Official Nebraska Government Website Nebraska State Historical Society

Gates Gridiron Greats

In honor of all those who face combat on the football fields this fall, here's a report on Gates
College (Neligh) team of 1895. "On Friday evening last the Gates College football team,
accepting a challenge from the Y.M.C.A. of Omaha, went down for the first game of the
season. Manager Gregory and the coach Brown called fourteen husky men together and went
down to smite the Philistines. The fact that our team had only three days coaching made little
difference in our enthusiasm. We were going to do our best. As the Y.M.C.A. has been in
the hands of the coaches about two months they confidently expected to rub us into the earth
to the time of about 100 to 0. Promptly at 3:30 on Saturday afternoon the teams lined up.

"Gates won the toss. Ellis took the pigskin in his bosom and started on the return trip of
about twenty-five yards. The ball was downed and after three attempts and gains by the halfs
and full back the ball went to Omaha. Then began the rockiest work the Gates boys have
ever been compelled to meet. Slugging in the line became the order and it seemed as though
fouling was impossible. The Y.M.C.A.'s uttered short sentences copied from their Bibles
only in inverted order. They by strong interference went around the right end for a touch
down and goal, 6-0.

Kick off by Ellis and when the scrimmages began the Gates boys had learned a few things
and as a result made some tackles behind Omaha's line. Superior blocking and interference
won Omaha another touch down. This was repeated until the score was 32-0 in favor of the
Y.M.C.A.'s. The number of fouls made was something awful but some way no one saw
them. The damaged condition of both teams showed that somebody did slugging. Ellis and
Free were hurt during the last half and relieved; Gardner, the opposite fullback, was badly
hurt during the last half and started to leave the gridiron but his paternal ancestor got excited,
rushed out of the crowd and ordered the boy 'stay by 'er.' The old gentleman evidently
thirsted for gore.

"The Y.M.C.A. team was satisfied that they had to work hard for the score and the Gates
boys were satisfied to hold the winner down as well as they did. The Omaha's have been
training under coaches about two months. The coach had been with the Gates team only
three days. Hence the superior skill of the victors. Our team needs only practice to make it a
first class team."


Return to Timeline Index


NSHS Home  |  Search  |  Index  |  Top
Last updated 14 September 2005

For questions or comments on the website itself, email 
Nebraska State Historical Society - P.O. Box 82554, 1500 R Street, Lincoln, NE 68501
Nebraska State Government Homepage
 |  Website Policies  |  © 2009 All Rights Reserved