Dakota Datebook

The Football Game

Monday, November 12, 2007

On this date in 1894, the Fargo Agricultural College football team won the inter-collegiate state championship. It beat the Grand Forks University team for the second time of the year, by a score of 24 to 4. It was not a game that was won however, without a bit of controversy.
The object of contention involved a disputed player on both teams.
The Agricultural College boys would have preferred that the University College boys would have observed the league rule, and not play their coach, Moloney. Under the rules, only undergraduates should play in college games.
The Grand Forks boys on the other hand, under the leadership of Manager Bechdolt, protested one of the “farmers’ college’s” players. The Fargo Manager insisted on playing Professor Hinebaugh, who the Grand Forks team considered a “professional”. He far outranked the other players in size and knowledge of the game. The protest fell on deaf ears however, and rather than risk having to pay their own expenses, the University team instead, played the game under protest.
At the end of the first half, the “farmers” from Fargo outscored the Grand Forks team 16-0. In the damp and muddy field in Fargo, the boys from the university were able to score only four points in the second half. The “farmers” were able put eight more points on the scoreboard.
For the Fargo team, it was a good day. No accidents were reported during the game, that were serious enough to “lay anybody out.” Also, a crowd of interested spectators from both Fargo and Grand Forks took in the game. Because of this, the Agricultural College boys were able to sell enough tickets to nearly cover their expenses.
After losing the game they played under protest, the University team along with their fans, returned by train to Grand Forks.
The reporter for the Fargo Forum and Republican ended his account of the sporting event by observing, “Under the circumstances, it will probably be some time before the two teams engage in another contest.”
The Fargo Forum and Republican, Tuesday Evening, November 13, 1894. Pg. 4.

Written by Dave Seifert

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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