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1975 Season Book - Week 6

Sports Daily

September 6, 1975

WFL Tosses Out Winds For Shortage Of Money

Chicago WR John Gilliam announces he will return to the NFL

The World Football League entered its sixth week in the headlines. The Chicago Winds, after playing only five games, were disbanded when two of the teams' investors withdrew their investment of $175,000, leaving the Winds under the league's capitalization limit. Winds Governor Eugene Pullano petitioned the WFL for more time to allow him to locate new investors in the franchise but league officials voted 10-1 to withdraw the team from the league. Chicago, which drew over 27,000 fans a game in 1974, sold just over 2,627 tickets for their home exhibition game against Jacksonville and only 3,470 for their home opener against Portland. Arrangements had been made through the WFL office in New York to assure the Winds' 1,600 season ticket holders would receive refunds for the canceled season. Winds general manager, Leo Cahill, who left the Memphis Southmen to head the team told reporters he was "stunned" at the decision and that the Winds' players would enter a dispersal draft at the end of the week. Winds' star receiver John Gilliam, who led the WFL with 20 receptions for 390 yards and two touchdowns, announced he would rejoin the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings. The WFL front office was disappointed with the performance at the gate, the scheduled games in Memphis, San Antonio, Portland, Charlotte and Shreveport attracted only 55,000 fans for an average of 13,500 per game (7,500 off the break even point for the Hemmeter Plan). In Shreveport, the Steamer was rumored to have only enough funds to last two more weeks. General Manager Al Lange was released in order to save money and new General Manager and Coach, Marshall Taylor, was ordered to trim $20,000 a week from the payroll. Essentially, that meant that players would receive $250 a game instead of their contractual $500. Steamer defensive star, and leading tackler, Ron Rydalch, quit the team rather than take a pay cut.

On the field, Memphis and Birmingham continued their dogfight for first place in the WFL's Eastern Division. The Southmen routed Hawaii 37-17 to improve their record to 4-1, while Birmingham defeated Portland 26-8 to post a 4-2 record. Both teams were looking over their shoulder at a Jacksonville Express that was 3-2 and coming up fast. Led by ex-Birmingham quarterback George Mira, the Express handed Shreveport a 22-15 loss. In the West, the Southern California Sun and the San Antonio Wings were having a dogfight of their own. In San Antonio, Texas the two teams met and the Wings ran over the Sun 30-8, to take sole possession of first place. With the disbanding of the Chicago Winds franchise all the WFL teams would play each remaining week of the season.

Chicago Winds Fold, Leaves WFL With 10 Teams

WR John Gilliam, QB Pete Bethard and RB Mark Kellar will enter dispersal draft

The Chicago Winds, who promised action and excitement if given a chance, were unceremoniously booted out of the World Football League for lack of capital. Winds owner Eugene Pullano received word of the 10-1 vote to expel the team and General Manager Leo Cahill gathered players at the team's Des Plaines office to explain the WFL's action. The Winds fell into money problems when two investors withdrew $175,000 they had on deposit with the league, making the franchise below league requirement for capitalization. The WFL announced an allocation draft for the Winds players that had wide receiver John Gilliam and quarterback Pete Bethard going to the Philadelphia Bell and running back Mark Kellar headed to San Antonio Wings. Gilliam, refused to report to the Bell and said he expected to sign with his former NFL club, the Minnesota Vikings.

Chicago Winds Dispersal Draft

The World Football League held a Dispersal Draft for players from the Chicago Winds on September 2, 1975. The Portland Thunder had the first selection. Teams selected players in inverse order of the standings. Four players, who had no-cut contracts with the Winds, were "assigned" and not selected by the surviving 10 WFL teams. Those players were WR John Gilliam and QB Pete Beathard who were assigned to the Philadelphia Bell and RB Mark Kellar and DE Larry Jameson were assigned to the San Antonio Wings. The WFL teams are listed in the order of the draft, but the players are listed alphabetically and not round by round with the exception of the Jacksonville Express. The Express selections are listed round by round.

Player Pos. WFL Team
Ralph Anderson DB Portland Thunder
Gary Danielson QB Portland Thunder
Mich Heinrick DE Portland Thunder
Bob Wyatt RB Portland Thunder
*Pete Beathard QB Philadelphia Bell
*John Gilliam WR Philadelphia Bell
Steve Kinney OT Philadelphia Bell
Cyril Pinder RB Philadelphia Bell
Tom Roussel LB Philadelphia Bell
Ken Sanduk DT Philadelphia Bell
Claud Simonton LB Philadelphia Bell
Dave Smith LB Philadelphia Bell
Mike Wilson OG Philadelphia Bell
Alan Aldrich DB Shreveport Steamer
Ron Curl DT Shreveport Steamer
Guy Murdock C Shreveport Steamer
Charlie Reamon DB Shreveport Steamer
Walter Rhome DB Shreveport Steamer
Dan Burchfield TE The Hawaiians
David Gagnon RB The Hawaiians
Earl Sark P-PK The Hawaiians
Fred Pagac TE Jacksonville Express
Bill West DB Jacksonville Express
Rousell Williams DB Jacksonville Express
Tom Forest OT Jacksonville Express
Mike Botts C Charlotte Hornets
Harry Howard DB Charlotte Hornets
Matthew Williams RB Charlotte Hornets
*Mark Kellar RB San Antonio Wings
*Larry Jameson DE San Antonio Wings
Margene Adkins WR San Antonio Wings
Chuck Bailey DT San Antonio Wings
Billie Line DT San Antonio Wings
Hal Phillips DB San Antonio Wings
Van DeCree LB Birmingham Vulcans
Tim Gilliespie WR Birmingham Vulcans
Mark Ilgenfritz DT Birmingham Vulcans
Richard Marks DB Birmingham Vulcans
Rich Griffiths LB Memphis Southmen
Larry Shorty LB Memsphis Southmen
Mike Hoban OG Southern California Sun
Al Jenkins OT Southern California Sun
Chuck Kogut LB Southern California Sun

* Assigned to a team/had no-cut contracts with Winds

Southmen Rout Hawaiians, 37-17

Hawaiians RB Duane Thomas is surrounded by Memphis

memphis, tn.; Willie Spencer, playing for the injured Larry Csonka, and Jim Kiick accounted for 248 yards as the Southmen ran over the Hawaiians 37-17 before 15,132 in Memphis. Spencer, making his first start of the year, gained 142 yards on 15 carries as Csonka sat out the game with a injured thigh. Kiick carried 16 times for 106 yards and scored on runs of 10 and 2 yards. Memphis (4-1) also scored on passes of 29 yards by Danny White to tight end Gary Shirk and 14 yards to wide receiver Paul Warfield. Memphis' defense limited the Hawaiians to only 54 yards rushing compared to the Southmen total of 303, and harassed the Hawaiians quarterbacks into an 11 of 31 performance. Clayton Heath set two WFL records in this game. One was for the longest kickoff return (93 yards/touchdown) and total kickoff yards in a game with 194. This game was played on Sunday, September 7, 1975.

Hawaiians; Passing - W. Estabrook 5-13-68-0t-1i, S. Sixkiller 6-18-68-0t-0i; Rushing - C. Heath 9-30-1t, D. Thomas 12-20, A. Davis 1-4; Receiving - D. Atkinson 3-50, V. Clements 3-39, T. Delaney 3-35, D. Thomas 2-12.

Memphis Southmen; Passing - D. White 10-18-156-2t-2i, J. Huarte 2-3-43-0t-0i; Rushing - W. Spencer 15-142, J. Kiick 16-106-2t, J. Harvey 3-24-1t, D. White 4-13, E. Marshall 1-11, T. Beamer 2-7; Receiving - E. Marshall 4-94, J. Kiick 3-32, G. Shirk 2-53-1t, P. Warfield 1-14-1t, W. Spencer 1-8, R. Wallace 1-7.

Hawaiians Memphis Southmen
First Downs 12 26
Rushes-Yardage 22-54 41-303
Passes-Yardage 136 199
Return Yards 214 130
Passes 11-31-1 12-21-2
Punts 7-42.7 3-44.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yardage 2-20 11-70

Wings Dominate Sun, 30-8

Wings RB Billy Sadler runs for yardage during first quarter action

san antonio, tx.; The San Antonio Wings used big plays and time-consuming drives to defeat the Southern California Sun 30-8 in San Antonio before 10,547 fans. Quarterback Johnnie Walton threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Donnie Joe Morris, and Billy Sadler added the action point as the Wings took an 8-0 lead. San Antonio made it 16-0 in the third quarter as Walton ended a nine-play, 53-yard drive with a 17-yard scoring toss to Willie Frazier. Southern California pulled to within 16-8, but San Antonio marched down field for two touchdowns on long drives to beat the Sun 30-8. Sun star running back Anthony Davis was held to under 100 yards, he finished with 21 carries for 96 yards. Sun quarterback Pat Haden out-dueled Johnnie Walton completing 14 of 23 passes for 169 yards, but the Sun defense gave up too many big plays in the game. Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica played in his first WFL regular season game completing 2 of 7 passes for 15 yards and one interception. This game was played on Sunday, September 7, 1975.

Southern California Sun; Passing - P. Haden 14-23-169-0t-0i, D. Lamonica 2-7-15-0t-1i, A. White 1-1-14-0t-0i; Rushing - A. Davis 21-96, G. Herd 4-18-1t, G. Dixon 5-11, B. Kramer 1-5, P. Haden 2-3; Receiving - T. Lindsey 6-69, C. Bradley 4-53, G. Herd 4-44, D. Williams 1-14, J. Baker 1-14, B. Kramer 1-4.

San Antonio Wings; Passing - J. Walton 10-24-130-3t-0i; Rushing - J. Strong 15-73, B. Sadler 11-49, D. Morris 1-11, Ed. Richardson 1-5, D. James 2-5-1t, B. Gatti 1/-2, J. Ettinger 1/-8; Receiving - D. Morris 3-84-1t, W. Frazier 2-25-2t, Ed. Richardson 2-10, J. Strong 2-1, D. Yaege 1-10.

Southern California Sun San Antonio Wings
First Downs 18 18
Rushes-Yardage 33-133 32-133
Passes-Yardage 198 130
Return Yards 85 51
Passes 17-31-1 10-24-0
Punts 3-50.3 5-37.0
Fumbles-Lost 5-2 2-0
Penalties-Yardage 13-155 13-91

Hornets Top Bell In Rain, 10-0

Charlotte RB Don Highsmith running in pouring rain

charlotte, nc.; Don Highsmith sloshed 27 yards for a touchdown as the fourth quarter opened to lead the Charlotte Hornets to a 10-0 win over the Philadelphia Bell. Highsmith's score came just as a driving rain pelted 10,502 tenacious fans at Memorial Stadium. Charlotte started its only touchdown drive with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter after a 34-yard Bell field goal attempt failed. Highsmith rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries, as the Hornets scored all their points in the fourth quarter. The rain and the field conditions kept both teams in check offensively with the Hornets gaining a total of 191 yards versus Philadelphia's 185. Hornets quarterback Tom Sherman completed only 1 of 8 passes the entire game.

Philadelphia Bell; Passing - B. Davis 10-15-46-0t-1i, J. Corcoran 2-7-15-0t-0i; Rushing - J. Land 20-78, J Jennings 9-26, A. Thompson 5-15, C. Watts 3-13, B. Davis 5/-8; Receiving - J. Land 6-23, B. Hawkins 2-12, R. Holliday 2-10, T. Kwalick 1-11, J. Jennings 1-5.

Charlotte Hornets; Passing - T. Sherman 1-8-19-0t-1i; Rushing - D. Highsmith 20-101-1t, T. Sherman 8-39, L. Jolley 14-30, J. Ford 1-3, J. Sykes 3-1; Receiving D. Whyte 1-19.

Philadelphia Bell Charlotte Hornets
First Downs 11 11
Rushes-Yardage 42-124 45-172
Passes-Yardage 61 19
Return Yards 76 62
Passes 12-22-1 1-8-1
Punts 8-36.6 7-35.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-Yardage 6-36 5-30

Express Come From Behind, Defeat Shreveport 22-15

Express K Charlie Durkee kicks one of two field goals

shreveport, la.; The financially troubled Shreveport Steamer, took a beating at the gate and on the field, as the Jacksonville Express rallied from a 15-11 deficit to defeat Shreveport 22-15 before 13,638 fans. Steamer coach Marshall Taylor told reporters, "We have a little money in reserve, but if we keep spending it at the rate we're going, it could last only another two weeks." Jacksonville's George Mira completed 18 of 32 passes for 186 yards and Alfred Haywood rushed for 123 yards and scored the game winning touchdown. Trailing 15-11, the Express drove down the field as Haywood scored form the one, and Tommy Reamon added the action point. Later in the fourth quarter, Charlie Durkee kicked a 42-yard field goal to put the game out of reach for the Steamer.

Jacksonville Express; Passing - G. Mira 18-32-186-1t-1i; Rushing - A. Haywood 19-123-1t, T. Reamon 17-66, B. Duncan 5-17, G. Mira 1-7; Receiving - D. Hughes 7-90-1t, T. Reamon 5-41, S. Barrios 3-29, W. Beckman 2-25, A. Haywood 1-4.

Shreveport Steamer; Passing - E. Hargett 13-24-175-2t-1i; Rushing - J. Nance 16-95, G. smith 9-26, E. Hargett 1-22, V. Robinson 8-21; Receiving - D. Winslow 4-56-1t, J. Odom 3-61, G. Smith 3-28, R. Scales 2-33, H. Brandon 1-3.

Jacksonville Express Shreveport Steamer
First Downs 22 17
Rushes-Yardage 42-213 34-164
Passes-Yardage 181 175
Return Yards 88 109
Passes 18-31-1 13-24-1
Punts 6-34.0 2-35.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 6-5
Penalties-Yardage 9-65 4-22

Cantrelle Runs For 3 TDs, Leads Vulcans Over Thunder 26-8

Vulcan RB Art Cantrelle leaps for a touchdown

portland, ore.; The Birmingham Vulcans continued their assault on the WFL, thrashing the Portland Thunder 26-8 before a hushed crowd of 6,342 in Portland. This game was played on Sunday, September 7, 1975. Birmingham running back Art Cantrelle ran for three touchdowns as the Vulcans leaped out to a 23-0 lead before Portland could manage a comeback. The Vulcan defense, led by middle linebacker Warren Capone throttled the Thunder running game and kept Portland off the scoreboard until late in the game when Joe Wylie broke a 75 yard punt return for a touchdown. The score by Wylie broke a six-quarter scoreless streak for the Thunder. The Vulcans improved to 4-2, and kept pace with the Memphis Southmen while Portland fell to 1-5.

Birmingham Vulcans; Passing - M. Reed 6-14-87-0t-0i; Rushing - A. Cantrelle 20-79-3t, J. Musso 10-49, B. Rudder 7-46, M. Reed 8-42, J. Profit 7-23; Receiving - N. Fergerson 2-45, A. Cantrelle 2-19, A. Allen 1-12, J. Bishop 1-11.

Portland Thunder; Passing - D. Horn 15-28-126-0t-2i; Rushing - J. Evenson 13-36, R. Ferguson 8-23, I. Hammon 3-12, D. Horn 1-0; Receiving - B. Christiansen 4-46, J. Krieg 3-21, I. Hammon 3-2, J. Thorpe 2-22, E. McCullouch 2-21, J. Evenson 1-14.

Birmingham Vulcans Portland Thunder
First Downs 19 9
Rushes-Yardage 52-239 21-75
Passes-Yardage 87 126
Return Yards 40 188
Passes 6-14-0 15-28-2
Punts 6-38.7 6-42.3
Fumbles-Lost 4-1 1-1
Penalties-Yardage 7-82 9-139

WFL Week Six MVP:

Don Highsmith, Charlotte Hornets

WFL Week Six Top Performers:

Passing - Johnnie Walton, San Antonio Wings 10-24-130-3t-0i

Rushing - Willie Spencer, Memphis Southmen 15 carries, 142 yards

Receiving - Dennis Hughes 7 receptions, 90 yards, 1 touchdown

Eastern Division
Memphis 4 1 0 136 83
Birmingham 4 2 0 116 90
Charlotte 3 2 0 91 84
Jacksonville 3 2 0 110 105
Philadelphia 2 4 0 102 134
Western Division
San Antonio 5 2 0 191 96
So. California 4 2 0 181 182
Hawaiians 2 3 0 104 136
Shreveport 2 4 0 98 116
*Chicago 1 4 0 67 125
Portland 1 5 0 98 143

* Suspended Operations

WFL Transactions:

September 2 - Jacksonville Express waived OG Keith Temple, who had been on injured reserved list
  2 - Southern California Sun released RB Don Shy, DB Jim Williams and DB Kory Schuknecht; signed DB Jim Bowman and DE Larry Bailey
  3 - Jacksonville Express re-acquired LB Rich Thomann from the Memphis Southmen for future considerations; waived DB Alvin Wyatt and activated DB Fletcher Smith
  4 - Portland Thunder activated DT Billy Joe Winchester and OG Tony Bachmann; waived WR Ken Matthews and LB Mike Popovich
  4   Philadelphia Bell signed LB Skip Singletary and RB Don Willingham; placed DT Dennis Lozzi, RB Frank McGuigan, DB Gregg Butler and DB Reggie Berry on injured reserved list
  4 - San Antonio Wings signed WR Louis Neal
  5 - Philadelphia Bell signed DE Willie Cullars and DB Rod Foster; waived LBs Pete Woodward and Tom Costello; announced C Bob Paschall had retired
  5 - San Antonio Wings signed QB David Jaynes
  5 - Charlotte Hornets activated WR Randy Cobb, RB John Sykes and LB Dave Benson; obtained OG/DE Bracey Bonham from the Memphis Southmen for future considerations; waived RB David Blake and LB Tom Embrey; placed QB Chris Kupec, WR James Thompson and DE Bennie Barbour on injured reserve list
  6 - Shreveport Steamer announced that DE/DT Ron Rydalch had left the team

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 World Football League Web site would also like to thank Chuck Gardner for his help on the research of the Chicago Winds Dispersal Draft.