Stolen game ball returned 63 years later

In 1949, just a few years before West Lafayette and Jeff's last match up in 1953, the rivals' annual football game ended with theft.

Posted: Aug. 16, 2018 9:20 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-In 1949, just a few years before West Lafayette and Jeff's last match up in 1953, the rivals' annual football game ended with theft.

A Jeff player took off with the game ball immediately when the game ended.

Fast forward to 2012-Lafayette Jeff Principal Mark Preston, who was Athletic Director at the time, said a woman came to the school with an old, deflated leather football.

She told Preston it was her father's dying wish that the ball he stole 63 years ago after the Bronchos beat the Red Devils be returned to Jeff.

In faded marker, you can still see on the old leather "1949-50. Jeff 2 - W.L. 0."

We asked Preston how he felt to know that getting this ball returned to where it belongs was a dying man's last request.

"I say a lot that nowadays people don't have loyalty, in general, like they used to," Preston said. "I think this is a prime example. So 63 years later his loyalty to his high school was still that strong."

The historic football will be displayed at the new locker room at Scheumann stadium. Preston hopes to share this story with the team before the anticipated rivalry game on Friday Night.

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