The Best Football Team Ever
In 1916, virtually the entire US Army, as well as many National Guard units, were posted on the border with Mexico. They were there to keep the Mexican Revolution on the Mexican side of the border.
That so many National Guard units had been activated is key to our story. Lots of young men had to put their college educations on hold when their units were called up.
One of those units, training at Camp Scurry in Corpus Christi, was the 2nd Texas Infantry. The men of the 2nd Texas came primarily from the schools of the old Southwest Conference.
To keep morale up, the Army brass encouraged the National Guard units to form football teams that fall. Of the fifteen men who made up the 2nd Texas squad, nine were from the University of Texas team, three were Aggies, two played at Baylor and one came from Southwestern.
They would compile an 8-0 record, beating their opponents by a combined score of 432-6. The only team to score on them was the 12th Division All-Stars, coached by Lt. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
That score was 34-6. But the 2nd Texas was resting its starters for the big season finale to be held in San Antonio four days later.
The opponent would be the 1st New York Cavalry. That team was a juggernaut of thirty-three lettermen from big Eastern schools like Syracuse, Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell and Princeton, all football powerhouses back then. This promised to be a real competition for the 2nd Texas.
Twenty-five thousand fans were in attendance, the most ever to see a game in Texas at that time. The result: a 69-0 route by the 2nd Texas, the second biggest margin of victory of the season.
The first was 102-0 shellacing of the 7th New York Infantry two weeks earlier.
It seems facing off with New Yorkers brought out the best in the Texas boys.
What Texas river was once known as Rio de las Palmas (River of Palms)?
The Rio Grande - maybe.
In 1519, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda led an expedition of 270 men to the gulf coast. They were the first Europeans to lay eyes on Texas.
Pineda attempted to found a settlement near the mouth of the Rio de las Palmas, which he had named for the large stands of palms lining its banks.
In his monumental work, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas, 1819-1936 , Carlos Casteneda (not the same guy, hippy) identified Rio de las Palmas as the Rio Grande, and most historians since have accepted his finding.
There is, however, considerable evidence that Pineda’s river was actually the Rio Panuco, which reaches the gulf at Tampico.