Saturday, December 09, 2006

The 1906 Madison High School football team "was a machine, not a bunch of individual players"

In 1906, the Madison [Central] High School team was still playing home games at Camp Randall. The new high school building on Wisconsin Avenue was under construction, so the Madison High School students were scattered around Downtown Madison. The Class of 1907 spent its final year in "the most disreputable" facility: the combined engine house and police station. But the school still managed to have a successful football team

"In spite of the obstacle of having no gymnasium and no regular football field, last year the Madison High School boasted of a wonderful team, a team that was probably better than the famous one of '97," wrote the editors of the 1907 Tychoberahn.

Below is a photo of the 1906 Madison High School football team. The photo caption is from the Tychoberahn. Long-time Madisonians probably will recognize the surnames of some team members.

Upper row from left to right: George Wahl, William Hammersley, Basil, Casey, Alfred Buser, Melvin J. White, Percy Mehlig, Louis Heyl, Perry Fess, and John Edwin Moll.

Lower row: Mandus Scott, Everett French, George Trainor, Edward Trainor, Elmo Cooper, James Dean, Walter Wellman, and Thomas Malone.

I am still researching the "who's who" of the Madison High School Class of 1907, although not all football team members were members of that class. John Edwin Moll, who went on to become a football coach at Purdue, is not listed as a member of the Class of 1907 in the Tychoberahn. It's likely he graduated in 1908. Tragically, he died on Christmas Day in 1912 (click on one of the links to read his obituary). Alfred Buser graduated in 1907 and was captain of the 1912 University of Wisconsin football team that was undefeated in the Western Conference. If you have any additional information about any of these athletes, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment.

Below is a scan of the page in the 1907 yearbook describing the football team's season. Unfortunately, there is no complete listing of the games played or the final scores.

Note: Double click on either image (the photo or the text from the Tychoberahn) to enlarge it in your browser window.

Updated 12/15/2006

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