The Games

They Fought Like Wildcats Centennial (1914-2014): Occidental holds off last challenge of Arizona’s men who “showed the fight of wild cats”



[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]


General history
J.F. “Pop” McKale
The games
Comparisons then and now
Wildcats nickname
Military service
The players


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]

Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Clipping of actual L.A. Times article published Nov. 8, 1914

Excerpt from L.A. Times, Nov. 8, 1914, authored by Bill Henry:

“Arizona’s cactus-fed athletes, despite heroic efforts on the part of their two halfbacks, (Asa) Porter and (Franklin) Luis, went down to defeat before the Occidental Tigers yesterday afternoon, the tally with all precincts heard from being 14 to 0 in favor of the Tigers.
Confident of rolling up a big score, the Tigers took the field with grins on their faces, but before the game was 10 seconds old they knew they had a battle on their hands.
The Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats and displayed before the public gaze a couple of little shrimps in the backfield who defied all attempts of the Tigers to stop them.”

This site will conduct a countdown in a 100-day period, leading up to Arizona’s 2014 football season-opener with UNLV on Friday at Arizona Stadium. The 100 Days ‘Til Kickoff countdown will include information daily about the historic 1914 Arizona team that helped create the school’s nickname of “Wildcats” because of how they played that fateful day against Occidental.


[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

George Seeley, the "red headed party" as written by the Los Angeles Times' Bill Henry, kept Arizona in the hunt for a victory in its 14-0 loss to Occidental in 1914 (University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

George Seeley, the “red headed party” as written by the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Henry, kept Arizona in the hunt for a victory in its 14-0 loss to Occidental in 1914 (University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

Outmanned Arizona braced to being down only 7-0 entering the fourth quarter against Occidental with the Tigers having two downs to score from the Varsity 1-yard line.

Once again, player-coach Sid Foster went to his bench for fresh legs for a better chance to punch it through to the end zone against Arizona’s feisty defensive front that included an array of experience, ranging from senior Lawrence Jackson to freshman Bill Hendry, on the line.

Foster replaced halfback Carl Brandstetner with Charley Johnson and Johnson ran over the line for a touchdown to open the fourth quarter. Glenn Coffeen kicked the extra point for Occidental, which took a 14-0 lead.

Occidental then went into stall mode, trying to stave off any threat by Arizona.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]


No. 5: How long can Arizona’s opportunistic defense last against Occidental?
No. 5: Arizona remains confident despite Occidental’s repeated failed attempts to score
No. 7: Arizona’s “cactus-fed athletes” convincingly introduce themselves to Occidental
No. 8: Overconfident Occidental suits up for Arizona without head coach, who scouts elsewhere
No. 9: Varsity’s busy pregame preparation against Occidental includes reading letters from co-eds
No. 10: Enthusiastic Varsity travels to Los Angeles to face Occidental
No. 11: Tribute to 1914 team members in lingo of that generation


Caption here

The 1914 Arizona football team that earned the honor of being named the first “Wildcats” was composed of (front row, left to right): Verne La Tourette, George Seeley, Leo Cloud, Richard Meyer, Asa Porter. Second row: Franklin Luis, Lawrence Jackson, Ray Miller, J.F. “Pop” McKale (coach), Turner Smith, Harry Hobson (manager), Orville McPherson, Albert Crawford, Ernest Renaud. Back row: Albert Condron, Emzy Lynch, Charley Beach, Vinton Hammels, Bill Hendry, George Clawson, Harry Turvey.
( graphic/Photo from University of Arizona Library Special Collections)

[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

What they were talking about on this day in 1914

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 1914

The Boston Braves are a remarkable .001 behind the New York Giants for first place in the National League standings after beating the Chicago Cubs 4-1. Boston is 60-49 (.550) while New York is 59-48 (.551). Boston is hot on New York’s tail after trailing by 15 games on July 4.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]


“The last quarter was a stalling exhibition by the Tigers,” Los Angeles Times correspondent Bill Henry wrote. “(Occidental’s Sam) McClung invariably punted as quickly as possible.”

One golden opportunity for Arizona to score and cut into Occidental’s lead resulted in a disappointing turnover.

“Arizona put up a great fight and once had a touchdown almost clinched when (Franklin) Luis, with practically a clear field, fumbled a forward pass and the Tigers were saved,” Henry wrote.

Henry’s last paragraph in that fabled Times story that includes his passage that the “Arizona men showed the fight of wild cats” refers to an obscure “red-headed party who was injected into the game at right end for the Prohibitionists” during the last quarter. Thank goodness Arizona did not cling to “Prohibitionists” as its nickname.

“(The redhead) played great … being on the receiving end of a couple of forward passes, intercepting a couple more and downing Foster in his tracks on every punt,” Henry wrote.

The redhead Henry referred to was later identified as freshman end George Seeley in Arizona’s Desert Yearbook that school year.

“‘The red haired individual’ made his name in the Oxy game and his Sophomore year should land him a regular berth,” the yearbook states.

The yearbook describes the final quarter against Occidental this way:

“The final quarter commenced with Oxy putting in their special line plunger Johnson and carrying the ball over on the first buck, Coffeen kicking goal. The balance of the game was a ‘stalling exhibition’ on the part of the Tigers, with Arizona fighting gamely. Once we had a touchdown all but earned, when a fumble on a forward pass put the expectation to the winds. Thus ended a great game, and Oxy had the surprise of her life. Of course we all wished a victory, but surely had no cause to feel ashamed of the results for everybody had fulfilled a duty and every man on the team played for all that was in him. That evening the squad said ‘adios’ to one another and scattered around the city among their friends and to take in the entertainments. No one was the worse for the day, except a few bruises. Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock the bunch gathered at the station and said farewell to the City of the Angels.”

Tomorrow: Arizona returns home to a boisterous campus and shuts out New Mexico State. publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top