Newark Star-Ledger

August 1, 1974

By Mike Weber

Stars survive Sharks rally, 24-16

NEW YORK - Babe Parilli said it was something he hadn't anticipated. Tom Sherman said it was, "scary."

But there it was, nonetheless, the specter of a third string quarterback leading the Jacksonville Sharks perilously close to a late-game touchdown. Just eight yards of frustration, the drive was stopped by an interception, and the Stars held on for a 24-16 victory at Downing Stadium.

A crowd of 15,648 had few doubts the Stars were victory bound after both Shark quarterbacks - Kay Stephenson and Kim Hammond - were sidelined within two plays of each other, spanning the third and fourth periods.

That left it all up to Jeff Davis, a running back activated this week. Playing as the quarterback, Davis ran and ran and the Sharks moved from their 43 to the Stars' eight. He passed, complete to Tony Lomax in the end zone. The pass was ruled caught out of bounds, incomplete.

"His foot was in," claimed Davis. "He dragged it across the line. It was one of those calls."

After a short argument, Davis called another pass play to the same left corner of the end zone.

"I was just supposed to throw into the end zone," said Davis, "and hope someone could come up with it."

Unfortunately for the Sharks that someone was Stars' safety Lou Angelo. Inexplicably, he ran the ball out of the end zone, being tackled on his four yard line and giving the Sharks more hope later in the period.

That too, evaporated when Jeff Woodcock knocked down a Davis pass on the goalline with 18 seconds left.

"We hadn't anticipated Davis doing what he did," said Parilli, the Stars' coach. "I just told the defense to try and contain him. We knew he'd be a roll-out since he wasn't familiar with their offense."

For awhile, it looked like the Stars (2-2) weren't too familiar with their offense. Ed White fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and New York looked sluggish the entire first period. In the end, however, they rolled up 335 net offensive yards, 67 each by Sherman and running back Bob Gladieux.

It was Sherman's run with 7:51 left in the third quarter which won the game, capping a drive which began on their own 12.

The Stars played catch-up most of the way, falling behind 8-0 in the first period when the WFL's top rusher Tommy Durrance bulled in from in from the two. Stephenson passed to Durrance for the action point.

The Stars capitalized on a 19-yard punt by Duane Carrell later in the period which put the ball on the Sharks 24. After Andy Huff gained a yard, Sherman hit George Sauer with a pass on the 14 and Gladieux needed two plays to score from there. Gladieux ran for the game-tying action point.

The teams traded second period TD's on back-to-back drives, the Sharks scoring first with 2:35 gone when Stephenson passed 56 yards to tight end Dennis Hughes at the 20, but made a less than half-hearted effort, falling clumsily as Hughes raced away.

Gladieux returned the ensuing kickoff to his 43 and, moving with seven of the eight plays on the ground, the Stars scored.

Sherman ran better than ever last night with his best effort coming on this drive. Faced with a second-and-three on the Sharks' 39, Sherman bootlegged to the eight. Gladieux then carried twice. Huff once and finally Huff smashed over from the two-inch line.

New York embarked on an 88-yard, 12-play drive for the winner, 10 on the ground as New York totaled 221 rushing yards. Sherman completed both passes, one for 32 yards to Ray Parson, moving the ball from the 50 to the 18. Four plays later, Sherman kept for the score.

"I don't really like to run as much as I did," said Sherman, "but some of the plays we tried worked, so we kept going. We were sluggish early in the game - they were beating us across the line of scrimmage but our running game seemed to wake everybody up."

The final play of the third period and the second play of the fourth proved Jacksonville's undoing. First John Elliott belted Stephenson, causing ligament damage to Stephenson's left knee.

Enter Hammond who, on his second play was sacked by Elliott. Exit Hammond with a slight concussion. 

Enter Davis, a product of Mars Hill (N.C.) College whose only experience as a quarterback was as a high school sub.

He played very well, gaining 48 yards on five carries.

"I thought our defense played well," said Sherman, "until toward the end of the game with Davis in. It was scary."

"It was a heckuva way to break in with the team," said Davis.

"It was scary," repeated Sherman.