July 26, 1974
By Marty Twersky
The situation demanded a field-goal attempt. With one second left in the game last night, the Philadelphia Bell, trailing by two points was at the New York Stars 20-yard line.
A can't miss kick. Maybe.
Amid the bedlam created by fans crowding along the sidelines, Bell coach Ron Waller called for his kicker. George Chatlos bolted onto the field and the spectators oohed and aahed, partly because of the excitement of the moment and partly because they were confused.
No. 62 isn't the Bell place-kicker. Jack Simcsak, who was biting his lip and hanging his head, expected to be the kicker on the spot.
Chatlos - wearing one of Simcsak's football shoes - missed the field goal when the ball veered to the left and the Bell lost to the Stars, 17-15.
A throng of 64,719 watched the game at South Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium and saw the Bell's World Football League record drop to one win and two losses.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Philadelphia's newest team.
The Bell had lost more than a football game, said Waller, who announced that Simcsak, who missed a 46-yarder with 2:18 to play was a goner.
"I guarantee you he won't be our kicker anymore," Waller said. "We'll find ourselves a new man. I don't know where he'll come from, but no matter what, Simcsak is out...I won't say one man is to blame for a team loss but apparently he can't handle the pressure."
When Waller's wailing was relayed to Simcsak, he listened quietly and shrugged. The missed field goal, he said, was not his fault. He claimed Don Shanklin's clumsy handling of the center snap offset his timing.
The two had practiced only two days as kicker-holder.
"I was ready to take the kick," said Simcsak, who once tried out with the Denver Broncos, where he received tips from Jim Turner. "I wasn't nervous and I wasn't feeling any pressure."
"But was it entirely my fault? I don't think so...I was ready to meet the ball and the ball wasn't there. How could I get off a solid kick?"
Across the field, in the Stars' locker room, a 5-foot-nine, soccer-style field goal kicker was enjoying his finest hour. Moses Lajterman laughing at the Bell misfortunes.
It was Lajterman who kicked the winning field goal 3:12 into the fourth quarter that put the Stars ahead to stay. Now, he was happily recounting his brief stay with the Bell - two days that ended in frustration.
"It was nice to get this one against them," the former Montclair State star said. "I knew I was better than the kicker they had around but they never gave me the shot."
Maybe because he showed up for a tryout without gear and ended up booming field goals in black socks.
"I had been cut by the Stars and I asked Waller for some gear," Moses said. "He told me to get my own. He never really looked at me. I guess I had to remember that tonight."
Waller, shrugging, remembered Moses and the black socks.
"Me and the staff, obviously we made a mistake with him," Waller said. "He did the job. He's better than what I got."
"I was nervous about him," Stars' coach Babe Parilli said. "But the kid came through. He'll be around for awhile."
The Bell had taken a 15-14 lead at 5:51 of the third quarter on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Corcoran to LeVell Hill.
Corcoran fired another touchdown pass, an 18-yarder to Claude Watts, giving the Bell an early 8-0 lead. Corcoran converted on a quarterback sneak.
The Bell's Alan Thompson fumbled the kickoff and New York's Larry Shears recovered it on the 22.
Six plays later, Sherman hit George Sauer with an apparent 16-yard TD pass. But a holding penalty nullified it. On the next play, Sherman connected with Al Young for 20 yards, taking the ball to the six. Three plays later, Bob Gladieux plunged over from the one, giving the Stars a 14-8 lead.