July 26, 1974
By Bill Livingston
Twice in the last 2 ½ minutes the Philadelphia Bell had a chance to win it Thursday night and twice they blew it - to the dismay of a World Football League record crowd of 64,719 at John F. Kennedy Stadium.
Not one but two different Bell kickers missed field goals as the New York Stars hung on to a 17-15 victory.
The second and most dramatic disappointment came just one second left on the clock when George Chatlos, a second - year linebacker and place-kicker from Michigan State who isn't even the Bell's regular placement man, delivered a high, wobbly kick that drifted wide and to the left from 26 yards out.
The Bell's No. 1 kicker, Jack Simcsak, had missed a much longer try, from 36 with 2:18 left.
"With our kicking," Bell Coach Ron Waller second guessed, "I'd go for the touchdown if I had to do it over again. I put Chatlos in because the other guy had missed before. Kicking cost us the whole game. We knew our kicking left a lot to be desired."
A final, bitter irony was that New York's winning margin, a 40-yard field goal with 11:48 left was supplied by Moses Lajterman, who earlier was cut by the Bell and even before that by the Stars, before hitching his wagon to them again.
"It's fate...just fate," Waller sighed.
"It looked like he shanked it," Stars Coach Babe Parilli said. "I don't know if it was blocked...I'll have to see the film."
In the somber Bell locker room, Chatlos wasn't talking. "It was tipped," he said. "I know that. I just don't want to talk about it now."
Compounding his troubles, Chatlos had lost his kicking shoe at halftime. Simcsak loaned him his. For want of a nail - or a shoe.
Simcsak said of his earlier miss, which came at the end of another nerveless, King Corcoran - directed drive, "I was trying to rush the whole operation. I wanted to get it up quick, not get it blocked. Sure I was disappointed. I didn't get to kick the last one. Anyone would be."
The game was a crowning blow for Corcoran, who had been not so much king as pauper last week, but who on this night had hit 14 for 24 for 215 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Corcoran, completing passes all over the place, who took the Bell downfield and into position for the ill-fated field goal tries. A 21-yard shell over the middle to Linzy Cole had set up the last, desperate kick.
Before that, he had taken them to the Stars' 28 on a 16-yard out pass to Don Shanklin and before that, apparently having completely shaken off the shades of his dismal performance last week in Houston, had moved the club to the Stars 44 on another flip over the middle to LeVell Hill.
But it was not to be and the Bell lost a game it almost surely had won, falling to 1-2 in the WFL Eastern Division. It was New York's first win.
The Bell led 8-0 at the end of the first quarter, and that was mainly because its complex offensive scheme simply flimflammed New York throughout.
The big play in an 89-yard, five-play scoring drive was a 52-yard lob from Corcoran to wide receiver Don Shanklin reaching the Stars 28 with 5:50 left. On that play, the King started Claude Watts in motion from the left, faked a handoff to John Land, shot a threatening glance at Watts, who was running a swing pattern, and then nailed Shanklin near midfield.
Shanklin was wide open. He cut back behind safety Lou Angelo, swirled across field, and finally was hauled down by wingback Jeff Woodcock. Land got eight from here with a pitchout and then Corcoran dropped a swing pass from 18 to Watts, who took it at the 10 and steamed in.
Three offsides penalties on New York kept nullifying Bell failures on the Action Point and Corcoran finally sneaked over from about the one-foot line.
New York's only threat came when Marv Pettaway coughed up a punt to the Stars on their 44. Bob Hermanni ripped off a 25-yard gain on an end around to the Bell 13, but the drive died when Tom Sherman snapped a pass behind tight end Bert Askson at the Bell 12 and Bill Craven snatched it with a diving interception.
New York scored in the second quarter, although someone up there had to be slightly delirious to bring it about. The push began at the 15 when Angelo swept across field from the right and stole an underthrown Corcoran toss to Linzy Cole.
Sherman found Al Young for 29 yards along the right sidelines and then the gremlins and glitches took over.
From the Bell 41, Sherman fired for running back Dave Richards, running the sideline at the Bell 10.
Safety Ed Hayes ranged over, got the ball in his crosshairs, and then slapped it directly backwards to a stunned Richards when he mistimed his jump. Richards tumbled to the one and, one play later, tumbled into the end zone.
A heavy rush by linebacker Bob Grant forced Sherman to overthrow Askson on the Action Point. Making it 8-7 with 7:03 left.