A Clarkson Mosaic - page 30

man named Corson from Dartmouth, and knowing the opposition they faced, the Clarkson team
determined to appear on the field in the best condition possible. Thus, they were going to do the
best job they could against the likes of such players as Edgehill, a huge policeman; Botger,
former Princeton halfback; Turk Gordon, fullback from the University of Buffalo; and others
who were "the pick of the country."
Clarkson had Northern New York's outstanding athlete, "Big Bill" Palmer, at right tackle and
Bill Cheney at fullback, and George Stebbins and Waite at halfback positions; Brandt and
Bergiven at ends; Everett Tilton at quarter; the 135 pounder, Witherstein, at center; and Sperry
and Ward holding down the line positions. Charles Pohl, weighing in at 142 pounds, was the
substitute lineman. In the 1948 &iClarkson &iAlumnus magazine, Harry Waite described the
end of the game:
The game was largely attended as so many Clarkson men came from that section. What the thoughts of
those rooters were in coming to such a supposedly unequal contest is hard to visualize. Perhaps they wanted to be
on hand to carry us off, feeling we would be in safe hands, but it didn't turn out that way. We gave back all that
was dished out to us. We clung to the thought that thinking you can win is the surest way to stave off defeat.
The last 20 seconds found us in possession of the ball and 20 yards to go for a touchdown. Going into the
huddle, George Stebbins called the next two plays, namely, that I should carry the ball to the center of the field as
we were then near the boundary, and then Cheney, the fullback, was to kick a field goal. To do all this meant that
we must be sure of ourselves and move fast, for time was against us. Both plays went off as Stebbins planned
them, and when the ball was sailing over the goal posts, the referee's whistle was blowing to end the game. Score,
Clarkson 5, Watertown 0. Watertown went on that year to beat all other comers and claim the championship of the
"Big Bill" Palmer
. William S. Palmer, born on March 22, 1875, in Fort Covington, N.Y., was
probably the greatest all-around athlete Clarkson ever produced. A three-letter man in track,
football, and baseball, he also was a skillful skater, gymnast, boxer, wrestler, and lacrosse
player. But in football, he was one of the greatest tackles of all time.
Playing right tackle, Palmer also served as the kicker, and frequently raced down the
field so quickly that he tackled the man who had caught his kick-off. He was five feet nine
inches tall, weighed 195, and could run the one-hundred yard dash in under 10 seconds.
Transferring to Clarkson in fall 1899 from Potsdam Normal, Bill stayed only two years,
but made quite a name for himself in that time. In 1901, he made such a showing in Clarkson's
5-0 loss to Syracuse, one of the East's powerhouses at the time, that coaches from all over the
country sought him out. The University of Michigan's Fielding Yost won him over, and he
entered its School of Law in the fall of 1902. On the gridiron, Palmer helped the Michigan's
"point-a-minute" team to run up a season total score of 644 points in 11 games, including one
game in which the final score was 128-0, and to have only 12 points scored on it.
Staying at Michigan for only one semester because of financial problems, he returned to
Northern New York to play for the Watertown professional football team, losing the
championship game to the Franklin (Pennsylvania) team, 6-0 in 1903. In 1904, however, the
Watertown team claimed the professional football championship of the United States, the same
team that Palmer had helped to defeat two years earlier. He died in Fort Covington, N.Y., on
January 19, 1956.
Student Pranks.
F. H. Stebbins '22 liked to relate a story about his early days at Clarkson. He
had enrolled in the class of '02, but circumstances forced him to withdraw, and not return to
complete his degree until 1922. During his first stay on campus, however, he and the other 44
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