July 27, 1974
By Mike Weber
PHILADELPHIA - For the New York Stars and Philadelphia Bell, it all came down to kicking Thursday night. The Bell was found wanting. They may just be wanting Moses Lajterman.
The Bell had their shot at landing the Montclair State product but according to Lajterman, "They never gave me a chance."
Which is why his 40-yard field goal which beat the Bell, 17-15, was all the sweeter.
"I asked for a tryout and I went down there (the Bell's camp) and figured they'd outfit me for the drill," said Lajterman. "They told me they had nothing for me - not even white socks, they said I'd have to buy them.
"I had no cash and $45 check which nobody down there would cash, so I kicked in black socks. Nobody looked at me, but they told me to come back and I did. But all I did the next day was kick with the other kickers and when practice was over they said ‘thank you but...
But Bell coach Ron Waller wishes he had said stick around.
"It was fate we let him go," said Waller. "We looked at a lot of guys. I let the staff make the decision. We know our kicking leaves a lot to be desired. We showed it in this game."
Indeed, first Jack Simcsak, then George Chatlos missed game-winning field goal attempts. For Simcsak, it may be the last one he'll miss for quite awhile.
"There's gonna be some changes," said Waller. "I don't want to condemn Simcsak but he's not kicking anymore even if I have to go out there and do it myself."
Waller didn't go that far after Simcsak missed his 36-yarder with 2:18 left but he did send in Chatlos. He had never tried a field goal in a game and his 26-yarder sailed wide left.
"I don't want to talk about it," growled Chatlos. "I'm just disgusted."
Simcsak isn't feeling too well either. A former star at Highland Park (N.J.) High and Virginia Tech, Simcsak said, "I wasn't thinking about it when he sent in Chatlos to kick the second time. I was just disappointed about missing the first time."
"The other guy (Simcsak) isn't kicking worth a damn," said Waller, explaining why he turned to the unproven Chatlos.
And so the Stars were winners, thanks to Lajterman, who had been cut by them too. He said the Stars parted most amicably, though. "When he cut me," said Lajterman, "coach Parilli told me to stay in shape and keep kicking. I worked out twice a week with my brother (Tito, a Kean College kicker) and I was ready.
He had to give up his career as a yogurt salesman to take this shot at pro ball and all he got out of it was a one-game contract.
"I intend to be here next week and for a long while," said Lajterman. "But Pete Rajecki is still very much in the picture."
It was a rib injury to Rajecki which gave Lajterman his chance. Since Rajecki will be out at least another week, Lajterman will, indeed, be a Star for awhile. When Rajecki returns...well, who knows?
Rajecki is a German-born but, after four years at the University of Georgia, speaks with a southern drawl. Lajterman is a former yogurt salesman from North Arlington, N.J., who was born in Argentina.
Should be an interesting battle.