The Football Game
Thanksgiving Day was all but pleasant, but at 10:28 the Gothenburg team arrived with their tin horns and bouqhets, accompanied by a number of their friends who were interested in the game. Our boys met them at the train and escorted them to the Cornland, where they made their headquarters.
Promptly at twelve o'clock the game commenced with Gothenburg getting the first kick-off; then the sport began. The first accident of any note that occurred befell J.M. Ellingsworth, who while running against Will Edwards slipped and fell, spraining his ankle; he continued to play and at the close of the game he had a badly swollen ankle. The next player to get hurt was Earle Lloyd, who was compelled to leave the ground, and Will Vroman substituted. The game was hotly contested by both sides and was witnessed by a good many spectators. Attorney Ridgley was referee for the Lexington boys, while Clyde Lloyd refereed for the Lake City team. F.L. Temple did the scoring, and at the round-up it was found that the score stood 4 to 0 in favor of the visitors. Thus ended the fist matched game of football ever played in Lexington.
After the Gothenburg boys had eaten turkey at the Cornland they took No. 1 for home, feeling at though they had played ball and that they had been nicely entertained by our boys. The second game will be played at Gothenburg Christmas.
The teams were composed of the following players: Lexington - Art Lefland, Will Edwards, Tom Krier, John Anderson, Nick Andrews, Herb Krier, I. Hewitt, Varley Grantham, ----Meritt, Clarence Baldwin, ----Whiteman; Gothenburg - J.M. and Bert Ellingsworth, J.W. Barnard, Frank Miller, Earle Lloyd, W.J. Newman, D.H. and L.R. Carroll, Norman Edwards, Frank Blomquist, Walter Dale, Wm. Vroman, sub.
Article from Lexington News issue dated November 26, 1897
Lexington's First Football Game Fact Sheet
First game Lexington played was against Gothenburg on Thanksgiving Day, 1897.
- Gothenburg boys and some friends came to Lex on the train
- The game was played at noon in an open field south of the U.P. Depot (the depot was on the south side of the tracks, just east of Washington St.)
- Gothenburg won 4-0
- After the game the players at turkey dinner at the Cornland Hotel
- A second game was scheduled for the teams in Gothenburg on Christmas Day
It was a different game in 1897
- The teams did not have uniforms until 1901 or 1902
- The forward pass would not become legal for 13 more years (1910)
- Lexington did not have a team name until 1899, when both the football team, and the newly formed basketball team both adopted Lexington "Tigers"
To put the date into National perspective:
- William McKinley was President of the United States
- 3 years later in 1900 Teddy Roosevelt would become the President
- F.D. Roosevelt was 15 years old (younger than the boys who played)
To put it into perspective locally:
- Lexington High School was held on the second floor of a brand new school (West Ward) located where Bryan School now is
- It would be 1 year (1898) before Lex got it's first telephone system
- It would be 1 year (1898) before Lex got it's first electrical system (to power 22 street lights)
- It would be 11 years (1908) before Lex got it's first sewer and drainage system
- It would be 25 years (1922) before Lex got it's first non-dirt street (brick)