The First Football Game – 118 years ago today

On this day 118 years ago, Wofford and Furman played the first intercollegiate football game in the state of South Carolina.  The account of the game, written by a Wofford student journalist in The Wofford College Journal and published in January 1890, is reprinted below.

On Saturday morning, December 14, 1889, the foot ball teams of Furman University and Wofford College played a very interesting and exciting game at the Encampment Grounds, Spartanburg, S.C.

The players were: Furman– Jones, Hammett, Young, Sneider, Padgett, Lott, Edwards, Little, Rodgers, and Tate.  Substitutes: Wilkins, Scott, and Sirrine.

Wofford– Bruce, Bearden, Clyde S., Bearden, Clyde H., Covington, Ellerbe, Flemming, Hayes, McRoy, Rankin, and Rouquie.  Substitutes: Dent and Calhoun.

The Wofford team wished association rules to govern the game, but Furman protesting, after some discussion, it was decided to play by the old rough-and-tumble rules.

Prof. J. H. Marshall umpired with great satisfaction to both sides.  The game lasted one hour and a half, with two fifteen minute rests, and was won with ease by Wofford, the score being five to one.

Furman’s team did some good playing, but it was evident from the first that the superior strength and skill of the Wofford boys would win the game.

Much of Wofford’s success was due to the instruction of Edwin Kerrison, Esq., a graduate of Yale, who kindly trained the team and acted as coacher during the contest.

The game was replete with good plays.  Bruce and Haynes did good work, while the goal kick of Bearden has scarcely been excelled on a foot ball field.

The visiting team left on the afternoon train wiser and sadder men, having learned though “they receive instruction in their heads, not feet” at Furman, a little education of the pedal extremities is requisite to make good foot ball players.

Another game will be played in Greenville Saturday, January 14.  The boys will go under the management of Prof. Marshall, whose efforts to establish athletic sports at Wofford deserve the greatest commendation.
— G. Rouquie.

In this photo, of the class of 1891, are at least three members of the team. Gabriel Rouquie, the author of this piece, is the first person on the left in the middle row.  W. W. Bruce is the fourth person on the middle row.  J. L. Flemming is directly behind Bruce. 

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