Halfback Attack

Halfback Attack by Matt Christopher

Book: Halfback Attack by Matt Christopher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Matt Christopher
1
    The warm Saturday morning sun beat down on the fans filling the bleachers that lined one side of the eighty-yard football
     field. It beat down on Freddie Chase’s back as he crouched in position behind right guard and right tackle.
    The Sandpipers, dressed in bright yellow uniforms, formed a tight line as they faced the green-uniformed Catbirds. The ball
     was on the two-yard line, and the Catbirds were trying for the extra point.
    “One! Two! Hike!”
    The quarterback took the snap, turned, and handed it off to the fullback. The fullback tucked the ball against his chest and
     charged toward the right side of the Sandpipers’ line. Freddie plunged forward, closing the narrow hole that split open betweenright guard Harry Lott and right tackle Steve Cook.
    But all at once a white helmet with a bird painted on its front hit him on the chest. He bounced back like a rubber ball.
     A whistle pierced the air, and Freddie saw the boy in the white helmet sprawled over the goal line.
    The Catbirds scrambled excitedly to their feet and let out a lusty yell.
    “That’s fourteen for them,” Dick Connors said sourly. He was captain and quarterback for the Sandpipers. “What are we going
     to do — lose every game this year, too?”
    Freddie knew exactly how Dick felt. The Sandpipers hadn’t won a game in two years. A very sad record, indeed. The first league
     games of the season had been played last week, and the Sandpipers had lost theirs to the Flamingos, 21–7.
    So far, in today’s game, the Sandpipers had been doing better. Freddie, who played both offense and defense, had set up a
     touchdown play in the first quarter by intercepting a pass. He had run twenty yards before a Catbird had brought him down.
     On the next play Dick had faked a handoff to Freddie,at right halfback, then passed to right end Milt Grady. Milt went over for the touchdown, and fullback Dennis Yates bucked
     for the extra point.
    But the Catbirds had one of the speediest fullbacks in the league, Ernie Moody. Every time he carried the ball he gained ground.
     He had a funny habit. He was always smiling and clapping his hands. Freddie had thought that Ernie was doing this to keep
     warm, until he realized that after running around so much Ernie really didn’t have to clap his hands anymore. But Ernie kept
     on doing it, and Freddie knew then that it was just Ernie’s way.
    The teams lined up for the kickoff. The referee signaled for the game to start, and Ernie Moody kicked off for the Catbirds.
    Dick Connors caught the end-over-end boot on his twenty-yard line and carried it to his thirty-five.
    Quick as light he leaped to his feet. “Huddle!” he said.
    While they were in the huddle, two players pushed themselves into the group.
    Freddie tensed. So far he had been pulled out of the game for only a few minutes in the first quarter.He didn’t know why, except that he knew Coach Hank Sears believed in playing every boy.
    “Steve and Dave — out!” one of the substitutes said.
    Freddie breathed easier.
    “Crisscross buck,” said Dick. “Bucky takes it. On the two!”
    The team broke out of the huddle and scrambled to the line of scrimmage. The Sandpipers used the T-formation, a seven-man
     line with the quarterback directly behind the center, the fullback directly in line behind the quarterback, and the halfbacks
     on either side of him.
    The play skipped swiftly through Freddie’s mind. He wished he carried, though, instead of Bucky.
    “Down!” snapped quarterback Dick Connors. “One! Two! Hike!”
    Center Stookie Freese snapped the ball. Dick took it and spun around. Freddie shot crosswise in front of him and reached for
     the ball. Then he pulled his arms against him, as if he had the ball, and rushed through the hole between left guard and tackle.
    Right after Freddie did his part, Bucky Jensen raced crosswise in front of Dick from his left halfbackposition. Dick pushed the ball into Bucky’s arms, and Bucky plunged through the

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