1903 Carlisle-Utah Game

Not too long ago, I was asked why Carlisle chose to play Utah on its post-season trip to California. After all, the teams had no history of playing each other and the University of Utah didn’t have the reputation of being a big-time football power. So, why did Pop Warner arrange to play its only game ever with Utah on December 19, 1903?

The first hint that Carlisle was planning post-season play that year was a piece in the November 13 edition of The Red Man and Helper ironically titled “Haskell’s Well Wishes” in which Haskell Superintendent H. B. Peairs was quoted as saying, “We hope now to see Northwestern [Carlisle’s last regular season opponent] beat Carlisle, as Carlisle has refused for three years to give us a game, saying that we were not in their class. If Northwestern beats them, they may come down a peg or two.”

Carlisle’s unattributed response probably came from Warner: “Haskell has never asked Carlisle for a game of football until after our schedule has been completed. We have never asserted that Haskell was not in Carlisle’s class. A comparison of the records of the two teams makes that unnecessary. We congratulate Haskell upon her good showing in the game against Chicago.” This response implies that, if Carlisle was considering post-season games, the schedule had been set already and Haskell had asked too late to get on the schedule. These words could be interpreted two different ways:

1) The comments were meant to be complimentary to Haskell as their win-loss records were comparable to Carlisle’s at that time.

2) It was a bit of a shot because, even though Haskell had a good record, its competition wasn’t at the same level as Carlisle’s. Also, Haskell had just lost to Chicago 17-11 where Carlisle had a winning record against contenders for being the Champions of the West.

Carlisle and Haskell would finally meet the next year, in 1904, but that is another story.

To be continued…

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2 Responses to “1903 Carlisle-Utah Game”

  1. richard sundahl Says:

    i love your site .my granddan played in 1904/1905/1906/1908 his name is paul laroque. allways love to hear his storys of hes days at carlise.he met his wife at the haskel/carlise game in 1904.

    • tombenjey Says:

      Thank you for commenting, Richard. I would love to hear more about your grandparents meeting at that historic game at the St. Louis World’s Fair. If I remember correctly, your grandfather was from Minnesota. Where was your grandmother from?

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