Sports / October 29, 2009

‘Purple and Gold’ unstoppable in 1919

The 1919 Knox College football team (8-0) is the only football team to go undefeated in the 118-year history of the football program.

The team, coached by Justin McCarthy Barry, had 18 players and a manager — Walter Scharfenberg, ‘21.

The 1919 season started out strong, as team members Adolph “Ziggy” Hamblin, ‘20, Temple “Tink” Price, ‘22, Walt Shafer, ‘22, Freeman “Fatty” Campbell, ‘21 and Imig returned to school after serving in the United States Armed Forces. They joined teammates Bennett, Lane Bridgford, ‘19, Tom Rogers, ‘20, Les Pritchard, ‘21, Frank Welch, ‘22, D. Zenor “Zeke” Field, ‘22, Stewart “Bud” Ross, ‘21, Otis “Otie” Morrison, ‘26, Claude Ludwick, ‘23, Theodore Bergstrom, ‘23, Richard “Doc” Dicus, ‘23, Harlow Gaylord, ‘23 and Glenn Wells, ‘23. Team captains were Bennett and Imig.

The “Purple and Gold” faced Carthage College in their first game of the season, defeating them by a margin of 57-0. The following Saturday, Knox took on Cornell College. The game was scoreless until the last ten minutes, when Bennett blocked a punt and Campbell fell on the ball for a touchdown. Knox won the game by a score of 6-0.

Knox’s “Purple and Gold” continued to blaze through the rest of their opponents, defeating Beloit College 30-0, Illinois College 54-0 and Augustana College 27-0. Knox’s perfect season of not allowing a score ended when Lake Forest College managed to score seven points in their 75-7 loss to Knox. Lake Forest was the only team to score against the team. The “Purple and Gold” went on to defeat Lombard College 15-0 and ended their season on Thanksgiving Day when they faced archrival Monmouth College and defeated them by a score of 31-0.

In addition to being undefeated throughout the season, the team was Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champions, scoring a total of 295 points to their opponents seven during the season.

Hamblin, whom Hamblin Hall is named after, is the only 12-letter winner in the history of Knox. He participated in track, baseball and basketball, as well as football.

The Knox College Sports Information Department contributed to this article.

Matthew Wheaton

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