1904 Chillicothe Hornets

    Very little is known about the first official year of Chillicothe High School football. The only information regarding this season comes from the 1907-08 Chillicothe Cresset School Yearbook:

      The year 1904 marks "Old Rugby's" first appearance in C.H.S. Before this football was unknown to us, but when, in 1904, our first team was organized, everything was done to make it a success. Only three games were played but we were victorious in two of these.
     The following year the boys became more enthusiastic and did their best. On account of strict rules some of our best players were forced to give up their places to less capable ones but nevertheless they played three games.
     The 1906 team was a decided improvement over the former teams but still was handicapped in a few ways. First, lack of material, second changing of rules, third, lack of scrub team and fourth, lack of foot ball spirit in the school. They played four games and sad to say they lost three.

     There is the complete factual knowledge of the first year of Chillicothe High School Football. However, we can speculate regarding those three opponents. Chillicothe had two colleges in the town at that time: Maupin College and Chillicothe Normal School which later would become Chillicothe Business College. Both schools had football teams at this time, and a possible opponent might be Normal School's Second Team, the equivalent of today's Junior Varsity. Brookfield High School was also playing football at this time, and played the Normal School's varsity team at times. A home and home game with Brookfield is a possibility. It is possible other small towns such as Trenton, Carrollton, Meadville and Breckenridge were also fielding teams and were opponents.
     Football was not necessarily new to the town of Chillicothe. The Chillicothe Constitution Newspaper of September 29, 1902 mentions:

     "The Normal foot ball squad is hard at work for its coming game at Carrollton next Saturday. There have been some changes in the lineup and the home school's team expects to be able to return victors.
     "The local team is also doing hard practice. Manager Walter Jackson is having some difficulty in securing candidates for the difference positions but hopes to be able to present a full team  this week. He has received challenges from Macon and Stanberry and may accept. "

     It is unknown if the "local team" was a group of Chillicothe citizens or Chillicothe High School boys, or never materialized at all. If there was a team, most likely it was a mixture of both students and adults. Town teams were commonplace as was loading high school teams with men in their 20s. There wasn't exactly a lot of rules, officials or governing body for the sport.
     Interest in football grew with the birth of the Boarder Wars in college: Missouri vs. Kansas. Local newspapers played up the contest and ran other scores, primarily from Ivy League schools. A one line mention in the Chillicothe Constitution in 1891 declared that "a foot ball game will be played at the fair grounds and all should attend." There was no mention of the teams or of the result.

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