Annual Thanksgiving game almost canceled

From The Register Mail:
In the early years of Knox College football the final game of the season was played against either Lombard or Monmouth colleges on Thanksgiving afternoon. Regardless of weather conditions the games established record attendance figures.

In early November 1910, Lombard College administrators informed Knox College that the Thanksgiving Day game would have to be canceled. The late notice made it virtually impossible to find a substitute opponent.

Initially Lombard administrators declined to reveal why they could not fulfill the Thanksgiving date with Knox, but the truth leaked out. Several members of the Olive & Old Gold football squad had been unceremoniously dismissed from further participation in college activities.

It was found that the guilty football players had become much too hilarious and did things around the domains of the institution of learning which greatly offended Lombard College authorities. It was determined that the offenders were the stars of the gridiron and without them being competitive against Knox College would be impossible.

Just a few days before Thanksgiving there was a sudden change of heart from Lombard College upper brass and they informed Knox College the game was on. As events turned out it would have probably been best for Knox if they had said thanks, but no thanks. In the preliminary curtain raiser, as the reported largest gathering to witness a local sporting event filed in, the Knox Scrubs were whitewashed by St. Albans of Knoxville 10-0.

During the preliminary game the local fire brigade had their turkey dinners disrupted after being called to Willard Field on the Knox campus. It seems that a group of youngsters watching the football action through a picket fence decided to cause their own excitement. They began lighting matches and ignited the grass beside the football turf. What was considered a sort of false alarm was the 155th fire department response of the year, which set a new all-time record.

During the actual football game, the school that is now known as the “Prairie Fire” failed to extinguish the flames of Lombard’s football team, losing 21-17. The margin of Lombard’s victory came off the toe of a lad named Raymond, who drop-kicked three field goals for nine points.
The most sensational run of the day was performed by Gebhart of Knox College in the second quarter. Lombard kicked off in the second quarter and sent the ball into the end zone, where the Knox captain grabbed it and ran it back the length of the field for a five-point touchdown.

Knox College had excellent chances to pull the game out of the fire in the last two minutes by reaching the Lombard 2-yard line three times. On each occasion the Lombard line held Knox out of the end zone. Knox College officials argued to no avail that Lombard students ran onto the field before Knox could complete a final play.