3:04 PM Sunday, October 3 @ Rock Island - Douglas Park - 3,110

The Lineups:

Rock Island.........vs..............Muncie Fitzgerald.............. C..................Floyd Wyland................ LG...............J. Hole Lyle......................RG..........Hathaway Shaw.....................LT....... ..........Berns Buland..................RT..................Davis Smith.....................LE.................Reese Marshall...............RE.................Helvie Ursella......(C).......QB...........Checkaye Chicken.................RH..............Erehart Wyman.................LH.............M. Hole Mansfield..............FB.....(C)....Huffine







Muncie Flyers






R.I. Independents






RI Wyman 35yd Block Punt Return (Ursella 1pt)
RI Wyman 0yd Blocked punt recovery (Ursella 1pt)
RI Ursella 1yd Run (Ursella 1pt)
RI Ursella 25yd FG - Drop Kick (3pt)
RI Wyman 86 yd Kickoff Return (Ursella 1pt)
RI Nichols 5yd Run (Marshall 1pt)
RI Kuehl 7yd Run (Marshall 1pt)

Scores Two Touchdowns on Blocked Punts. One on 86-yard Kickoff Run. - New Men Thrill
By Bruce Copeland

“Muncie won the toss and chose to defend the east goal. Wyland kicked off at 3:04 to M. Hole on the 6-yard line. Hole started a wide run toward the north line and was spilled by Smith on the 30-yard line.”

Game Summary by RII.com

Thus began the historic game between the Rock Island Independents and the Muncie Flyers. The game kicked off at 3:04 PM C.S.T.

The game in Rock Island Illinois between the Independents and the Muncie Flyers and the game in Dayton Ohio between the Columbus Panhandles and the Dayton Triangles were the first games between teams in the newly formed American Professional Football Association, the league that 2 years later would become the National Football League. The Independents beat the Flyers 45 – 0 while the Triangles beat the Panhandles 14 – 0.

Muncie started their first drive on their own 30-yard line. M. Hole hit right tackle for 2 yards. Baldwin slipped outside Shaw for 3 more. Huffine failed to gain through center. With the ball at the 35-yard line Kenneth Huffine and the Flyers lined up for one of the first ever punts of the league. Big Ed Shaw out of the University of Nebraska broke through the Muncie line and blocked the punt. Arnie Wyman scooped up the ball and dodged through a broken field and then across the goal line for the leagues first ever touchdown. Rube Ursella added the extra point. After 3 minutes of play. ROCK ISLAND, 7; MUNCIE 0.

Wyland kicked to M. Hole who returned the ball 17 yards to his 20. Muncie lined up in punt formation and Hole shot a pass up center to Huffine for a 1 yard gain. On 3rd down Muncie punted to Ursella who was chased out at his 43-yard line. Erehart and the Flyers took time out. The Independents once again started the game with Chicken, Fitzgerald, and Marshall in the backfield. Fred Chicken the 32 year old, 183 pound back took the first carry through right tackle for a 6 yard gain. Ursella went around right end and broke across the 50 and carried the ball to the 21-yard line. Chicken ran for another 11 and inside the 10-yard line. The Independents pounded the ball down to the 2 and decided to go for it on 4th and goal. Chicken fumbled near the goal line and M. Hole recovered.


Escaping the score and pinned deep in their own territory, the Flyers were happy to punt the ball. Huffine lined up deep in his own end zone. Walt Buland broke through the Flyers line and blocked another punt. Arnie Wyman found himself in the right position again and fell on the ball in the end zone for his second touchdown. Ursella kicked the goal. ROCK ISLAND 14; MUNCIE 0.

Wyland kicked to Huffine who brought the ball out across the 20. The Flyers started the drive at their 29. Wyland broke through the line and tackled Huffine in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. The Independents once again held the Flyers to a punt. Huffine stood on his 16-yard line and signaled for the snap. Shaw and Smith crashed through the line and blocked the 3rd punt of the game for the Independents. Dewey Lyle raced over and picked up the ball and took it across the goal for what appeared to be the 3rd blocked punt for a touchdown. Umpire Welsh ruled that Lyle had stepped out of bounds at the 15-yard line. The Independents sent their offense onto the field. Chicken lost 5, Ursella gained 10, and Chicken plunged through center for 4. The independents went back to Chicken on 4th and 1 and Chicken  carried to the 2-yard line. On 2nd down and goal, Ursella broke through center for a 1 yard touchdown. Ursella added his 3rd goal kick.  ROCK ISLAND 21; MUNCIE 0.

Wyland kicked to Checkaye who returned ran 10 yards before Mansfield made a nice tackle. The quarter ended and the teams switched sides. On 4th down the Flyers punted. Mansfield took the ball from his 26 and headed up field. Mansfield was hit by Berns and Baldwin as he approached the 50. On 2nd and 4 Wyman lofted a deep pass to Smith, Baldwin and Huffine were running with Smith and were able to knock the ball loose of Smith’s hands. Again Wyman passed, the pass sailed over Marshall’s reach. The Independents lined up for their first punt. Ursella pined the Flyers back at their own 17. Hole carried for 2 and then 4 yards. On 3rd and 4 Huffine fumbled with Buland recovering. There was a flag on the play, offsides against Fitzgerald. The penalty gave the Flyers their first 1st down of the game. Shaw was injured on second down and had to call for time. Facing 3rd and 5 Baldwin fumbled and Fitzgerald and Lyle fell on the ball at the Flyers 35-yard line. The Independents offense took over and moved the ball down the field on several runs. Ursella made a nice run and the Independents got as close as the 5-yard line. Davis of the Flyers broke through the line and nailed Mansfield for a 14-yard loss. The Flyers held and the Independents attempted what could be the leagues first drop kick. Standing at his 25-yard line, Ursella dropped kicked the ball and it cleared the crossbar. ROCK ISLAND 24; MUNCIE 0



With nothing working on offense, the Flyers decided to try to back the Independents up and chose to kick the ball away. M. Hole put the ball in the air. Wyman took the ball from his 14-yard line and started out across the field before cutting  in sharply and heading up field. Wyman stiff armed his way through traffic. Several Independents knocked off opposing players to give Wyman a clear path. Berns had run back to make what appeared to be a sure tackle but as he closed in on Wyman,  Marshall stepped up and picked off Berns leaving Wyman a clear field to the goal. Ursella kicked the goal and the Independents were in clear control. ROCK ISLAND 31; MUNCIE 0

Wyland kicked to M. Hole who fumbled the ball and was tackled at his 7-yard line. Huffine threw a pass which was intercepted by Marshall at the 35-yard line. On the very next play, Huffine intercepted a pass by Wyman. The Flyers punted on 3rd down and the Independents ran several plays and held possession at the Muncie 36 as time expired for the first half.

Second Half -Rock Island decided to rest the starters and give the subs some extra work. Lyle came in for Kock, Mockmore for Wyland, Gardner for Smith, Nichols for Chicken, Novak for Mansfield, Kuehl for Usella, and Quinn for Wyman. The Independents chose to receive to star the second half. M. Hole kicked off and the kick sailed out of bounds at the 17-yard line. By rule the Flyers had to kick again. Marshall took the next kick at his 12, got a few blocks, and was chased out of bounds at the 40. The Independents offense came out prepared to pound the ball to start the second half. Quinn gained 7, Novak made 6 through center, Kuehl took a couple around right end for good gains. From the Muncie 31. Helvie tackled Novak for no gain. Again the Independents took to the ground. Nichols went around right end for 6, Novak got 5 more through center and Kuehl broke through right wing for a 9 yard gain. On second and 1 from the 11, Kuehl hit Novak for a 1 yard pass and a first down. Kuehl fumbled but recovered and advanced 2 yards. Novak hit right tackle for 3 and then Nichols shot right end for the touchdown. Marshall kicked the extra point. Rock Island had just opened the second half with a 15 play drive that covered 60 yards, 59 on the ground and 1 pass play for 1 yard. ROCK ISLAND 38; MUNCIE 0.


Gardner kicked to Baldwin who took the ball from the goal line out to the 15-yard line where Buland made a nice tackle. After 3 short runs, the Flyers lined up to punt. Huffine took the snap and fumbled the ball before he could get off a kick. Gardner fell on the ball at the Muncie 10-yard line and he was covered immediately by M. Hole and Davis. Shaw was injured on the play and took time out as the quarter ended.
The teams changed goals and Pope made an impressive play for the Flyers tackling Kuehl for a loss of 7 around right end. The Independents still managed to get the first down. The Independents took to the air. Gardner raced over the Muncie goal line and Kuehl threw a forward pass that sailed over the reach of Gardner. Kuehl broke through the left tackle on the next play and across the goal for the Independents 6th touchdown. Muncie protested that Davis had stopped Kuehl’s progress but Referee Solen overruled the appeal and the score stood. Marshall kicked the goal. ROCK ISLAND 45; MUNCIE 0.

Gardner kicked to M. Hole at his 10. Hole took the ball out across the 30 and was hit by Shaw on a brilliant tackle just as Hole was about to run into a clear field. Mockmore hit Checkaye for no gain and after 1 more stop Checkaye punted the ball to the Independent 25. Kuehl received the punt and was stopped in his tracks. The Independents were held and forced to punt. Novak punted the ball away to the Muncie 38-yard line.

The Flyers trying to get something going on offense took to the air. Checkaye threw incomplete to Pope who missed the toss. Checkaye dropped back and hit Pope at his 41, Pope advanced to the 49-yard line for the Flyers 2nd first down of the game. Gardner threw Balwin for a 6 yard loss. Baldwin hit Checkaye for a 5 yard pass and threw another incomplete pass to Helvie. Checkaye punted on 4th down and the ball rolled over the goal line. With less than a minute to go and trying to preserve the shutout, Novak punted the ball back to the Flyers. On the final play Nichols and Quinn threw Checkaye to the ground after a 2 yard gain. The whistle blew and Rock Island had won. ROCK ISAND 45; MUNCIE 0

Quotes From The Article

Source - Rock Island Argus October, 4 1920