How Punts, Slush, And A Hall-Of-Fame Coach Broke Lafayette’s Funk In 1898
It was that year that the trial of the former Lafayette professor that burned Pardee Hall for the second time went forward, whose vandalism and (what would be called today) terrorism earned him six years in the slammer, after an Easton trial that rocked the community.
It was that summer when the main fighting in the Spanish-American War occurred (with the founder of the Lehigh football team, Richard Harding Davis, as war correspondent), and General Charles Augustus Wilkoff, Lafayette alumnus and resident of Easton, was killed leading his men preparing for an attack on San Juan Hill.
If any souls attending Lafayette were hoping to get an inkling of inspiration from their football team, though, they'd be even more disappointed.
After the not-too-distant glory years of mythical national championships, upsetting Penn in 1896 and being considered a football power in the East, the Leopards fell upon hard times in 1898, losing eight straight in that dreary fall. As Wilkoff was laid to rest on a rainy day in October, and the plans for yet another renovation of Pardee Hall were drawn up, Lafayette had to find out a way to beat Lehigh on Thanksgiving Day.
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