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1975 Season Book - Week 5

Sports Daily

August 30, 1975

The World Football League entered its fifth week of competition.

Week five of the World Football League season saw the league taking center stage in the nation's eye with the Sports Illustrated story, "A Place On the Sun for Two Stars", highlighting the duo of Pat Haden and Anthony Davis. Haden, a seventh round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams, was departing the WFL for the hallowed halls of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar - the world's most prestigious scholarship. Haden, leading the WFL in passing after five weeks would be studying academics and not WFL defenses.

On the field, the Southern California Sun was 3-1 and tearing up the WFL West, with the upstart San Antonio Wings hot on their heels at 3-2. Heading into a contest with the Philadelphia Bell, the Sun hoped to capitalize on the arm of the Rhodes Scholar quarterback and the prolific running of former USC Trojan Anthony Davis. Davis, through five weeks of the young WFL season had torched the league for 345 yards and five touchdowns. Described as 'too small' by the NFL, Davis was a man on a mission, and the benefactors would be the 17,000 plus fans at Anaheim Stadium - the Bell would pay the price. The Sun and Bell engaged in an old fashioned shoot-out, combining for a league best 97 points (beating the previous record of 91 set by Birmingham and Memphis in 1974) with the Sun outgunning Philadelphia 58-39. The game, televised back to the greater Philadelphia area via Channel 17, ran so late due to the on-field fireworks that the programming director decided to pull the plug prior to the final gun. Bell fans in Philly saw test patterns on their TV screens, while Sun fans saw Davis and company dancing in the end zone.

Around the league, the Birmingham Vulcans continued where they left off last year (as the Americans) as did the Memphis Southmen. Birmingham was riding high on the strong arm of quarterback Matthew Reed, and a stingy defense. The Memphis Southmen blew out the hapless Chicago Winds 31-7. The Winds head coach, Abe Gibron, formerly of the Chicago Bears, was quoted telling the Chicago media, "Seven points is better than six" - of course 32 would have been ever better. San Antonio continued their rage through the WFL West. The league's only expansion franchise, the Wings, were considered by some as having the potential of going 0-20, but quickly erased those thoughts with convincing wins over Charlotte, Southern California, Shreveport, and Portland. The Wings, led by quarterback Johnnie Walton, were lightning up the south Texas skies with an aerial attack which put them amongst the leaders of the league. Wings receivers Eddie Richardson and Donnie Joe Morris were proving to be a pair of lethal targets for Walton.

The WFL averaged 16,800 at the gate, with Memphis drawing the largest crowd (21,515) and San Antonio the lowest (12,197).

Vulcans convert turnovers into win over the Steamer

Birmingham Vulcans 21, Shreveport Steamer 8.

birmingham, al.; The Birmingham Vulcans used seven turnovers by the Shreveport Steamer to lead the way to a 21-8 win on a muggy night in Birmingham. The Vulcans, playing before 18,707 fans, took a 13-0 half time lead into the locker room on two Ron Slovensky field goals and a one yard run by quarterback Matthew Reed. In the third quarter, Steamer quarterback Edd Hargett unloaded a 52-yard scoring bomb to Ricky Scales to make it a 13-7 game, and running back Virgil Robinson powered over for the action point making it 13-8. With both teams clawing for the victory, the Steamer defense held the Vulcans to a fourth-and-one at the Shreveport 30, when Vulcans hometown hero Johnny Musso burst up the middle for the first down. The Vulcans scored a late touchdown to put the game out of reach 21-8. Steamer DT Ron Rydalch had 12 unassisted tackles against Birmingham. (pictured above, Bob Taterak of the Vulcans closes in on Steamer QB Edd Hargett).

Shreveport Steamer; Passing - E. Hargett 13-27-191-1t-4i; Rushing - V. Robinson 16-78, J. Nance 10-16, G. Smith 2-7; Receiving - J. Odom 4-56, J. Nance 4-40, G. Smith 2-18, R. Scales 1-53-1t, R. Eber 1-21, V. Robinson 1-4.

Birmingham Vulcans; Passing - M. Reed 12-28-213-0t-0i; Rushing - J. Musso 18-67-1t, J. Profit 13-64, A. Cantrelle 12-39, M. Reed 3-14-1t; Receiving - T. Powell 4-62, N. Fergerson 3-63, J. Bishop 1-30, B. Brown 1-28, A. Cantrelle 1-13, D. Homan 1-9, A. Allen 1-8.

Shreveport Steamer Birmingham Vulcans
First Downs 16 19
Rushes-Yardage 28-101 45-184
Passes-Yardage 191 213
Return Yards 107 56
Passes 13-27-4 12-28-0
Punts 4-34.5 5-39.4
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 4-2
Penalties-Yardage 5-39 6-54

Southmen Rout Winds 31-7,

Marshall scores 3 TDs

Southmen running back Jim Kiick looking for yardage against the Winds

memphis, tn.; Wide receiver Ed Marshall caught three touchdown passes as the Memphis Southmen routed the Chicago Winds 31-7 before 21,515 fans in Memphis. Marshall caught a 58-yard bomb from quarterback John Huarte to opening the scoring, and then caught a 32- and a 13-yard touchdown pass to lead the Southmen to a 23-7 half time advantage. The Winds (1-4) lost six fumbles and couldn't move the ball down field all night against a tough Memphis defense. Southmen running back Jim Kiick added a 4-yard touchdown run to finish off the Chicago team.

Chicago Winds; Passing - P. Beathard 20-27-165-0t-1i; Rushing - B. Wyatt 12-61-1t, M. Kellar 9-19, M. Adkins 1-22, P. Beathard 2-7, L Gagnon 1-4; Receiving - M. Kellar 7-38, M. Adkins 4-42, F. Pagac 3-41, D. Burchfield 3-28, L. Gagnon 2-14, M. Williams 1-2.

Memphis Southmen; Passing - J. Huarte 4-6-81-1t-0i, D. White 12-22-186-2t-0i; Rushing - W. Spencer 13-65, J. Kiick 15-47-1t, L. Csonka 9-35, D. White 4-33, T. Beamer 1-5, (Team) 1-31; Receiving - P. Warfield 5-19, E. Marshall 4-115-3t, J. Kiick 2-20, W. Spencer 2-15, D. Bumpas 1-13, G. Shirk 1-8, L. Csonka 1-6.

Chicago Winds Memsphis Southmen
First Downs 14 26
Rushes-Yardage 25-113 43-154
Passes-Yardage 165 267
Return Yards 120 63
Passes 20-27-1 16-28-0
Punts 2-48.8 3-43.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 3-1
Penalties-Yardage 11-115 10-75

Wings shutout Thunder 22-0 in San Antonio

San Antonio Wings 22, Portland Thunder 0.

san antonio, tx.; 12,197 fans watched as the San Antonio Wings completely humiliated the Portland Thunder 22-0 at Alamo Stadium. Johnnie Walton completed 13 of 22 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wings. Running back Jim Strong rushed for 106 yards on 16 carries and Billy Sadler added 104 yards on 19 carries, as both players tore through a Thunder defense that was helpless to stop them. The Thunder managed only 21 yards rushing and nine first downs against the Wings' front four of Nate Dorsey, Paul Vellano, Butch Brezina and Rick Cash. Portland quarterback Don Horn completed 17 of 29 passes for 231 yards. The victory moved San Antonio to 4-2, and dropped the Portland Thunder to 1-4. (pictured above, Wings wide receiver Eddie Richardson catches reception over Thunder defensive back Robin Sinclair).

Portland Thunder; Passing - 17-29-231-0t-01, J. Ousley 0-2-0-0t-0i; Rushing J. Evenson 7-20, R. Ferguson 11-15, J. Hartstein 2-3, I. Hammon 1-2, D. Horn 1-6, D. Warner 1-11; Receiving - J. Evenson 5-27, R. Ferguson 4-58, B. Christiansen 3-51, E. McCullouch 2-56, I. Hammon 2-19, J. Thorpe 1-20.

San Antonio Wings; Passing - J. Walton 13-22-176-2t-0i, J. Ettinger 1-1-16-0t-0i; Rushing - J. Strong 16-106, B. Sadler 19-104-1t, J. Ettinger 3-27, D. James 2-6, B. Gatti 1-1, J. Walton 1-2; Receiving - Ed. Richardson 4-59-1t, W. Frazier 3-60, D. Yaege 2-31, J. Strong 2-24, B. Sadler 2-4, D. Morris 1-14-1t.

Portland Thunder San Antonio Wings
First Downs 9 23
Rushes-Yardage 23-21 42-240
Passes-Yardage 231 192
Return Yards 99 26
Passes 17-31-0 14-23-0
Punts 4-46.0 3-35.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-Yardage 4-36 5-47

Hornets win in driving rain in Jacksonville

Charlotte Hornets 33, Jacksonville Express 14.

jacksonville, fla.; A heavy rain fell throughout the game as the Charlotte Hornets shut down the Jacksonville Express for three quarters and came away with a decisive 33-14 win before 16,428 fans at the Florida Gator Bowl. The Hornets powerful running attack, led by Don Highsmith, hammered the Express for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Charlotte opened up a 25-0 lead in the fourth quarter before Express running back Alfred Haywood dove for a one yard touchdown to thwart the shutout. Hornets quarterback Tom Sherman completed 10 of 13 passes for 140 yards, and led a ball-control offense that kept the Express defense on the field for most of the game. (Express running back Alfred Haywood is brought down by Hornets Greg Lens).

Charlotte Hornets; Passing - T. Sherman 9-11-119-1t-0i, B. Dowling 1-2-21-0t-0i; Rushing - D. Highsmith 20-99-1t, L. Jolley 15-32-1t, D. Blake 4-16, J. Ford 4-9, B. Dowling 1-1-1t, T. Sherman 6-2; Receiving - D. Whyte 3-63, K. Kapitan 3-36, D. Highsmith 2-18, A. Young 1-14, L. Jolley 1-9-1t.

Jacksonville Express; Passing - G. Mira 6-14-100-0t-2i, D. Fowler 4-7-46-0t-0i; Rushing - A. Haywood 14-49-1t, T. Reamon 13-34, J. Poulos 1-9, B. Duncan 2-4-1t, W. Jackson 1-3, G. Mira 1-2; Receiving - S. Barrios 3-71, T. Reamon 3-19, D. Hughes 1-38, J. Poulos 1-9, B. Duncan 1-7, M. Creaney 1-2.

Charlotte Hornets Jacksonville Express
First Downs 16 14
Rushes-Yardage 49-146 32-97
Passes-Yardage 140 146
Return Yards 72 145
Passes 10-13-0 10-21-2
Punts 6-41.0 5-46.0
Fumbles-Lost 6-0 5-2
Penalties-Yardage 12-79 6-65

Sun rings Philly's Bell 58-39

Southern California Sun 58, Philadelphia Bell 39.

anaheim, ca.; The Southern California Sun erupted for a 58-39 victory over the Philadelphia Bell as running back Anthony Davis had another 100-yard game before 17,811 fans at Anaheim Stadium. Davis, the WFL's leading rusher threw a 51-yard touchdown pass and ran a kickoff back for a 84-yard touchdown the first two times he touched the ball. Quarterback Pat Haden threw three touchdown passes as the Sun looked almost unbeatable. Haden entered his last month of WFL play, after which he would be leaving professional football for his Rhodes Scholar studies in Oxford, England. The Sun improved to 4-1, 1/2 game ahead of the San Antonio Wings in the Western Division. (pictured above, Sun quarterback Pat Haden throws under pressure).

Philadelphia Bell: Passing - B. Davis 21-46-285-4t-2i; Rushing - J. Land 12-55-1t, J. Jennings 10-52, A. Thompson 3-24, B. Davis 2-23, J. Rackley 2-2, C. Watts 1-1, T. Kwalick 1-6; Receiving - B. Hawkins 5-42-1t, J. Land 5-44, T. Kwalick 4-93-1t, J. Jennings 3-20, V. Papale 1-49-1t, J. Rackley 1-12, R. Holliday 1-8-1t, C. Watts 1-7.

Southern California Sun; Passing - P. Haden 13-21-207-3t-1t, M. Ernst 2-3-20-0t-0i, A. Davis 1-2-51-1t-0i; Rushing - A. Davis 21-115, G. Dixon 10-48-1t, G. Herd 4-25, B. Kramer 6-24-1, M. Ernst 2-17, B. Ferrell 2-4; Receiving - D. Williams 6-179-4t, T. Lindsey 4-36, A. Davis 2-22, B. Kramer 2-20, J. McKay 1-11, C. Bradley 1-10.

Philadelphia Bell Southern California Sun
First Downs 22  25
Rushes-Yardage 31-151 45-233
Passes-Yardage 285 275
Return Yards 282 174
Passes 21-46-2 16-26-1
Punts 8-31.0 7-35.4
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yardage 14-152 10-96

WFL Week Five MVP:

Dave Williams, Southern California Sun

WFL Week Five Top Performers:

Passing - Johnnie Walton, San Antonio Wings 13-22-176-2t-0i

Rushing - Anthony Davis, Southern California Sun 21 carries, 115 yards

Receiving - Ed Marshall, Memphis Southmen 4 receptions, 115 yards 3 touchdowns

WFL Standings:

Eastern Division
Memphis 3 1 0 99 66
Birmingham 3 2 0 90 82
Charlotte 2 2 0 81 84
Jacksonville 2 2 0 88 90
Philadelphia 2 3 0 102 124
Western Division
So. California 4 1 0 173 152
San Antonio 4 2 0 161 88
Hawaiians 2 2 0 87 99
Shreveport 2 3 0 83 94
Chicago 1 4 0 67 125
Portland 1 4 0 90 117

WFL Transactions:

August 26 - Memphis signed K Rickie Townsend (Philadelphia held negotiating rights to Townsend was compensated with a 5th round draft choice by Memphis); announced RB John Harvey had been re-instated by the WFL.
  26 - Shreveport Steamer signed DT/DE Kirk Heyer
  26 - Southern California Sun cut K Ingmar Kauffeldt, OG Gene Clark, DB Larry Lancaster and LB Kevin Fletcher; activated LB Jim Baker, OG Ed Kezirian and RB Don Shy
  26 - Chicago Winds signed DE Allen Aldridge and K Earl Sark; waived LB Chester Pleasant, DB Willie Roberts, OG Dave Malheiro, TE Jim Gessford, K Randy Haddox, P Jim Gilbert and DE Art May
  26 - Jacksonville Express signed LB Glen Gaspard and DB Alvin Wyatt; waived LB Rich Thomann and QB Robbie Davis
  27 - Chicago Winds cut OT Steve Wright; signed LB Van DeCree, DE Mark Ilgenfritz and QB Russell Williams
  27 - Charlotte Hornets activated S Randy Rhino
  28 - Birmingham Vulcans released OG Mike Hayes
  28 - Chicago Winds signed OT Tom Forrest
  28 - Charlotte Hornets placed WR Randy Cobb and RB John Sykes on injured reserve list; activated RB Jim Ford, OT Carl Collins (who had been released and then re-claimed) and DT Marty Smith
  28 - Southern California Sun activated QB Daryle Lamonica
  28 - Philadelphia Bell waived OG Walt Hughes; activated LB Pete Woodward
  29 - Southern California Sun signed K Ed Strickland; placed QB Daryle Lamonica on injured reserve list

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 Web site and is used with permission. The WFL transactions were researched and compiled by Mark Speck and Tod Maher. The Southmen-Winds photo is from Johnny Wofford.