Newark Star-Ledger

July 31, 1974

By Mike Weber

Stars vs. Sharks: Round 2

NEW YORK - Bud Asher feels his Jacksonville Sharks have improved every week of the WFL season. Babe Parilli may be beginning to think his New York Stars aren't as good as he believed.

The merits of those opinions will be shown tonight when the Stars host the Sharks in a return match at Downing Stadium, Randalls Island.

The Sharks beat the Stars, 14-7, opening day in Jacksonville and, although that was the last time the 1-2 Sharks won, Asher says "there's no comparison between our team then and now. We have begun to jell, to play as a unit."

The Stars, meanwhile, won their first game last week, beating the Philadelphia Bell, 17-15. But it wasn't a pleasing victory and one had only to look around the Stars' locker room to discover that.

"They weren't happy with their performance," said Parilli. "The manner in which we won upset them. We had to strain to win and it shouldn't have been that way."

But it was, with Moses Lajterman's 40-yard, fourth-quarter field goal the margin.

"They have to learn that they are good enough to beat anybody," said Parilli. "They have to learn to believe in themselves."

With a 1-2 record and coming off a game which Parilli felt was the poorest of the season for New York, that may be difficult.

The Stars will face the WFL's leading rusher, Tommy Durrance, a rookie from Florida who has gained 257 yards in 70 carries. He leads an attack which had been ground-oriented until last week, when quarterback Kay Stephenson found that throwing the ball could be profitable.

Durrance runs with Ricky Lake (21 carries for 81 yards) or Edgar Scott (7 for 33).

Indeed, this game could turn into a battle of the trenches, with each team's offensive line holding the key to the backs success. In the Stars' case, there are four backs to choose from, all of whom have played well for the Stars, who hold the No. 1 spot in WFL offense.

Bob Gladieux, with 43 carries and 168 yards, is a definite starter tonight, probably joined by Ed White, who ran very well last week in his first game, gaining 70 yards in 18 carries.

Then there's Andy Huff (106 yards in 21 carries), who sat out last week's game after missing three days of practice due to his father's illness. Also Jim Ford who, despite a 20-carry, 100-yard stat line, didn't run the ball at all last week.

"Sometimes you get a combination working very well together," explained Parilli. "We had it with Gladieux and White. I didn't want to break that up.

"It's nothing personal against Ford. It might work the opposite sometime."

It makes little difference who starts - the Stars will always have two good runners in the game, as noted by Asher.

"You can see why they are leading the league in offense," he said. "They do an awful lot of things well. After watching films of their last game, I feel that White is an especially strong runner."

Although neither team figures to go to the air much, the capability is there. Stephenson has completed 30 of 60 passes for 294 yards the Stars' Tom Sherman 32-of-70 for 494.

George Sauer continues to lead New York in receiving with 12 catches for 153 yards, followed by Al Young (seven for 109) and Bert Askson (three for 56). The Sharks are led by wide receiver Drew Buie, the former Oakland Raider who has eight catches for 120 yards. Tight end Dennis Hughes is next with five for 71 yards with wide receiver Tony Lomax third at five for 61.

If the Sharks do run consistently, it could be a break for the Stars' defense. Parilli made five personnel changes in it last week to improve pass defense and has scheduled at least one and possibly two for tonight. The sure switch sends Tom Chandler into a linebacker spot, replacing Gary Champagne.

Meanwhile, the line has held solid, anchored by ex-Jets John Elliott and Gerry Philbin.

"With people like that," says Asher, "it's understandable why they are near the top in defense as well as offense."

Parilli, however, expects better performance from both units.

"We did not play as good a game last week as we are capable of," he said. "Maybe Philadelphia has a better team than people think but I still feel we could have done a better job."

Parilli said something similar to that after the Stars dropped their opener to the Sharks. Tonight the Stars get another chance to prove they are better than some people are beginning to think.