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1974 Season Book - Week 17

Sports Daily

October 23, 1974

WFL Fire Threaten To Fold; Blazer Players Unpaid For Eight Weeks

Owners Offer $150,000 to keep Chicago in WFL

The World Football League entered its seventeenth week of action with the playoffs looming in the distance and uncertainty in the foreground. In Chicago, the Fire, plagued by a weak offense and a ptiful defense, played its final home game at Soldier Field before 20,203 fans. The Fire were routed by Hawaii 60-17. In a league meeting, Fire owner Tom Origer, crippled by heavy financial losses, a dying franchise and a league without direction claimed he would fold his franchise after the weeks' contests. WFL founders panicked by the thought of losing another team came forward and gave Origer a $150,000 line of credit to complete the season- the loan was backed by John Basset (Memphis), Sam Battistone (Hawaii) and John Bosacco (Philadelphia). In Orlando, the Florida Blazers were still trying to resolve their ownership problems while the Blazer players had gone unpaid for eight weeks. David Williams, owner of the Holiday Inns of Orlando, evicted the Blazers from their offices. Rommie Loudd, the teams' managing general partner, was removed by the WFL and the league claimed it was taking over the team. Loudd filed an injunction to prevent the league takeover, then announced that he had found a buyer for the team but refused to name who it was. The WFL announced that the league topped the 2 million mark in attendance for a average of 22,522 a game. On the field, Tony Adams of the Southern California Sun led the league in passing with 226 completions in 406 attempts for 3,216 yards and 20 touchdowns. JJ Jennings of the Memphis Southmen led the league in rushing with 1,189 yards and Rick Eber of the Shreveport Steamer led the WFL in receptions with 58.

Six Second Half TDs Lead Bell to 45-7 Win

Bell QB King Corcoran

anahiem, ca.; The Philadelphia Bell, held scoreless in the first half, erupted for six touchdowns in the second half to eclipse the Southern California Sun 45-7. Bell quarterback "King" Corcoran was the star of the evening as he threw three touchdown passes and ran for another. The loss snapped a seven-game winning streak for Southern California, which already had clinched the WFL Western Division. Bell running back John Land gained 84 yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for the season. 26,412 fans attended the game at Anaheim Stadium.

Hawaiians Rout Chicago 60-17

Hawaii RB Vin Clements runs through the Fire

chicago, il.; The Hawaiians blanketed the Chicago Fire, 60-17, sending the local team to its eighth straight loss. The 60 points tied a WFL scoring record for one team in a game. Oddly, the Hawaiians were on the losing end of the other 60 pointer, falling 60-8 to Memphis in July. After the Fire took a 10-8 lead in the first period, the Hawaiians scored the next six times they got the ball. Hawaiians quarterback Randy Johnson, working less than three quarters, completed 22 of 39 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Hawaii outgained Chicago 322 to 94 through the air as Fire quarterbacks Bubba Wyche and Bill Cappelman completed only 10 of 29 attempts. Hawaii erupted for 30 second half points and led 38-10 at the half, silencing the 20,203 Chicago fans.

Shreveport Steam-Rolls Americans 31-0

D.C. Nobles walks the sideline after beating Birmingham.

shreveport, la.; Running backs Jim Nance and Paul Gipson thundered to a total of 243 yards rushing to lead the Shreveport Steamer to a 31-0 trouncing of the Birmingham Americans. Nance picked up 126 yards, becoming the third WFL player to rush for more than 1,000 yards this season, while Gipson amassed 117. The Birmingham offense was woefully ineffective, penetrating once, in the first quarter, only as far as the Steamer 18-yard line, from where a field-goal attempt was blocked. The Americans never threatened after that. 24,617 fans attended the game at State Fair Coliseum, as the Steamer improved to 6-10-1.

Blazers Hold Off Charlotte 15-11, Lead WFL East

Hornet QB Tom Sherman is sacked

charlotte, nc.; The Florida Blazers rejected a bid by the Charlotte Hornets for a first-place tie in the WFL's Eastern Division as they posted a 15-11 triumph over the transplanted New York Stars before a raucous crowd of 23,613 in Charlotte. Quarterback Bob Davis threw two touchdown passes in the second half, the clincher being an eight-yarder to Jim Strong on the second play of the fourth quarter. The play capped a 54-yard scoring drive. Blazer running back Tommy Reamon rushed for 189 yards on 35 carries and Bob Davis completed 10 of 20 passes for 149 yards to lead Florida. Florida's defensive front four of Louis Ross, Paul Vellano, Mike McBath and John Ricca held Hornets quarterback Tom Sherman to 61 yards passing and the offense to a total of only 175 yards.

Storm Upset Southmen 26-25

Last Second field goal for Memphis fails

portland, ore.; The Portland Storm, led by the passing of Pete Beathard and the running of Rufus Ferguson, upset the Memphis Southmen 26-25, ending the Southmen's 11-game winning streak and preventing them from clinching the title in the WFL's Central Division. The win also kept the Storm's own playoff hopes alive. Portland appeared to have the game easily wrapped up when it scored a touchdown with two minutes left in the game to take a 26-17 lead. But Memphis, with Danny White passing effectively, came back to score a touchdown with: 43 left then made the action point, reducing the Storm's lead to one point. The Southmen recovered the ensuing short kickoff and tried a 38-yard field goal on the last play of the game, but the kick sailed wide igniting the Portland crowd of 13,288.

WFL Week Seventeen MVP:

Randy Johnson, Hawaiians

WFL Week Seventeen Top Performers:

Passing - Randy Johnson, Hawaiians 22 of 39, 304 yards, 3 touchdowns

Rushing - Tommy Reamon, Florida Blazers 35 carries, 189 yards

Receiving - John Isenbarger, Hawaiians 10 receptions, 139 yards, 2 touchdowns

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Florida 12 5 0
Charlotte 10 7 0
Philadelphia 7 10 0
Jacksonville* 4 10 0
Central Division
Memphis 14 3 0
Birmingham 12 5 0
Chicago 7 10 0
Detroit* 1 13 0
Western Division
So. California 12 5 0
Hawaii 7 10 0
Portland 6 10 1
Shreveport 6 10 4

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.