Florida Times-Union

July 12, 1974

By Maynard Eilers

59,112 Watch Sharks Put Down Stars, 14-7

The World Football League was supposed to add a new offensive dimension to the game of football, but the Jacksonville Sharks found defense more to their liking at the Gator Bowl Thursday night.

A defensive back scored the Sharks' first touchdown and a defensive tackle set up their second with two minutes to play in the fourth quarter as the Sharks downed the New York Stars 14-7, before a crowd of 59,112.

Ike Lassiter, a 270-pound veteran of 11 years in the National Football League, blocked Robby Reynolds' punt and linebacker Rich Thomann carried it to the Stars' seven.

Ex-University of Florida running back Tommy Durrance picked up six yards around right end to the one, and on the next play fumbled the ball, which was recovered by guard O.Z. White for the winning touchdown with 2:02 to play.

Cornerback Alvin Wyatt, a Jacksonville native, scored the Sharks' first touchdown in the second quarter on an 87-yard punt return and Stars' quarterback tied it up later in the period with an eight-yard TD pass to George Sauer. Both action points missed.

The Sharks' offense found it difficult to set up a continued drive in the first half, so it was left up to a member of the defensive unit to score their only touchdown in the first 30 minutes.

Wyatt, a cornerback accounted for the Sharks' only points with his punt return. He received Robby Reynolds' punt on the 13-yard line, moved to the middle of the field and then cut to the right sideline at the 35 for the rest of the yardage.

The Stars' looked as if they had a sure touchdown early in the second quarter when Sherman and tight end Ray Parson converted on a 19-yard pass play to the Sharks' two.

But Sherman threw the ball into the stands on first down and running back Dave Richards was held to one yard on the next three plays as the Sharks came up with their goal line stand.

The Sharks were on their way to another defensive stronghold later in the quarter when wide receiver Bob Hermanni gained 16 yards on a reverse to the three.

The Stars were penalized back to the eight and Sherman threw two incompletions before hitting with the TD pass. The action point failed to convert and the score was tied after 30 minutes, 7-7.

There were only three possessions in the scoreless third quarter as the Sharks dominated play by amassing six first downs to three for the Stars.

Durrance, who carried the ball six times in the quarter, got the Sharks rolling with an eight-yard pass completion from Stephenson, and then the Sharks quarterback converted to Ricky Lake for a 10-yard completion inside New York territory. But a Stephenson pass to rookie Keith Krepfle lost six yards and the Sharks were forced to punt.

A pass from Stephenson to Buie was incomplete as the fourth quarter opened, but a personal foul penalty against the Stars gave the Sharks a first down on the Stars' 11.

Durrance carried to the eight and Stephenson passed incomplete in the end zone. On third down, Stephenson was sacked for the third time in the game by eight-year veteran defensive tackle John Elliott, losing 12 yards to the 20.

A 36-yard field goal attempt by Guthrie was blocked, and the Stars recovered on their 15-yard line with 12:52 left.

On second down, Sherman's pass to Al Young was good for 14 yards to the 31, but Richards fumbled and Notre Dame rookie free safety Mike Townsend recovered for the Sharks on the Stars' 42.

New York got the ball back in four plays after Durrance gained four yards then lost three and Stephenson passed incomplete, but Duane Carrell's punt was good for 41 yards when it was downed on the Stars' four.

The Stars picked up a first down on a 10-yard run by Bob Gladieux but were forced to punt. John Osborne's 14-yard return gave the Sharks' the ball on their own 37.

Durrance picked up 12 yards up the middle to the 49 for a first down, Lake gained two more, Ron Lamb went over center for three more and Durrance picked up three to set up another punting situation. Carrell's 43-yard punt went into the end zone and gave the Stars the ball on the 20.

Sauer's 12-yard completion from Sherman moved the ball to the 32, and Wyatt almost intercepted a Stars bomb on the Sharks' 35. Sherman was caught by Vernon Vanoy and was shaken up on the play but left the field under his own power.

It Brought up a punting situation, and Lassiter's block and Thomann's recovery set up the game-winning touchdown.