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1974 Season Book - Week 16

Sports Daily

October 23, 1974

WFL Announces New Playoff Format To Include Six Teams

WFL Officials look to heighten interest in remaining games

The World Football League struggling with a shaky image enjoyed a relatively quiet week of football. In Charlotte, the Hornets drew 20,333 fans for their game against the Chicago Fire, making the total paid attendance for both home game over 45,000. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the Bell and the Shreveport Steamer crashed around in the rain and mud on a cold night before only 750 fans in the 100,000 seat JFK Stadium. It was the smallest crowd ever to attend a WFL contest. With the WFL's new playoff format (three division winners and the next three with the best records) the Portland Storm, Chicago Fire, Shreveport Steamer, Hawaiians and Philadelphia had an outside change at a playoff spot. The Southern California Sun celebrated their 29-25 win over Birmingham that gave the Sun the Western Division title and clinched a home playoff game. On the field, the Eastern Division continued to be a dogfight with Florida (11-5) holding off Charlotte (10-6), and in the Central Division the Memphis Southmen (14-2) led the Birmingham Americans (12-4) by two games. The Chicago Fire, 7-9, after a 7-2 start, hoped to end their seven game losing streak by signing former Detroit Wheel quarterback Bubba Wyche to lead the offense. Chicago lost all seven games after losing starting quarterback Virgil Carter for the season with a broken finger on his passing hand. The WFL announced that the league topped the 2 million mark in attendance for a average of 22,522 a game. Tony Adams and JJ Jennings continued to lead the WFL in passing and rushing, while Rick Eber of the Shreveport Steamer took over the led in receptions with 58 for 696 yards and 5 touchdowns. David Thomas of the Memphis Southmen continued to lead the WFL in interceptions with 9, but was followed by Seth Miller of Memphis and Ron Mabra of Philadelphia who each had 8. Charlie Reamon of the Chicago Fire led the WFL in kickoff returns with a 29.9 average.

Storm Wins On Lusteg Kick, 3-0

Portland kicker Booth Lusteg

portland, ore.; The Portland Storm and the Hawaiians played in a torrential downpour in Oregon before 11,032 fans at Civic Stadium. Portland's Booth Lusteg kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:08 remaining for the win. The Storm drove 67 yards for the score with the drives' biggest play coming on a 31-yard reverse by receiver Jim Krieg. Storm running back Rufus Ferguson gained 85 yards on 21 carries and Hawaii quarterback Randy Johnson completed 14 of 20 passes for 133 yards in a losing effort.

750 See WFL Contest

Philadelphia and Shreveport battle in rain before record low crowd

750 brave rain in Philadelphia

philadelphia, pa.; The Shreveport Steamer defeated the Philadelphia Bell 30-25 in the pouring rain before a WFL record low crowd of 750. Steamer running back Jim Nance rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown. Shreveport scored on a 27-yard pass from D.C. Nobles to Rick Eber on the ninth play of the game to open the scoring. In their last three home games, the Bell had only drawn a total of 12,600 fans, for an average of 4,150 per game. John Land of the Bell added 105 yards in an losing effort.

Highsmith TD Runs Lead Hornets Past Fire 27-0

Hornet RB Don Highsmith

charlotte, nc.; Don Highsmith scored two touchdowns and led the "new" Charlotte Hornets to a 27-0 rout of the Chicago Fire. A crowd of 20,333 proved that their was still interest in the struggling WFL. Highsmith scored on runs of 2 and 15 yards. Quarterback Tom Sherman was shaken up late in the game, but backup Brian Dowling directed a 44-yard scoring drive that ended with Ed White�s two yard run. Charlotte improved their record to 10-6, and Chicago fell to 7-9, their seventh straight loss. Fires quarterback Bubba Wyche completed 8 of 14 passes for 137 yards in this, his first game with Chicago. The win kept the Hornets in the race for the Eastern Division title, one game behind the Florida Blazers.

Southmen Win 11th In A Row

Blazer QB Bob Davis gets off a pass under pressure

memphis, tn.; Playing before only 15,334 fans, the Memphis Southmen continued their assault on the Central Division crown by defeating the Florida Blazers 25-15. Quarterback John Huarte, back in the lineup after a three game absence, passed for 212 yards and one touchdown as Memphis won their eleventh straight game. The Southmen led 18-0 before Florida managed to score when Greg Latta caught a 49-yard pass from Bob Davis to open the fourth quarter. The Blazers outgained Memphis in total yards 434 to 367 but was unable to take control of the game. Blazer running back Tommy Reamon was held to 63 yards on 16 carries.

Sun Defeat Americans 29-25

Southern California improves to 12-4 as Adams throws for 2 TDs

James Mc Alister scores first quarter TD

anahiem, ca.; The Southern California Sun parlayed two third-quarter drives into touchdowns for a 29-25 win over the Birmingham Americans. The Sun won its seventh game in a row on a night when quarterback Tony Adams went over 3,000 yards in passing for the season, and the Sun came back from a 17-3 deficit and outplayed the Americans in the second half. Sun running backs Ralph Nelson, Jim McAllister and Kermit Johnson contributed big night and a total of 126 yards rushing. Linebacker Dave Roller, a fan favorite, finished with 14 tackles and 2 sacks. An Anaheim crowd of 25,247 watched the victory.

Week Sixteen MVP:

Dave Roller, Southern California Sun

WFL Week Sixteen Top Performers:

Passing - Tony Adams, Southern California Sun 20 of 30, 316 yards, 2 touchdowns

Rushing - John Land, Philadelphia Bell 13 carries, 105 yards

Receiving - Matt Maslowski, Florida Blazers 8 receptions, 139 yards, 1 touchdown

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Florida 11 5 0 321 194
Charlotte 10 6 0 295 254
Philadelphia 6 10 0 386 349
Jacksonville* 4 10 0 258 359
Central Division
Memphis 14 2 0 469 247
Birmingham 12 4 0 383 286
Chicago 7 9 0 374 454
Detroit* 1 13 0 209 358
Western Division
So. California 12 4 0 384 289
Hawaii 6 10 0 270 361
Shreveport 5 10 1 183 348
Portland 5 10 1 221 355

WFL Transactions:

Philadelphia Bell- signed DB Willie Germany, activated DB Benny Johnson, placed DB Marv Pettaway and DB Ed Hayes on waivers, traded rights to QB Bubba Wyche to the Chicago Fire for a 1975 number one draft choice.

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.