Organized football in Everett can trace its roots to the fall of 1893, when “an interest in rugby football resulted in the organization of a team,” according to a letter written years later by Leroy T. Vernon, an 1894 Everett High graduate.
“The news permeated about town and in a day or two we had enough men together, all under 18 years of age, to make a full team,” Vernon recalled in his 1921 missive to the school’s newspaper.
After a month of practice, the team from the upstart city, which had incorporated earlier that year, sought out an opponent. They found one in the county’s most established settlement.
“Our natural prey lay up the river nine miles and it was to Snohomish that we directed our first challenge,” Vernon wrote.
The two sides agreed to meet on Feb. 22, 1894, with the express rule that no one over age 18 could play. “About 100 spectators, — among them about a score of ladies — witnessed the game,” according to an account in the Snohomish Eye newspaper.
Snohomish brought its famed “flying wedge” offense and, apparently, a couple of ringers.
“Everett was not only outweighed twelve pounds to the man, but it was outclassed in experience, and four of the Snohomish team were over age. Despite our protests Snohomish stood pat and there was nothing to do but play,” Vernon wrote.
In the snow and mud, Everett succumbed 10-0.
Vernon, who played fullback and punted in that first game, would go on to a distinguished journalism career with the Chicago Daily News.
Meanwhile, in the coming years Everett High would emerge as a gridiron powerhouse, winning two mythical high school national championships in 1919 and 1920.