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1974 Season Book - Week 5

Sports Daily

August 7, 1974

WFL in Crisis?

Jack Kelly Jr. resigns from Philadelphia post after "Papergate" scandal, Detroit stock offering crumbles- franchise headed to Charlotte?

The World Football League moved into its fifth week of games. Off the field, the WFL was still reeling from the debacle in Philadelphia regarding the free tickets the Bell had distributed for its first two home games. In a year that saw President Nixon resign due to Watergate, the national sports media had christened the story "Papergate" and began calling the WFL- the World Freebie League. In Detroit, the WFL announced the collapse of a proposed stock offering for the hometown Wheels leaving that teams' future in doubt. Low attendance and a lack of media coverage had the Wheels 33 owners pondering several options: 1) Sell the franchise to investors who would move the team out of the Detroit area; 2) Sell controlling interest to a small group of present owners; 3) Continue to pump money into the team hoping the situation would turn around. The Wheels drew 10,631 for their opener and 14,424 for a game against the Memphis Southmen, low in contrast to the needed 25,000-30,000 needed to break even. WFL Commissioner Gary Davidson claimed the Detroit situation was a concern but hoped that Esther Edwards, one of the current owners and vice president of Motown Records would purchase controlling interest in the team. Reports circulated that Upton Bell, son of former NFL commissioner Bert Bell, was attempting to purchase the club and move it to Charlotte, North Carolina. On the field, the Philadelphia Bell drew 12,396 fans to their game with Memphis- no free tickets were given away. Philadelphia president Jack Kelly Jr. announced he was stepping down from his position with the team in wake of the "Papergate" scandal. The Birmingham Americans remained the only undefeated team, beating Detroit 28-22 (Chicago lost to Florida 46-21), and the Houston Texans and Portland Storm played through two 7-and-half minute overtime periods for the WFL's first tie 15-15. Virgil Carter of the Chicago Fire jumped into the lead in WFL passing with 69 completions out of 131 attempts for 1,006 yards and 11 touchdowns- he was the first WFL quarterback to surpass the 1,000 yard mark. Tommy Durrance (Jacksonville) held a slight lead over Kermit Johnson (Southern California) for the WFL's rushing lead with 390 yards to Johnson's 379. James Scott of the Chicago Fire continued to lead the WFL in receiving with 27 catches for 387 yards and three touchdowns. Joe Womack of the Fire led the league in interceptions with three, and the Florida Blazers held the position as the league's best defense. Alvin Wyatt of Jacksonville lead the WFL in punt returns with a 14.36 average, and Alonzo Emery of Southern California led in kickoff returns with a 28.2 average.

Storm and Texans battle to first WFL tie, 15-15

Houston Texans 15, Portland Storm 15.

portland, ore.; The Houston Texans and the Portland Storm battled to a 15-15 tie (the WFL's first and only) before 15,686 fans at Portland's Civic Stadium. Portland took a 8-0 lead on Marv Kendrick's 6-yard run, but Houston came back scoring on Jim Nance's one yard plunge to tie the game at 8-8. Then Houston quarterback Mike Taliaferro hit wide receiver Rick Eber on a 12 yard pass to put the Texans ahead 15-8. The Storm marched back and tied the game when quarterback Ken Johnson (pictured above) threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Sam Dickerson to tie the game.

Portland Storm; Passing � K. Johnson 5-15-54-1t-1i, Barton 1-4-4-0; Rushing � Kendricks 22-81- 1t, K. Johnson 11-56, Ferguson 17-53, Mitchell 3-12, Turner 1-4; Receiving � Ferguson 3-21, Dickerson 1-15-1t, Kendricks 1-11, Hoss 1-11.

Houston Texans; Passing � Taliaferro 11-22-138-1t-2i; Rushing � Nance 24-83-1t, Richardson 18-54, Odom 1-6, Gipson 2-4, Taliaferro 1-1, Eber 1-0; Receiving � Eber 3-34-1t, C. Frazier 2-40, Richardson 2-35, W. Frazier 2-16, Nance 1-7, Odom 1-6.

Portland Storm Houston Texans
First Downs 16 16
Rushes-Yardage 55-206 47-148
Passes-Yardage 56 138
Return Yards 178 101
Passes 6-19-0 11-22-2
Punts 9-44.4 9-39.3
Fumbles-Lost 3-0 1-0
Penalties-Yardage 6-118 7-58

Sherman to Askson Pass Difference In Stars Win

New York Stars 11, Southern California Sun 8.

anahiem, ca.; The New York Stars rallied for a 11-8 victory over the Sun when Tom Sherman teamed with Bert Askson for a 40-yard touchdown on a third-and-two situation midway through the fourth quarter. A crowd of 28,174 watched in agony as Askson beat the Sun secondary and cruised into the end zone. After the touchdown, the Sun tried to stage a rally of their own, but Stars linebackers Tom Chandler and James Sims sacked quarterback Tony Adams to kill the drive. Sun kicker Nick Dzepina missed two field goals in the third quarter, a 41-yarder and a 23-yarder that could have won the game. (Pictured above, Star running back Andy Huff is gang tackled by the Sun).

New York Stars; Passing- Sherman 9-20-143-1t-1i; Rushing � Gladieux 11-48, White 8-33, A. Huff 7-24, Sherman 4/-1 Askson 1/-7; Receiving � Gladieux 3-27, Young 2-38, Sauer 2-28, Askson 1-40-1t, A. Huff 1-0.

Southern California Sun; Passing � Adams 10-25-116-1t-2i; Rushing � K. Johnson 30-137, McAlister 10-51, Adams 3-16; Receiving � K. Johnson 3-20, Lindsey 2-20, McAlister 2/-1, Harris 1-33-1t.

Southern California Sun New York Stars
First Downs 16 9
Rushes-Yardage 44-164 31-91
Passes-Yardage 145 107
Return Yards 125 89
Passes 12-21-0 9-19-0
Punts 4-45.3 7-35.9
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-2
Penalties-Yardage 5-41 5-57

McAshan Gives Sharks 21-14 Win Over Hawaiians

Jacksonville Sharks 21, Hawaiians 14.

jacksonville, fla.; Eddie McAshan, making his pro debut, drove the Jacksonville Sharks 80 yards twice in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 21-14 victory over the Hawaiians. McAshan, ran one yard with: 20 seconds remaining to give the Sharks the win. Trailing Hawaii 14-7, McAshan hit Keith Krepfle with a 11-yard scoring pass and then drove the Sharks again down field to set up the touchdown run with option passes and the running of Tommy Durrance. (Pictured above, Tommy Durrance runs for daylight against Hawaii.). This game was played on August 8, 1974 and was the TVS Network WFL Game of the Week.

Jacksonville Sharks; Passing � McAshan 5-13-88-0, Oliver 6-7-57-0, Stephenson 1-1-0; Rushing � Durrance 14-55, McAshan 11-52-1t, Lake 13-48-1t, Oliver 6-9; Receiving � Krepfle 3-70, Buie 3-25, Whittier 2-32, Lake 2-9, Scott 2-9.

Hawaiians; Passing � Weese 9-19-107-1t; Rushing � O�Leary 9-28, Buchanan 14-24, Weese 3-20-1t-, Preston 2-11, Taggares 2-8; Receiving � O�Leary 3-27, Richardson 2-37, Powell 2-16, Delaney 1-18, Taggares 1-9-1t.

Jacksonville Sharks Hawaiians
First Downs 17 14
Rushes-Yardage 43-204 31-97
Passes-Yardage 116 143
Return Yards 61 57
Passes 10-25-2 9-20-1
Punts 8-39.6 8-38.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 7-4
Penalties-Yardage 3-30 4-27

Bell routs Memphis 46-15 before 12,396 at JFK

Philadelphia Bell 46, Memphis Southmen 15.

philadelphia, pa.; Playing before 12,396 fans, Jim "King" Corcoran threw four touchdowns in the first half to lead the Philadelphia Bell to a 46-15 win over the Memphis Southmen. The Bell scored on the first play from scrimmage as Corcoran threw a flat pass to running back John Land, who ran 64-yards down the sidelines for a touchdown Corcoran also hit Linzy Cole, Claude Watts and Donnie Shanklin with touchdown passes to lead the Bell to a 30-0 half time lead. The Bell improved to 3-2, and Memphis fell to 3-2. (Pictured above, John Land runs against the Southmen).

Philadelphia Bell; Passing � Corcoran 16-23-200-4t, DiMaggio 3-5-90-2t; Rushing �Watts 10-63, Land 11-40, Thompson 6-28, Shanklin 3-23, Dunn 1-4, Bowen 1-2, Hill 1/-2; Receiving � Cole 7-77-2t, Dunn 3-34, Watts 3-12-1t, Shanklin 2-88-2t, Land 2-59-1t, Hill 2-20.

Memphis Southmen; Passing � Huarte 7-15-66-0, White 6-12-94-1t-1i, Harvey 0-1-0; Rushing � Harvey 5-26, Spencer 7-24, Jennings 6-9, White 1-6, Huarte 1-4; Receiving � Marshall 3-74-1t, Wallace 3-42, Jennings 2-5, Shirk 1-15, Harvey 1-10, Spencer 1-8, Miles 1-4, B. Taylor 1-2.

Philadelphia Bell Memphis Southmen
First Downs 19 12
Rushes-Yardage 33-158 20-69
Passes-Yardage 290 160
Return Yards 45 157
Passes 19-29-0 13-28.1
Punts 5-35.8 6-37.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 3-2
Penalties-Yardage 9-100 2-15

Reed Leads Ams To Win Over Detroit 28-22

Birmingham Americans 28, Detroit Wheels 22.

birmingham, al.; Matthew Reed threw two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Alfred Jenkins, and then scored on a quarterback keeper with :26 seconds remaining to give the Americans a 28-22 win over Detroit. The Wheels, still winless, took a 22-20 lead when quarterback Bubba Wyche threw a 18-yard touchdown pass to Jon Henderson. 40,367 American fans at Legion Field watched as Reed brought the Americans back for their fifth straight win.

Birmingham Americans; Passing- Reed 10-24-203; Rushing- Cantrelle 15-85, Robinson 17-68, Reed 9-15, Edwards 4-12, Bartles 1-1; Receiving- Homan 4-87, Jenkins 3-84, Robinson 1-21, Powell 1-19, Bishop 1-(-8).

Detroit Wheels; Passing- Wyche 13-18-173-2t-2i; Rushing- Mims 17-42, Scarber 11-20, Sadler 5-17, Wyche 3-2-1t, Phillips 1-(-1); Receiving- Scarber 5-43, Henderson 3-42-1t, Phillips 3-36-1t, Bryant 1-37, Mims 1-15.

Birmingham Americans Detroit Wheels
First Downs 17 14
Rushes-Yardage 46-181 37-100
Passing-Yardage 203 173
Return Yards 117 138
Passes 10-24-0 13-18-2
Punts 6-38.0 5-41.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 4-3
Penalties-Yardage 3-25 2-15

Bryant Touchdown On Blocked Punt Leads Blazers

Florida Blazers 46, Chicago Fire 21.

chicago, il.; The Florida Blazers defense converted a blocked punt and a intercepted pass into two quick touchdowns that silenced the 31,193 Chicago Fire fans and led the Florida Blazers to a 46-21 win. Chicago led at half time 21-16, but Lorenzo Bryant blocked and punt and ran it into the end zone to give Florida a 23-21 lead. Minutes later, Billy Hobbs intercepted a Virgil Carter pass and returned it for a score and a 31-21 lead. The Blazers went on to rout Chicago to extend their record to 3-2. (Pictured above, Miller Farr returns an interception against the Fire).

Florida Blazers; Passing- Davis 10-17-152; Rushing- James 7-100-2t, Strong 15-49, Reamon 15-46-1t, Gatti 5-23, Crittenden 1-6, Winfield 8-3; Receiving- Maslowski 3-74, Hilton 2-26, Strong 2-21, Reamon 2-14, Winfield 1-17.

Chicago Fire; Passing- Carter 11-30-224-2t-2i, Dagineau 1-3-0-1i; Kellar 19-87-1t, Wyatt 4-17, Carter 3-16, Pinder 3-6. Receiving- Scott 4-104-1t, Dolbin 3-84-1t, Burchfield 2-18, Palmer 1-11, Miller 1-6.

Florida Blazers Chicago Fire
First Downs 18 20
Rushes-Yardage 51-227 29-128
Passing-Yardage 145 202
Return Yards 175 27
Passes 10-17-0 11-33-3
Punts 5-36.4 5-37.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-4
Penalties-Yardage 13-91 7-44

WFL Week Five MVP:

King Corcoran, Philadelphia Bell

WFL Week Five Top Performers:

Passing - King Corcoran, Philadelphia Bell 16 of 23, 200 yards, 4 touchdowns

Rushing - Kermit Johnson, Southern California Sun 30 carries, 137 yards

Receiving - James Scott, Chicago Fire 4 receptions, 104 yards, 1 touchdown

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Florida 4 1 0 .800 93 52
New York 3 2 0 .600 84 51
Philadelphia 3 2 0 .600 123 82
Jacksonville 2 3 0 .400 92 92
Central Division
Birmingham 5 0 0 1.000 160 109
Chicago 4 1 0 .800 198 148
Memphis 3 2 0 .600 123 142
Detroit 0 5 0 .000 85 137
Western Division
Houston 2 2 1 .500 36 54
So. California 2 3 0 .400 90 97
Hawaii 1 4 0 .200 146 190
Portland 0 4 1 .125 60 118

WFL Transactions:

August 1 - Southern California Sun activated LB-OG Tim Guy; sent DE Mike Ballew to Philadelphia to complete trade of 5/24
  3 - Portland Storm signed LB Steve Brown
  3 - New York Stars traded DE Larry Estes and LB Gary Champagne to Birmingham for future considerations
  6 - Portland Storm signed DB Ray Jones

NOTE: This page was researched and written by Jim Cusano. This page appeared on the former World Football League Hall of Fame Website and is used with permission. The WFL transactions were researched and compiled by Mark Speck.