Muncie Congerville Flyers
Congerville Flyers team on October 10, 1915 - taken by Otto Sellers - commercial and portrait photographer from Muncie in the early 1900s
The Congerville Flyers started off strong by posting 2 wins and 1 tie in the first 3 games. The tie with Gas City was rain-shortened, with Flyers about to score the go-ahead touchdown when the game was called. Although relatively low scoring games, the Flyers were getting themselves into shape and had eyes on the State Championship. However, the next 4 games put an end to any thoughts of a state title. Losing to Hartford City, followed by back-to-back scoreless ties against the Anderson Remys and the Greenfield AC and then a big 26-0 loss at Indianapolis against the Marion Club team, dropped the Flyers to a unimpressive 2-2-3 record. Coming home to play 3 of the last 4 games at home, the Flyers posted 3 straight victories. First, the Redkey Tigers gave little opposition, as the Flyers rolled over them by a 61-3 score. Then a tight 19-18 win over the Elwood AC, followed by a low-scoring 7-0 victory over the Avondale Dare Devils completed the 3 game winning streak. In a Thanksgiving Day rematch against the Newcastle Maxwell-Briscoes, the Flyers fell by a score of 13-6 (or 13-7).
The 1915 season can be divided into 3 sections. The first 3 games yielding a 2-0-1 record, the next 4 games producing a 0-2-2 record and the last 4 games sporting a 3-1-0 record. The Flyers did not play any of the "big" Indiana or Ohio teams in 1915, but did play a few mid-level teams in the Anderson Remys and the Newcastle Maxwell-Briscoes.
The 1915 Congerville AC and the 1915 Congerville Flyers merged for 1916 and retained the name of the Congerville Flyers. Both teams provided the nucleus for the 1920 Muncie Flyers, one of the original 14 teams of the APFA.
The Congerville Flyers started with a win over the local Elwood team. For the next four Sundays, the Flyers played poorly, losing games to Wabash AA, Sheridan AA, Muncie Avondale AA and Greenfield AC by a combined score of 103-12, dropping them to 1-4-0 and quickly dropping out of the State Championship race. Following the next week off, the Flyers next three games got progressively better (as won/loss records go). The Flyers lost a relatively close game to the Newcastle Maxwells by a 15-0 score, then followed with a scoreless tie with the local Portland AA team, then finished with their second win of the season with a tight 13-12 victory over the Muncie Avondale AA. This win kept the Flyers still in the city championship race against the Avondales, with each team having a win and a loss against each other. However, the Flyers lost the city championship the following Sunday to the Avondales, being shutout by a 13-0 score. Next up was the big Thanksgiving day game with the Anderson Remys, but the Flyers were easily defeated 32-7.
They key factor to the Flyers suffering a down season can be attributed to the loss of their star player, Cooney Checkeye. Late in the 1915 season, Checkeye was signed by the Fort Wayne Friars for the last 3 games to replace their injured quarterback, Skeet Lambert. Checkeye did not return to Muncie in 1916, opting to play for Fort Wayne and then for the Wabash AA in 1917.
Reports are that the entire 1916 Congerville Flyer team enlisted in the Army. They were stationed at East Chicago and were part of the Company G, 1st Indiana Infantry squad. In later newspaper reports, the players were part of Company E, 2nd Indiana Infantry. Regardless of their army affiliation, the team is said to have played the East Chicago Gophers on September 23rd. The Gophers won by the slim score of 12-6. The army team won the next week, 14-0, against the Hegewisch AA team from Chicago. On October 7th, the team was scheduled to play the Hammond Colonial AC, but the game was cancelled on Saturday when the army team was called away for final training.
In early September, Earl Ball organized the team and had rented out Walnut park for the season as soon as the baseball season ended. Ball had signed an impressive group of players, including; Dick Abrel from Purdue, Joe Pliska from Notre Dame, Dugan from Wabash College, Al Feeney from Notre Dame, Christian Chambers from last years Fort Wayne Friars and Baird from the Friars and Carlisle Institute. These new players and holdovers "Stash" Hellas, John Barnes, Ed Quirk, Leo Quirk, Pete Slane, Hampton, L. Risher, C. Risher, Chet Longfellow, Ray Tuhey and "Coonie" Checkeye were all instructed to report to Heekin Park at 9:30am on September 2nd for the first team meeting.
Although the team looked great on paper and were to challenge for the state championship, the "team" did not last long. A week after the organization meeting, Manager Ball released all the men from their contracts on account of the few teams in the state that were fielding teams. Fielding a team was also a problem in Fort Wayne, as the Friars had many of there players enlisted in the army. The Friars were concerned that they would not have enough players to field a team in 1917 (they did field a team and contended for the Indiana State Championship). Three of the Muncie players, Chambers, Abrel and Checkeye signed on with the Wabash AA.
With most of last years players serving in the Armed Forces, the Flyers were able to patch together a team. Opening the season at Middletown, the Flyers won 13-0. In a rematch with Middletown on 10/21, the Flyers lost again, 24-7. The Flyers were scheduled to play their annual game with the Greenfield Flyers at Greenfield on 10/28, but cancelled the game and the Muncie East End Tigers went to Greenfield instead, and lost 6-0. With no more scheduled games, the Flyers closed the season.
The 1918 Muncie Congerville Flyers did not field a team in 1918 due to the war.
The Flyers opened the season by scheduling a game on the road in nearby Elwood. However that game was cancelled because no park was available to play the game. On 09/21, the Flyers had originally scheduled a game in Gas City to be played against the Tigers. But that game was cancelled and the Flyers went to Portland to play the local Athletic Association. No record of the game being played or the score can be found. Finally on 09/28, the Flyers played their first game in Wabash against the strong Athletic Association. The Flyers pulled off a close 7-6 victory. Following a week off, the Flyers went to play the Fort Wayne War Vets on 10/12. Comprised of mostly the Fort Wayne Friars, the Flyers fell by a score of 20-0 (or possibly 10-0). With another week off and a cancelled game against the Elwood Maroons, the Flyers were scheduled to play their first home game against the Sheridan AC. However, Sheridan cancelled, but the Flyers were able to scheduled a game against the Heekin Park AC and game away with an easy 14-6 (or maybe 20-6) victory. Hosting the Dayton Oakwoods on 11/09, the Flyers overwhelmed the Oakwoods by a score of 20-0, bringing their record to 3-1-0. The big game of the year was the home game against the powerful Cincinnati Celts. The game ended in a 12-12 (or maybe 13-13) tie and 1000 fans attended the game at Walnut Park. Following cancellations due to weather on 11/23 vs. the Elwood Maroons and another on Thanksgiving day against the Avondale AC, the Flyers wondered if they were ever going to get to play again this year. With the weather a little better on 11/30, the Flyers battled the Avondale AC for the Muncie City Championship. The Flyers came out ahead by a score of 7-0. They finished with a record of 4-1-1, with 3 cancellations and 2 weeks where they did not play.
Calling themselves the Muncie Flyers, the Flyers were one of the charter members of the American Professional Football Association. Manager Earl Ball had high hopes for a great season and scheduled a practice game against the local Muncie Tigers (no score could be found for that game). Opening the APFA season on 10/03 at Rock Island against the Independents, the Flyers were crushed 45-0! The next game was scheduled at Decatur against the Staleys, but when George Halas and the Staleys heard about how poorly the Flyers played against Rock Island, they quickly cancelled the game, fearing a low fan turnout for a game against a weak opponent. The Flyers had tentatively scheduled a game in Cleveland against the Tigers on 10/31, but that game didn't happen as the Tigers played against the Columbus Panhandles. The Flyers scheduled a league game the next week in Dayton against the Triangles, but a driving rain and poor field conditions forced cancellation of the game. The Flyers could not get a game the next 2 weeks, but finally scheduled a game on Thanksgiving against the strong Gas City Tigers. The Flyers, not having played a game in 8 weeks, played well and defeated the Tigers by a score of 19-7. The Tigers thought game was a fluke and immediately scheduled a rematch to be played 10 days later, again at Gas City. In the meantime, the Flyers played for the Muncie City Championship on 11/28 against the local Muncie Offers More AC. The Flyers apparently shook off any remaining rust and easily defeated the OMAC's by a score of 24-0. A week later, the rematch was played against the Gas City Tigers. The result was the same, with the Flyers winning 13-7 and removing all doubt who was the better team.
click here for a detailed account of the 1920 Muncie Flyers season
In their second year in the American Professional Football Association, the Flyers were expecting a much better performance than in 1920. Opening the season against the local Elwood Legion, the Flyers easily walked away with a 74-0 victory. Traveling to Evansville the next week, the Flyers could not muster any offense were shutout 14-0. Next up, the Flyers played their only official APFA home game. Hosting the Cincinnati Celts, the Flyers were again shutout 14-0. In this game, Coonie Checkeye severely injured his leg. Without their star player, the Flyers disbanded for the season. The original schedule had the Flyers playing at Green Bay in mid-November, but that game was cancelled. After disbanding, some of the Flyers players played for the Gas City Tigers team. For the Gas City vs. Marion game on October 30th, Coonie Checkeye, Mickey Hole and Babe Hole were in the lineup for the Tigers as they beat Marion 6-0. After 2 APFA seasons, the Flyers finished with a record of 0-3-0 in APFA games and a 4-0-0 record in non-APFA games.