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1974 Season Book - Week 9

Sports Daily

September 2, 1974

WFL Wheels and Storm Share Canadian Debut; Chicago Fire Trio Leads WFL

The World Football League entered its schedule of Labor Day weekend games with a Canadian premier. In London, Ontario, at Little Stadium, the Detroit Wheels and the Portland Storm squared off in a contest the media had christened the "Battle of the Beaten". Despite the fact that the WFL had gone international, it was viewed as a poor idea. The game was pushed through the league office without sufficient time to promote the event and the locals perceived it as an exhibition. The announced attendance was 5,105, but officials said the figure was closer to 3,500. The game had been moved from Detroit to London due to poor attendance in Detroit and as a favor for Portland owner Robert Harris. Harris wanted to move his Portland Storm to London, Ontario and rename the team the "London Lords". Wheels ownership welcomed the $30,000 in survival cash they received from Harris. In New York, the state of Downing Stadium was growing from bad to worse. Bob Gladieux, the Star running back told reporters that antiquated Downing had been an asset to the team. "It's depressing to us so you can imagine what it's like for someone coming in here for the first time. This is the worst football field I've ever played on in my life and it's the worst field in pro football. It has to be a natural let down for someone to come into the bright lights of New York, look around the big city and then come to this place to play." New York linebacker Greg Lens told reporters, "It's bright in the middle of the field, but you can't see anything at the ends." WFL fans in New York suggested the team give out flash lights to the players so they could see who had the ball on the other team. On the field, the WFL's top performers were setting the league on fire- a Chicago Fire. The WFL's leading passer was Chicago Fire quarterback Virgil Carter. Carter had completed 130 passes out of 243 attempts for 1,801 yards and 20 touchdowns. Chicago's Mark Kellar led the WFL in rushing with 638 yards and 7 touchdowns and the Fire's James Scott led the WFL in receiving with 39 catches for 562 yards and 5 touchdowns. It marked the first time in the WFL's history that one team had all three leaders in the major offensive categories. On defense, Chicago's Joe Womack led the league in interceptions with 6, and Walter Rhone led the WFL in kickoff returns with 406 yards and a 27 yard average. Florida Blazer Rod Foster led the league in punt returns with 186 yards and one touchdown. The Memphis Southmen had the WFL's number one offense with 262 points scored and the Florida Blazers were the league's best defense allowing only 119 points. In contrast, the Houston Texans had the WFL's worst scoring offense with only 82 points (an average of 9.1 points per game) and Hawaii had the league's worst defense allowing 264 points (an average of 27 points a game).

Ams defeat Florida 8-7 on action point

Birmingham Americans 8, Florida Blazers 7.

birmingham, al.; Matthew Reed led the Americans to a 8-7 win over Florida before a Legion Field crowd of 35,529. Reed led Birmingham 80 yards on 10 plays in the fourth quarter and then ran the final two yards for a touchdown on a quarterback keeper. On the action point attempt, Reed passed to Jim Bishop to give the Americans their ninth win in a row. The Blazers scored early in the third on a 43-yard pass from Bob Davis to Tommy Reamon, but couldn't hold the lead. Florida fell to 6-3 and into a tie for first place with the New York Stars. (Pictured above, Jimmy Edwards of the Americans cuts through the Blazers).

Birmingham Americans; Passing � Mira 8-17-86-0-0, Reed 2-7-18-0-1i; Rushing � Harraway 10-48, Reed 4-25-1t, Robinson 7-15, Cantrelle 3/-1, Mira 1/-2; Receiving � Jenkins 6-69, Edwards 2-21, Powell 1-9, Bishop 1-5

Florida Blazers; Passing � Davis 11-30-147-1t-0i, Maslowski 0-2-0; Rushing � Strong 11-61, Reamon 19-55, Davis 1-21, Whitfield 1-4; Receiving � Strong 3-38, Maslowski 3-36, Reamon 2-48, Whitfield 2-10, Bryant 1-15

Floriday Blazers Birmingham Americans
First Downs 18 20
Rushes-Yardage 32-141 40-159
Passes-Yardage 141 92
Return Yards 63 40
Passes 30-11-0 24-10-1
Punts 6-37.7 6-40.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-Yardage 9-110 8-71

6,132 stand in rain to watch Stars down Philadelphia

New York Stars 24, Philadelphia Bell 16.

new york, ny.; Undismayed by the smallest crowd to see a WFL contest, the New York Stars defeated the Philadelphia Bell 24-16. Only 6,132 fans (5,237 paying) attended the game at Downing Stadium on a Monday night. Bell quarterback "King" Corcoran threw five interceptions and was replaced by Frank DiMaggio. DiMaggio launched a potential 65-yard touchdown pass to Ron Holliday but overthrew him, ending a Bell drive that almost tied the game. Stars running back Bob Galdieux ran for 161 yards on 18 carries and quarterback Tom Sherman was 12 of 24 for 141 yards and two touchdowns. (pictured above, Dave Richards runs against the Bell with Bob Gladieux leading the charge).

Philadelphia Bell; Passing � Corcoran 18-30-204-1t, 5i, DiMaggio 1-3-16; Rushing � Thompson 12-53, Land 8-31, Watts 5-19, Shanklin 1-3, Joe 2-0-1t, Holiday 1/-4; Receiving � Land 7-81, Holiday 5-51, Dunn3-50, Thompson 2-24, Shanklin 1-8, Watts 1-6-1t

New York Stars; Passing- Sherman 12-24-141-2t; Rushing � Gladieux 28-161, E.White 9-21, Sherman 7-21-1t, Richards 1-11; Receiving � Kapitan 6-80, Parson 3-25-1t, E.White 2-8, Askson 1-28-1t

Philadelphia Bell New York Stars
First Downs 17 21
Rushes-Yardage 29-102 45-192
Passes-Yardage 210 141
Return Yards 175 65
Passes 33-19-5 24-12-0
Punts 1-40.0 6-36.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-Yardage 6-28 4-30

Spencer Leads Southmen over Sharks

Memphis Southmen 16, Jacksonville Sharks 13.

jacksonville, fla.; Southmen running back Willie Spencer (pictured above) bulled his way to two touchdowns as the Memphis Southmen rallied twice to defeat the Jacksonville Sharks 16-13. Spencer ran 6 yards to a score late in the second quarter and capped a 67-yard drive by diving 1 yard to another midway through the fourth quarter. 22,169 fans at the Gator Bowl watched as Memphis receivers dropped passes throughout the game, keeping the Sharks within striking distance.

Memphis Southmen; Passing � Huarte 7-19-119-0t-1i; Rushing � Jennings 21-89, Spencer 12-41-2t, Harvey 8-33, Huarte 2-3; Receiving � Shirk 3-54, Wallace 2-37, Harvey 1-22, Jennings 1-6

Jacksonville Sharks; Passing � Stephenson 12-23-166-0t-2i, Oliver 5-11-33; Rushing � Lamb 10-14, Durrance 11-9-1t, Jones 4/-2, Oliver 1-3, Scott 1-3, Stephenson 1-2, Davis 1-1; Receiving � Lamb 7-22, Scott 4-70. J. Davis 2-39, Jones 1-19, Hughes 1-18, Burnop 1-13, Buie 1-13, Durrance 1-5

Memphis Southmen Jacksonville Sharks
First Downs 15 13
Rushes-Yardage 43-166 30-30
Passes-Yardage 119 199
Return Yards 123 72
Passes 19-7-1 34-17-2
Punts 8-32.5 6-44.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-Yardage 6-68 2-10

Storm wins "Battle of the Beaten"18-7

5,105 Turnout for Canadian Premier

Portland Storm 18, Detroit Wheels 7.

london, ontario, canada.; The Detroit Wheels, financially strapped, winless in their first eight games, peddled their game with the Storm to the small town of London, Ontario. The Wheels and the Storm played at London's Little Stadium before 5,101 fans (although reports had the crowd at 2,500) for $30,000 in survival cash from Storm owner Bob Harris. Despite the change in location, the result for the Wheels was the same a loss. Portland kicker Booth Lusteg kicked a 30-yard field goal and Jim Krieg scored on a 13-yard reverse in the fourth quarter to lead the Storm to a 18-7 win. The media had named the game the "Battle of the Beaten", and several WFL officials wondered just how long the Wheels could hold on as a franchise in the league. (Pictured above, Rufus Ferguson runs by Mike Kuhn of the Wheels).

Detroit Wheels; Passing � Wyche 12-24-123-0t-1i; Rushing � Scarber 11-45, Wyche 7-44-1t, Mims 7-24, Sadler 2-8; Receiving � Henderson 4-33, Scarber 3-42, Phillips 1-14, Mims 1-11, Sadler 1-11, Embree 1-6, Hess 1-6

Portland Storm; Passing � K. Johnson 1-5-31-0t-1i; Rushing � Ferguson 17-140, Burns 18-70, K. Johnson 5-20-1t, Mitchell 7-26, Krieg 1-13-1t; Receiving � Ferguson 1-31

Portland Storm Detroit Wheels
First Downs 15 14
Rushes-Yardage 48-239 27-121
Passes-Yardage 16 95
Return Yards 62 151
Passes 5-1-1 24-12-1
Punts 3-.37.7 5-37.8
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yardage 7-57 4-21

"Islanders" Down Texans 33-15; O'Leary Rushes For 107

Hawaiians 33, Houston Texans 15.

honolulu, hw.; Hawaii running back Ernie O'Leary rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown and Hawaii erupted for 23 points in the fourth quarter to defeat the Houston Texans 33-15. In the third quarter, wide receiver Grady Richardson hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Norris Weese to break a 7-3 Houston lead. Weese then hit O'Leary for the action point and a 11-7 Hawaii lead. 10,248 fans in Honolulu Stadium rose to their feet as cornerback John Moseley intercepted a Mike Taliaferro pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to clinch the win. Hawaii went on to add 18 more points before Houston could recover. The Hawaiians originally had their entire home games scheduled on Sunday�s. This game was played on September 1 and was the final Sunday home game for 1974. (Pictured above, Levi Stanley wrestles down Houston quarterback Mike Taliaferro).

Hawaiians; Passing � Weese 7-13-160-1t, Hargett 5-14-47; Rushing � O�Leary 23-107-1t, Turner 2-63-1t, Weese 4-30, Davis 4-5, Heath 3/-1; Receiving � Delaney 3-35, O�Leary 2-43, G. Richardson 2-41-1t, Davis 2-40, Kelsey 1-27, Hutt 1-12, Weese 1-9

Houston Texans; Passing � Mays 17-32-142-0t-1i; Rushing � M. Richardson 9-39-1t, McVea 13-30, Mays 3-25-1t, Blackney 5-15, Nance 2-0; Receiving � Eber 12-107, D. Davis 2-24, Odom 2-18, McVea 1-3

Houston Texans Hawaiians
First Downs 13 16
Rushes-Yardage 32-109 36-204
Passes-Yardage 136 207
Return Yards 80 63
Passes 32-17-1 27-12-0
Punts 8-39.9 7-35.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yardage 4-14 5-36

Fire Brawls To Victory Over Sun, 32-22

Chicago Fire 32, Southern California Sun 22.

anahiem, ca.; Chicago Fire quarterback Virgil Carter and running back Mark Kellar led the Fire to their seventh win of the season 32-22 over the Southern California Sun. Carter completed 16 of 29 passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns, three in the first half. Mark Kellar finished the game with 118 yards on 30 carries to lead Chicago. The Fire opened up a 32-25 lead in the third quarter, in what was described by both teams as the hardest hitting game the two had been in all year. 27,133 in Anaheim watched as Derek Williams gained 126 yards and quarterback Tony Adams go 15 of 32 for 204 yards in a losing effort. (Pictured above, Virgil Carter drops back to pass).

Southern California Sun; Passing � Adams 15-32-205-1t; Rushing � K. Johnson 9-40-1t, Nelson 5-19-1t, Adams 2-19, McAlister 4-10, Herd 1-3, Harris 1-1; Receiving � D. Williams 5-126-1t, McAlister 4-29, K. Johnson 3-11, Lindsey 2-14, Moses 1-24

Chicago Fire; Passing � V.Carter 16-29-232-4t, Calip 0-1-0; Rushing � Kellar 30-118, Calip 8-30, V. Carter 4-17, Wyatt 2-8, Taylor 1-2, Scott 1/-1; Receiving � Dolbin 4-79-1t, Scott 4-60-1t, Kellar 3-29-1t, Burchfield 2-29, Seymour 2-16-1t, Calip 1-19

Chicago Fire Southern California Sun
First Downs 24 13
Rushes-Yardage 46-174 22-92
Passes-Yardage 232 204
Return Yards 107 149
Passes 30-16-0 32-15-0
Punts 5-31.0 7-37.7
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yardage 7-50 7-66

WFL Week Nine MVP:

Rufus Ferguson, Portland Storm

WFL Week Nine Top Performers:

Passing - Virgil Carter, Chicago Fire 10 of 16, 185 yards, 4 touchdowns

Rushing - Rufus Ferguson, Portland Storm 17 carries, 140 yards

Receiving - Rick Eber, Houston Texans 12 receptions, 107 yards

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Florida 6 3 0 .667 162 121
New York 6 3 0 .667 202 141
Philadelphia 4 5 0 .444 219 168
Jacksonville 3 6 0 .333 159 175
Central Division
Birmingham 9 0 0 1.000 234 138
Chicago 7 2 0 .778 252 215
Memphis 7 2 0 .778 262 188
Detroit 0 9 0 .000 145 254
Western Division
So. California 5 4 0 .556 206 179
Houston 3 5 1 .389 82 158
Hawaii 2 7 0 .222 166 264
Portland 1 7 1 .167 116 217

WFL Transactions:

August 30 - Chicago Fire traded TE Luther Palmer to Florida Blazers for WR/P Lonnie Crittenden
30 - Southern California Sun signed WR Dave Parks
31 - Portland Storm released DT Tony Terry, OT Remi Prudhomme, DE Drew Taylor, LB�s Jim Hann, and Steve Brown, and DB Willie McKelton
September 01 - Philadelphia Bell signed LB John Sodaski

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.