This photo of the 1909 West Wyoming High School football team is courtesy of Wendy Trost, who is the granddaughter of one of the players, Kirkland MacDougall, fourth from the left in the photo.
There were no conferences, leagues or PIAA in 1909. Many of the teams with school names used players who were not students or who were post graduates, but the West Wyoming team did not. All the players were West Wyoming students.
The team had a heck of a season. They played eight games, winning seven, outscoring opponents 91-5. They beat six high school teams — Forty Fort, Ashley, Plymouth, West Pittston, Firwood (Wilkes-Barre) and Hanover Twp. They beat Ceresotas, a flour company, and lost to Nanticoke ex-high, a team of Nanticoke High School post graduates, 5-0. Touchdowns were 5 points in 1909.
Fields were wide open. When West Wyoming beat West Pittston 5-0 on the River Common in West Pittston, the Pittston Gazette wrote: “fans surged around players so closely it was impossible for them to move freely.”
The game on the field was vastly different and even more dangerous than the modern game. Ten college players were killed on the field in 1909.
Teams arranged their own schedules, usually requesting games through newspaper ads.
Players were tiny. In ads for games, West Wyoming requested games with “any team averaging 125 pounds.”
Kirkland MacDougall is the only player positively identified in this photo, which shows 11 of the 16 players known to be with the team: James Shoemaker, John Shoemaker, Hessler, Sidney Robbins, Roland Robbins, Hughes, Austin, Dailey, Ridgley, Barrett, Harry Carey, Matt Carey, Jay Shoemaker, VanWhy and Wolf.
On this day in history.....
On October 1, 1917, 10,000 people gathered around the four story Haltzel Furniture Store on South Main Street between Charles and Market to watch John “The Human Fly” Williams climb up face to the building.
From the Pittston Gazette: “Williams travels all over the world performing such stunts.”
The stunt was sanctioned by Mayor Donnelly and police closed Main Street during the climb.