- - - Shelby Football - Beginnings: 1894 - 1906 - - -

Part V

The 1903 Shelby Football Season
Shelby Daily Globe - August 24, 1903

More rule changes! The one that would be most obvious to players and fans alike required that the football field be marked like a grid. In addition to the yard markers, the rule required that there be lines drawn lengthwise of the field resulting in a "checkerboard" look. This was done to prevent the "mass" formation plays such as the "Flying Wedge", or the "Turtle" which proved to be the cause of many football injuries. No more than seven men were allowed on the line and when play started, they could not form these previously noted formations. These and other changes are outlined in the above article.
The most significant event that occurred in the 1903 preseason, was the decision by Frank Schiffer to require players to sign contracts. This year had been an especially difficult one, determing who would be available to play on Shelby's team on a regular basis. Many potentional players were somewhat uncertain what path they would follow during this up-coming season.
In an attempt to firm up the season's roster, manager Schiffer issued contracts to the players and most signed for the season including Charles Follis. This was the benchmark for establishing Charles Follis as the first black pro football player.
Branch Rickey was offered the coaching position for the 1903 season; he declined but offered to play during the season when his new job as coach for the Delaware High School team allowed it. A. J. Newcomb accepted the position as coach and Smith "Dubbie" Weiser was elected team captain.
Shelby Daily Globe - September 3, 1903


This appears to promote and help build interest in the 1903 football season. However this game was canceled (by Cleveland) at the last minute, resulting in much disappointment for the Shelby fans.
Shelby Beats the "All Cleveland" Team 16 to 0
Shelby Daily Globe - October 5, 1903

Last weeks' disappointment was replaced by high hopes that were certainly fulfilled with this game. It sounds like Charles Follis in a sweep avoided all tacklers with the exception of Scott who had a good shot at him, but Follis apparently vaulted over his tackle and went on for the 70 yard touchdown run. This would have been quite a crowd pleaser!
Shelby Wins Over Marion Team 40 to 0
Shelby Daily Globe - October 12, 1903

The score was such that all of Shelby's players had playing time in the second half. Shelby's 1903 season line-up was as follows:
Smith "Dubbie" Weiser - QB / LE, Sumney (Sonaniey *) - LT, Fred Tucker - LG, Harry McCool - C, Claud Simon - RG, Don Tucker - RE, A. J. Newcomb - QB, Dave Bushey - LH, Bill Harris - LT, Charles Follis - RH, Fred Brightman - FB, Campbell - RG, Branch Rickey - RE

Shelby High School 1903 Football Season Begins Early

Shelby's Daily Globe July 3, 1903 published an article requesting volunteers. A fund raiser was being planned to purchase new football equipment and uniforms for the high school players. The event was held on August 7th and ice cream and cake were sold as well as 5 cent sacks of popcorn and cracker jack. The high school girls organized a kissing booth which was well attended! Sufficient funds were raised to purchase the needed equipment but fell short of what was needed to buy the uniforms.
Shelby High School Team loses season opener to Mansfield 16 to 5
Shelby Daily Globe - October 12, 1903

The 1903 high school team players and lineup were as follows: Guy Cramer + Burton Brickley - LE + RE; Harry Crawford - LT; Harry Brooke - LG; Lawrence Wilhide - C; Harry Walters - RG; Bob Smiley - FB; Carl Sutter - LH (Team Captain); Earl Stambaugh - RH; Ralph Page - RT; Henry Lowe - QB. Howard Hunter, Dale Clark, Joe Guienen and Rolland Moore also played throughout the season.
 1903 Shelby High School Football Schedule
 Shelby High School     Mansfield High School  
 Shelby High School     Galion High School  
 Shelby High School     Galion High School  
 Shelby High School     Galion High School  
 Shelby High School     Shelby Scrubs  
 Shelby High School     Mansfield High School  
Shelby High School in a Tie with Galion - 0 to 0
Shelby Daily Globe - October 19, 1903


This game had the largest attendance at the Shelby Athletic Field for any high school game to this point. The crowd witnessed a fine game of defense and some nice runs by the Shelby team.

Shelby Defeats Ohio Wesleyan University 45 to 0
Shelby Daily Globe - October 19, 1903

This game was played on a field that was muddy at the start and got progressively worse as the game wore on. Branch Rickey was coach of the Wesleyan team and played left halfback. Shelby ran the ball with little opposition. In the twenty minute first half, Shelby scored 39 unanswered points. The rain began to get heavy and the second half was reduced to five minutes. Shelby increased the score to 45. Touchdowns: Bill Harris 3, Dave Bushey 2, Gus Mayer 1, Charles Follis 2 (one on a 80 yard run).
After the game Branch Rickey was asked if he would be available to play on the Shelby team if they played East Akron. He replied that he didn't think he could add anything to the Shelby team and declared, "Follis is a wonder!"
Ohio State Medics Forfeit Game - Shelby 6 - Medics 0
Shelby Daily Globe - October 26, 1903

The pregame hype was that Shelby and the Medics each had identical records with 102 points and none scored against them.
It was to be a great match-up and it was !
The Medics were playing their usual version of the game using dirty tactics, etc. and had gone ahead 11 - 0 in the first half. The second half showed the Shelby team to be gathering strength and perhaps the Medics were fading a bit. Rickey was added to the Shelby squad and alternated running with Follis; Shelby slowly began to move the ball toward the Medic goal. Then a close call for a first down went against the Medics; they failed by two inches. The Medics were upset about the measurement. (It was attested to by the Medics team captain.) With the ball in Shelby's possession on the Medics' 15 yard line, and their team obviously tiring, Medics Coach Reisling and the team walked off the field. They were warned that if they didn't continue, they would forfeit the game 6 - 0 and their portion of the gate receipts. After numerous warnings, the Medics' coach and team left the game.
The Medic team fired their coach soon after the Shelby game.
Ohio Northern University 23 - Shelby 0
Shelby Daily Globe - November 2, 1903


Shelby was handed their first defeat of the year and returned home with two players with major injuries. Branch Rickey who was playing left end recovered an Ada fumble in the first half and suffered an ankle broken in two places. He had to be carried from the field. Later in the first half captain Dubbie Weiser, after carrying the ball on a left end sweep, was tackled and in falling, struck his head on a pole knocking himself unconscious. He was carried from the field, thus removing both of the first string ends from the balance of the game. The injuries removed the spark from the Shelby team and they were unable to recover, losing the game 23 - 0.
Shelby Daily Globe - November 5, 1903


This article gives a good thumbnail sketch of Branch Rickey's accomplishments to this point in his career. East Akron is attempting to schedule a game with the "All Coach Team"and will give up it's game with Shelby if they can arrange it.
Shelby 22 - Columbus Panhandles 5
Shelby Daily Globe - November 9, 1903


This game was played at home without the services of Branch Rickey, Smith Weiser, and Fred Tucker who were injuried in the previous week's game. Many more injuries occured in this game. The Panhandles' quarterback had ligaments torn in his right leg, and Follis and Overton had shoulder ligaments torn and bruised. Grim, Campbell, and Follis each scored touchdowns for Shelby.

Shelby High School 31 - Shelby Scrubs 0
Shelby Daily Globe - November 14, 1902


In an article in the November 4th Globe, the Shelby High School second team "Scrubs" issued a challenge to their first string football brothers. Although the "Scrubs" put up a good initial fight, it wasn't long before reality set in. The game ended being a bit of an embarrassment to the "Scrubs" as they were unable to put any points on the board. The crowd enjoyed a well-played game and a good effort by the challengers.

Shelby A. C. 11 - Lorain A. C . 0
Shelby Daily Globe - November 16, 1903


This game would be for the Championship of the Athletic Clubs of the State of Ohio. Most of the previously injuried Shelby players had mended somewhat and were back in action. The first half seemed to be a "good ole buddy" time. It was almost like Shelby was saving itself from possible injuries to prepare for the up-coming Thanksgiving game with Ohio Northern. The teams got serious in the second half, with Shelby scoring a touchdown on line bucks and Follis scoring on a 30 yard run. Final score: Shelby A. C. 11 and Lorain A.C. 0.
Shelby Daily Globe - November 25, 1903


This sounds like a great argument, however, Shelby will play Ohio Northern University again in two days. That could have a big effect on East Akron's statement.

Shelby Daily Globe - November 25, 1903


What a promotion ! This WILL be a great game !
Shelby A. C. Wins over Ohio Northern University 21 to 5
Shelby Daily Globe - November 27, 1903

Shelby's last game of the 1903 season was a rematch with the team who gave them their only defeat. Billed as the Thanksgiving Day game, the Shelby team gave their hometown fans something to be thankful for - a win over Ohio Northern University, 21 to 5. As the article reads, a decided win would give hope that the Shelby team would have an advantage in gaining the state championship over the East Akron team should Akron win their up-coming game with Massilion.
The game itself was close at first with Dave Bushey scoring the first touchdown, later to be followed by a place kick by O. N. U.'s McKowen for 5 points. The half ended with the score Shelby - 6, O.N.U. - 5. Hafftime festivities included a performance by the band complete with a parade of fans and players (including O.N.U.).
The second half was all Shelby's game. Even employing the "Indian trick" ruse of hiding the ball under their sweater, the O.N.U. team was unable to add to their 5 points. Dave Bushey scored his second touchdown and Campbell also added one, while Grim finished Shelby's scoring with a place kick just before the end of the game.
It was truly a fine day for Shelby football fans and players alike. Now the Shelby "rooters" would have to wait for the results of the East Akron A. C. - Massilion A. C. game.

Nineteen Die From Football This Year
Shelby Daily Globe - November 28, 1903


Despite the new ruling requiring the "checkerboard" field and the limited number of lineman, the deaths continued to rise. It can be attributed to the greater number of those participating in the sport, but it is also obvious that better protective equipment is needed. The photos show the majority of the players do not wear any head protection. The "long haired boys" approach is still being used in most areas. The helmets that are worn are merely a leather head covering and do not provide much protection when head to head collisions occur, or when coming in contact with "a pole" as was Dubbie Weiser's fate. More rules will have to be made and obstacles on the field of play will be moved and slowly the game will become safer for all.
Shelby Daily Globe - December 1, 1903


While stating that "The East Akron Athletic Club does not think it proper to play football games and claim championships through the columns of the newspapers; we can't stand idly by and let Shelby make such ridiculous and unsportsmanlike insinuations without a just reply, and simply, and sincerely trusting you will kindly give us space for the following" the East Akron Athletic Club's claims appeared in the pages of the Daily Globe.
Massilion - 12 and East End Akron - 0
Shelby Daily Globe - December 7, 1903


Then the following week, East Akron A. C. was again up to their same "dirty" tricks, but Massilion brought a team that would overcome them and win 12 to 0. The results of this December 5th defeat cleared the way for Massion to win the state championship in 1903.

 1903 Shelby High School Football Season Results
 Shelby High School  5   Mansfield High School  16
 Shelby High School  0   Galion High School  0
 Shelby High School  20   Galion High School  0
 Shelby High School  0   Galion High School  22
 Shelby High School  31   Shelby Scrubs  0
 Shelby High School  0   Mansfield High School  17

 1903 Shelby Athletic Club Football Season Results
Shelby Athletic Club  16 All Cleveland All Stars  0
Shelby Athletic Club  41   Marion A. C.  0
Shelby Athletic Club  45   Ohio Wesleyan University  0
Shelby Athletic Club  6   Ohio State Medics  0
Shelby Athletic Club  0   Ohio Northern University  23
Shelby Athletic Club  22   Columbus Panhandles  5
Shelby Athletic Club  11   Lorain A. C.  0
Shelby Athletic Club  21   Ohio Northern University  5
Shelby Athletic Club  162   Opponents  33


Part I

 1894 - 1898 Teams

Part II

 1899 - 1900 Teams

  Part III

  1901 Teams

  Part IV

  1902 Teams

 Part V

  1903 Teams

  Part VI

  1904 Teams 

* "The History of Shelby Football 1894 - 1985", written by Fred Eichinger, published ca. 1986.

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