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1975 Season Book - Week 1

Sports Daily

July 26, 1975

WFL Opens New Season In San Antonio

The World Football League began its 1975 regular season on July 26th, with one regular season game played today. The remaining games from Week One would begin on August 2nd. League President Christopher Hemmeter pledged 'exciting football' and 'fiscal responsibility' for the new season, and a host of NFL stars also heightened optimism for the WFL. On July 26th the WFL schedule opened with Charlotte at San Antonio. The San Antonio Wings were the WFL's only expansion team in 1975, headed by Norman Bevan, the Wings roster held many players with WFL or NFL experience; LB Billy Hobbs, LB Paul Vellano, LB John Ricca ( from the Florida Blazers), CB Billy Hayes (Florida Blazers), QB Johnnie Walton (Chicago Fire), CB Joe Womack (Chicago Fire), LB Lonnie Warwick (Minnesota Vikings), RB Billy Sadler (Detroit Wheels), Jim Strong (Florida Blazers) and Butch Brezina (Birmingham Americans). The Charlotte Hornets were coached in 1975 by Bob Gibson, former offensive coach for the Memphis Southmen. Many of the players from the 1974 New York Stars/Charlotte Hornets were on the Hornets '75 roster.

Expansion San Antonio Wings Rout Charlotte Hornets, 27-10

12,357 attend WFL opener in Texas

San Antonio WR Donnie Joe Morris is tackled by Ike Thomas and Jere Brown

san antonio, tx.; Wings running back Billy Sadler ran for two touchdowns and quarterback Johnnie Walton scored another as the San Antonio Wings defeated the Charlotte Hornets 27-10. Sadler, who rushed for 65 yards, scored the first points of the game on a 2-yard plunge and scored again in the fourth quarter. Charlotte, lost four fumbles, three of them being converted into touchdowns and a field goal by the Wings. Charlotte quarterback Brian Dowling threw three interceptions, one of which set up the final San Antonio score. 12,357 fans welcomed the WFL to San Antonio.

Charlotte Hornets; Passing - B. Dowling 13-23-178-0t-3i; T. Sherman 2-4-11-0t-0i; Rushing - D. Highsmith 16-50-1t, J. Sykes 7-27, L. Jolley 11-21, E. White 2-10, T. Sherman 1-10, B. Dowling 4-9; Receiving - K. Kapitan 3-52, D. Whyte 2-38, R. Cobb 2-37, L. Jolley 2-17, E. White 2-13, D. Highsmith 2-9, J. Thompson 1-18, J. Sykes 1-5.

San Antonio Wings; Passing - J. Walton 9-21-86-0t-2i, J. Ettinger 1-3-27-0t-0i; Rushing - B. Sadler 17-65-2t, J. Strong 9-39, J. Walton 4-32-1t, D. McCall 2-21, Ed. Richardson - 1-7, J. Ettinger 1-0, S. Conley 1-1, D. Morris 1-10; Receiving - B. Sadler 3-32, J. Strong 3-26, S. Conley 2-33, Ed Richardson 2-22.

Charlotte Hornets San Antonio Wings
First Downs 15 14
Rushes-Yardage 41-127 36-153
Passes-Yardage 189 113
Return Yards 132 62
Passes 15-27-3 10-24-2
Punts 2-40.0 5-39.6
Fumbles-Lost 4-4 3-1
Penalties-Yardage 5-54 9-80

Sports Daily

August 2, 1975

Csonka, Kiick and Warfield Debut in Memphis

The World Football League played the remaining games for Week One on August 2, 1975. In Memphis, the long-awaited debut of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield was set as the Southmen hosted the "new" Jacksonville Express. The Express, led by World Bowl MVP George Mira, also had former WFL leading rusher Tommy Reamon, and former NFL linebacker Don Brumm. The Chicago Winds, coached by ex-NFL coach Abe Gibron, and led by quarterback Pete Beathard, running back Mark Kellar and NFL star receiver John Gilliam traveled to Birmingham to play the Birmingham Vulcans. The Vulcans, quarterbacked by Matthew Reed were ready to defend their 1974 WFL championship. The first black head coach in pro football history, Willie Wood, made his debut with the Philadelphia Bell. The Bell hosted the Hawaiians who touted NFL star running back and former Dallas Cowboy Calvin Hill. The Bell had hoped to create publicity around the signing of former NFL tight end and Penn State star Ted Kwalick. The Bell also touted a new quarterback, Bob Davis, formerly of the Florida Blazers. The WFL began its second season with optimism, the Hemmeter Plan but no national television contract.

Jim Kiick Scores With :38 Remaining To Lead Memphis Over Jacksonville Express

Southmen RB Larry Csonka bulls over Fred Abbott and Dennis Pete

memphis, tn.; The much publicized debut of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick and Paul Warfield occurred before 25,166 fans at Memorial Stadium in Memphis. Jim Kiick ran for a touchdown with: 38 remaining to lead the Southmen to a narrow 27-26 win over the Jacksonville Express. The Express, led by quarterback George Mira, came back on a 39-yard touchdown bomb to Dennis Hughes. With: 08 remaining, the Express ran a "action point" play to the right. Tommy Reamon was stopped inches short of the goal line, to preserve the Memphis win. Southmen running back Jim Kiick ran for three touchdowns to lead Memphis.

Jacksonville Express; Passing - G. Mira 11-20-173-2t-0i; Rushing - A. Haywood 15-107, T. Reamon 16-44-1t, Receiving - D. Hughes 4-79-2t, S. Barrios 4-53, A. Haywood 2-12, W. Beckman 1-29.

Memphis Southmen; Passing - J. Huarte 10-23-1441t-1i; Rushing - L. Csonka 20-99, W. Spencer 12-77, J. Kiick 15-46-2t, T. Beamer 4-32; Receiving - E. Marshall 3-55, P. Warfield 3-53, J. Kiick 2-20-1t, G. Shirk 2-16.

Jacksonville Express Memphis Southmen
First Downs 17 23
Rushes-Yardage 31-151 51-249
Passes-Yardage 173 144
Return Yards 88 134
Passes 11-20-0 10-23-1
Punts 4-41.8 2-39.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-Yardage 4-31 4-30

2,732 See Bell Defeat Calvin Hill and the Hawaiians

Hawaiian RB Calvin Hill rushed for 155 yards in his WFL debut

philadelphia, pa.; A holding penalty nullified a last second touchdown pass by Hawaii quarterback Sonny Sixkiller, as the Philadelphia Bell defeated Hawaii 21-15 before only 2,732 fans at Philadelphia's Franklin Field. The Bell scored ten unanswered points in the third quarter. Philadelphia receiver Ron Holliday caught a 55-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jim "King" Corcoran (13 of 25 and two touchdowns), and kicker Bob Cooper added a 35-yard field goal to put the Bell ahead 21-8. Hawaii closed the gap to 21-15, and then began their march for the winning score only to fall short on the penalty. Calvin Hill rushed for 155 yards on 32 carries in a losing effort.

Hawaiians: Passing - R. Cassata 7-19-61-1t-3i, S. Sixkiller 2-2-23-0-0; C. Hill 1-0-0-0-0; Rushing - C. Hill 32-155, C. Heath 17-68-1t, R. Cassata 1-14, H. Bryant 1-6, A. Davis 2-2: Receiving - C. Hill 3-30-1t, T. Delaney 2-26, C. Heath 3-22, A. Davis 1-6.

Philadelphia Bell; Passing - J. Corcoran 13-25-155-2t-1i, M. Yancheff 1-2-22-0-0; Rushing - J. Jennings 11-57, C. Watts 5-39, J. Land 9-15, A. Thompson 1-6, F. McGuigan 1-2, J. Corcoran 1-0; Receiving - R. Holliday 5-100-1t, L. Izzo 3-41, T. Kwalick 2-22-1t, J. Land 2-11, J. Jennings 2-3.

Hawaiians Philadelphia Bell
First Downs 23 16
Rushes-Yardage 53-245 28-119
Passes-Yardage 84 177
Return Yards 121 74
Passes 9-22-3 14-27-1
Punts 3-26.3 4-44.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yardage 5-59 8-98

Vulcans Shut Out Winds 10-0

29,000 fans come out to Legion Field

Vulcan defenders bring down Mark Kellar of the Winds

birmingham, al.; The Birmingham Vulcans used a swarming defense to shut out the Chicago Winds 10-0, before a Legion Field crowd of 29,000. The Winds, best threat was after recovering a fumbled punt on the Birmingham 11-yard line, but Vulcans linebacker Steve Manstedt intercepted a Pete Beathard pass to kill the drive. Vulcans running back Art Cantrelle scored on a one yard run, after Birmingham quarterback Matthew Reed marched the Vulcans on a 10-play, 88-yard scoring drive that was highlighted by a 53-yard pass to Cephus Weatherspoon.

Chicago Winds; Passing - P. Beathard 4-19-35-0t-2i, G. Danielson 4-8-49-0t-1i; Rushing - C. Pinder 10-48, M. Kellar 14-49, B. Wyatt 3-22, P. Beathard 3-6, T. Gillespie 1-4; Receiving - J. Gilliam 3-43, M. Adkins 2-17, M. Kellar 1-17, J. Broadnax 1-4, C. Pinder 1-3.

Birmingham Vulcans; Passing - M. Reed 3-12-81-0t-2i, D. Duron 2-8-29-0t0i; Rushing - A. Cantrelle 21-94-1t, J. Musso 14-72, J. Profit 7-14, B. Rudder 3-12, T. Powell 3-8, M. Reed 1-5, D. Duron 1-2; Receiving - B. Brown 2-36, C. Weatherspoon 1-53, D. Homan 1-14, J. Musso 1-7.

Chicago Winds Birmingham Vulcans
First Downs 13 18
Rushes-Yardage 31-121 50-207
Passes-Yardage 84 110
Return Yards 58 38
Passes 8-27-3 5-20-2
Punts 6-40.0 6-26.3
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 4-3
Penalties-Yardage 7-96 6-70

Sun Win Home Opener, 21-15

QB Ernst throws two TD passes

Sun WR Keith Denson hauls in a 65 yard TD pass

anaheim, ca.; Sun quarterback Mike Ernst threw touchdown passes of 65 and 25 yards and led the Sun to a 21-15 win over the Portland Thunder. 13,257 fans in Anaheim watched the Thunder open the scoring when quarterback Don Horn hit tight end Bob Christensen with a 12-yard scoring pass. The Sun took a 14-8 halftime lead when Keith Denson (pictured above) caught a 65-yard bomb from Ernst. The Thunder countered when Rufus Ferguson ran six yards for a score. Sun running back Anthony Davis, who gained 102 yards on 23 carries, rolled out to his left and threw a pass to tight end Chuck Bradley who carried the ball to the Thunder nine. On the next play, Greg Herd broke through the Thunder secondary for a touchdown run and a Sun victory. Quarterback Don Horn of the Thunder completed 11 of 17 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause. This game was played on Sunday, August 3, 1975.

Portland Thunder; Passing - D. Horn 11-17-122-1t-0i; Rushing - J. Evenson 25-76, I. Hammon 4-1; Receiving - B. Christiansen 3-38-1t, J. Thorpe 3-23, E. McCullouch 2-29, J. Evenson 2-24, I. Hammon 1-8.

Southern California Sun; Passing - M. Ernst 10-19-1792t-1i, A. Davis 1-1-16-0-0; Rushing - A. Davis 23-102, M. Ernst 3-36, G. Herd 4-17, K. Denson 1-8, B. Kramer 2-5; Receiving - C. Bradley 4-61, T. Lindsey 2-56-1t, D. Williams 2-14, A. Davis 2-1, K. Denson 1-65.

Portland Thunder Southern California Sun
First Downs 18 16
Rushes-Yardage 44-166 33-168
Passes-Yardage 122 195
Return Yards 94 65
Passes 11-17-0 11-20-1
Punts 5-39.2 4-34.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yardage 10-122 9-70

Wings Improve To 2-0, Defeat Shreveport 19-3

Steamer LB Allan Aldridge stops Luther Palmer

San Antonio, Tx.; The San Antonio Wings erupted for two touchdowns in the second quarter to bury the Shreveport Steamer 19-3. 10,411 fans sat in Alamo Stadium as quarterback Johnnie Walton led the Wings with his passing, and running backs Jim Strong and Billy Sadler added tough yards on the ground. The expansion San Antonio Wings won their second straight game of the young WFL season (pictured above, Steamer linebacker Allan Aldridge fights off the block of Wings' Luther Palmer).

Shreveport Steamer; Passing - E. Hargett 13-39-131-0t-1i, D. Nobles 5-8-66-0t-1i; Rushing - G. Smith 6-23, V. Robinson 9-13, J. Nance 6-8, H. Brandon 2-3, D. Nobles 1-3; Receiving - D. Winslow 5-60, G. Smith 4-69, J. Odom 4-31, R. Scales 2-35.

San Antonio Wings; Passing - J. Walton 17-34-258-2t-2i; Rushing - B. Sadler 14-61, J. Strong 10-57, D. McCall 4-24, S. Conley 2-21, J. Walton 3-2; Receiving - E. Richardson 5-42, D. Morris 3-92-1t, W. Frazier 3-86-1t, B. Sadler 3-15, J. Strong 2-6, D. Yaege 1-17.

Shreveport Steamer San Antonio Wings
First Downs 11 21
Rushes-Yardage 24-50 33-165
Passes-Yardage 197 258
Return Yards 78 93
Passes 18-37-2 17-34-2
Punts 9-39.7 6-35.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 4-1
Penalties-Yardage 8-70 6-70

WFL Week One MVP:

Mike Ernst, Southern California Sun

WFL Week One Top Performers:

Passing - George Mira, Jacksonville Express 11 0f 20, 173 yards, 2 touchdowns

Rushing - Calvin Hill, Hawaiians 32 carries, 155 yards, 4.8 average

Receiving - Dennis Hughes, Jacksonville Express 4 receptions, 79 yards, 2 touchdowns

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Birmingham 1 0 0 10 0
Memphis 1 0 0 27 26
Philadelphia 1 0 0 21 15
Jacksonville 0 1 0 26 27
Charlotte 0 1 0 10 27
Western Division
San Antonio 2 0 0 43 13
So. California 1 0 0 21 15
Hawaiians 0 1 0 15 21
Portland 0 1 0 15 21
Shreveport 0 1 0 3 16
Chicago 0 1 0 0 10

WFL Transactions:

August 1 - Memphis Southmen sent OG John Jacquot to Charlotte Hornets for draft choices; announced RB John Harvey had been suspended by the WFL
  1 - Charlotte Hornets released WR Dave Richards

NOTE: This page was researched and written by Jim Cusano and Richie Franklin. 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 and Tod Maher.