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High School Football
Last night I got to watch a NFL exhibition game in Minneapolis MN between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. Pretty good game with Vikings winning 21-20 late.
Also last night over much of the country high school football got underway. Next week the college game will kick off.
Growing up in New Jersey I always knew that the first collegiate football game was played between Princeton and Rutgers in 1869.
Rutgers and Princeton have not played since 1980 in fact Rutgers has never played another in-state college since 1980. That will change in 2020 when Rutgers out of the Big 10 plays the Monmouth Hawks who is a member of the Big South Conference.
I got wondering did high school football get its start in New Jersey also? Well the answer is no.
The first game was played in 1862 at the Boston Common in Boston MA. This 50 acre park is the oldest city park in the country. Today the park includes ballfields, a tot lot and the Frog Pond, which provides skating in winter and a spray pool for children in the summer. The team that played the first game was called the Oneida Football Club and was made of 16 boys
If you go to the Boston Common not far from the Frog Pond you will find a monument to the Oneida boys, which was dedicated in 1925 in a ceremony attended by six surviving team members (top photo below) In 2012 to mark the 150th anniversary of a high school football game descendants of the those football players gathered at that monument. (bottom photo below).
The Oneida Football Club had thirteen of its 16 players attended Epes Sargent Dixwell’s Private Latin School, better known as Dixwell. Today that school’s history is part of The Noble and Greenough School, commonly known as Nobles.
If you want to read a fascinating article on the Oneida Football Club click this link. A great part of the story is how the monument got changed with a soccer ball. If you look close at photos above you can see it.