one on a 20 yard pass reception against Baltimore College in 1906 and the other on a fumble recovery in the end zone against Carlisle Prep College.” The Carlisle varsity never played a Baltimore College. However, Baltimore City College was playing high school teams around that time and may have played Carlisle’s Second Team (sometimes called “The Hustlers”). There was no school called Carlisle Prep College but Dickinson College did have a preparatory school, (called Conway Hall from 1905 to 1917) that Carlisle’s varsity annihilated in 1908 53-0 when the season opener with Albright College fell through because they didn’t field a team that year. It’s quite possible that John Russeau recovered a fumble in the end zone against them because everyone got to play in blowouts like that one. He may have gotten into the game with Mt. St. Mary’s if it had materialized.
The Second Team was to play home games against the Swatara team of Steelton on October 10 and Conway Hall on Thanksgiving. They were also to play road games in Washington and Baltimore. The Third Team (also called “The Hustlers”) also had a schedule of games against athletic clubs, college reserves and prep schools. John probably played in several of these games, one of which was played in Baltimore against Walbrook Athletic Club. This punting contest played in a snowstorm which made it unlikely that Russeau caught a pass in that game. He probably played in several second and/or third team games and may have scored in some of them. But there is no evidence found of him playing in a varsity game.
To be continued…