July 26, 1974
By Murrary Chass
PHILADELPHIA, July 25 - With a feat that was as unlikely as the atmosphere in which the game was played, Moses Lajterman, a 21-year old Argentine who had been cut previously by both New York and Philadelphia, kicked a fourth-quarter, 40-yard field goal that gave the Stars a 17-15 victory over the Bell tonight.
The nationally televised game, which marked the Stars' first victory in three games, attracted the largest crowd - 64,719 - in the World Football League's three-week history.
Bell officials said 10,000 tickets had been given away and 19,000 others were sold at discount prices, leaving about 36,000 fans who paid regular prices of $8, $5 and $2. Many fans were still entering the 102,000-seat John F. Kennedy Stadium in the second quarter, and many others started leaving in the third.
Still others, teen-agers and pre-teens, raced out of the stands and cavorted on the field both at half-time and during the third quarter. At one point, some youngsters were only about 5 yards from the football when it landed at the 20-yard line on a punt.
As the game turned out, though, the outcome hinged on the location of the ball three times in the final quarter, Lajterman's kick with 3 minutes 12 seconds gone in the period and two boots by Philadelphia place-kickers that could've extended the losing streak of the Stars, who lost their first two games in the final three minutes.
However, with 2:18 left, Jack Simcsak kicked his 36-yard field-goal try wide to the right, and on the last play of the game, George Chatlos sent his 26-yard attempt wide to the left.
That left Lajterman the hero only two days after he rejoined the Stars, with whom he spent 16 days in June before being released. The Montclair State product, who later went to the Bell camp for an overnight stay, recalled in an emergency because Peter Rajecki severely bruised ribs in last week's loss to Birmingham.
Interestingly, the injured Rajecki missed a 35-yard field goal with 36 seconds left that would have tied Birmingham last week and, perhaps, sent the game into a fifth quarter.
"I was hoping my field goal would be the winner," a beaming Lajterman said afterwards tonight, "because I never had a chance to win a game before. It's a heckuva way to break in."
The 5-foot-9-inch, 170 pound kicker got the chance when a Stars' drive stalled at the Bell's 23-yard line. The drive, incidentally, started following that third-quarter punt with which the frisky young fans almost interfered.
Lajterman's field goal interfered with the work of Jim (King) Corcoran, the Bell's flamboyant quarterback, who had passed for two touchdowns - 18 yards to Claude Watts in the first quarter and 9 yards to LeVell Hill in the third.
Until the field goal, the Bell led, 15-14, and the 1-point difference was the action point the Philadelphians achieved after their first touchdown.
They actually scored the point on their fourth try. They failed the first three times, but the Stars were offside each time. With the ball only inches from the goal line, Corcoran sneaked across on the fourth attempt.
That meant the Bell had moved 2 ½ yards in four plays after having traveled 90 yards in five plays for the touchdown.
The key play on the Bell's first touchdown drive was the result of a breakdown in the Stars' secondary, which had undergone a wholesale shuffle. Corcoran passed to Don Shanklin, who caught the ball alone near the Bell 45, then eluded a tackle by Lou Angelo, the Stars new strong safety, and wound up gaining 52 yards to the 26. Three plays later, Corcoran hit Watts for the score.