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Small, but gritty 1929 Hillyard football team

As the Spokane City League started its fifth season in 1929, Hillyard’s football team had yet to win a league game. As Coach Carl Quackenbush welcomed his small Panther team, he wouldn’t comment on its chances, but said the team would be scrappy.

The Panthers were small, but quick. Roy Sandstrom won the starting quarterback job as they narrowly beat Pullman, 6-0, in the opener. The next week the Panthers beat Gonzaga, 7-0, on a Del Jones interception.  Before the game, the local Lions Club presented the team with sideline coats at a cost of $250.

After a non-league win over West Valley, they returned home to Harmon Field to host Lewis and Clark. Once again it was a defensive game as the Panthers edged LC, 6-0, to remain undefeated.

North Central was next and proved too strong for the smaller Hillyard team, winning easily 32-0.

The Panthers finished out the schedule with three more wins. In their final game, they soundly defeated Colville 58-0. They happily celebrated what they thought was the end of their season.

The next day, the Seattle American Legion called, asking for a team to represent the east side of the state to face Fairhaven High of Bellingham at the University of Washington Stadium on Thanksgiving Day. League champion North Central had to turn down the offer because of a previously scheduled game against Lewis and Clark.

Hillyard accepted the offer.  About 500 fans saw the team off at the Great Northern Station and 200 were in attendance for the Seattle game.

It was another close contest, with Fairhaven scoring after a poor Hillyard punt attempt. It turned out to be the game’s only points, as the Panthers lost 7-0.  Still, Hillyard finished 7-2, knowing they had represented Spokane well in the cross-state match-up.




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Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.





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