1903 Carlisle Indians football team

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1903 Carlisle Indians football
Conference Independent
1903 record 11–2–1
Head coach Pop Warner (5th season)
Captain Jimmy Johnson
← 1902
1904 →

The 1903 Carlisle Indians football team represented the Carlisle Indians football team of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School during the 1903 college football season. The Indians were coached by Pop Warner in his fifth year as head coach. The team compiled a record of 11–2–1 and outscored opponents 274 to 62.

In 1903, an Indian team coached by Warner first employed its infamous "hidden-ball play" against heavily favored Harvard. Warner, as coach at Cornell, had already used it against Penn State in 1897, but it had not achieved much notice. Carlisle led Harvard at halftime, and hoping to keep the game's momentum, Warner elected to try the play on the ensuing kickoff. Harvard executed the kick, and the Indians formed a circle around the returner. With the aid of a specially altered jersey, the ball was placed up the back of the returner. The Indians broke the huddle and spread out in different directions. Each player feigned carrying the ball, except Dillon, the man with the ball up the back of his jersey. The ruse confused the Crimson players, and they scrambled to find the ball carrier. Dillon, with both his hands free, was ignored by the searching Harvard players, and he ran untouched into the end zone. With the score, Carlisle extended its lead to 11–0, but Harvard came back and eventually won 12–11. Nevertheless, the close match, and trick play, resulted in national attention.[1][2] Warner had learned the trick from John Heisman while facing Auburn in 1895 during his tenure as coach of the Georgia Bulldogs.[3]

Quarterback and captain Jimmy Johnson was selected All-American by Walter Camp. "Camp based his selection on a remarkable game he witnessed when Carlisle played Harvard. Johnson was small but fiery, and was a leader."[4]


Date Opponent Site Result
September 19 Lebanon Valley Indian Field • Carlisle, PA W 28–0  
September 26 Gettysburg Indian Field • Carlisle, PA W 46–0  
October 3 vs. Bucknell Williamsport, PA W 12–0  
October 10 at Franklin & Marshall Lancaster, PA W 30–0  
October 17 at Princeton Osborne FieldPrinceton, NJ L 11–0  
October 24 Swarthmore Indian Field • Carlisle, PA W 12–5  
October 31 at Harvard Harvard StadiumAllston, MA L 12–11  
November 7 at Georgetown Georgetown Field • Washington, DC W 28–6  
November 14 at Penn Franklin FieldPhiladelphia, PA W 16–6  
November 21 at Virginia Norfolk, VA T 6–6  
November 26 at Northwestern Chicago, IL W 28–0  
December 19 at Utah Cummings FieldSalt Lake City, UT W 22–0  
December 25 at Reliance Athletic Club San Francisco, CA W 23–0  
January 1 at Sherman W 12–6  


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gridiron Guts: The Story of Football's Carlisle Indians, NPR, May 19, 2007.
  2. ^ Football, the Indian Way, Newsweek, April 27, 2007.
  3. ^ Cook, William. Jim Thorpe: A Biography. p. 27. 
  4. ^ "Jimmy Johnson". College Football Hall of Fame Website. 2010. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ "1903 Carlisle Indian Schedule and Results".