Los Angeles Times

August 8, 1974

By Earl Gustkey

Sun Slows Down Stars, But Not Enough To Win

ANAHEIM - The Sun slowed down the World Football League's second-ranked offense to half-speed Wednesday night, but still lost an 11-8 verdict to the New York Stars at Anaheim Stadium.

Southern Cal, its record slipping to 2-3 before a paid crowd of 27,875, had two scoring opportunities terminated because it couldn't protect its quarterback, Tony Adams, from the Stars veteran defensive line.

The Stars snapped out of their game-long doldrums late in the final period with an 86-yard touchdown march that was executed sharply by quarterback Tom Sherman in the only drive of the night when he wasn't pressured by a tenacious Sun rush.

The play that beat Tom Fears' young team was a 40-yard pass from Sherman to Bert Askson, a tight end from Texas Southern who badly beat Sun defensive backs Durwood Keaton and Jim Bright going straight down the middle.

That drive began at New York's 14 and Sherman began in swift fashion, hitting veteran George Sauer for 16 yards, hitting Al Young for 12 more and running back Ed White ripped off 9 going over the Sun's left side.

Sherman made it to Southern Cal's 40 on an 8-yard scramble.

New York entered the game as the league's leading rushing team, having rushed for 841 yards, more than twice as much as the Sun. but the Sun rushed for 204 yards Wednesday night while the Stars gained only 97.

The Sun out-gained New York, 277 yards to 231, and had ample opportunity to emerge on top in points too. But because Fears' players couldn't protect their quarterback, Tony Adams, they lost.

After New York had gone up by 11-8 with 5:41 left in the game, Adams prodded his team into two ill-fated drives in the closing minutes.

The first one began at Southern California's 32, where Kermit Johnson - who gained 137 yards - carried the bulk of the workload on a march that reached New York's 39. There blitzing linebacker Tom Chandler sacked Adams on a fourth-and-three.

Fears' defense swiftly obtained another chance for Adams, however, New York had to punt and Southern Cal cranked up again from its 18.

Adams, fleeing a rush, scrambled for 15. Three plays later, he went down again for the sixth time in the game, this time by ex-USC star James Sims.

The Stars took over with 1:17 left and ran out the clock.

After the Sun scored on the games 2nd play, Fears could only watch in frustration as his club walked away pointless from 18 consecutive possessions.

And the arrival of new kicker Nick Dzepina, the Sun has solved only part of its kicking game insufficiency. He averaged 39.5 yards on eight punts but missed field goals from 52, 41 and 23 yards away.

Fears said his club wasn't a 100-yard football team Wednesday night.

"We were great between the twenties but then we'd have screwups. They've got a good defense, especially those down lineman. But they didn't stop us - it was our breakdowns. Our pass blocking just broke down."

New York coach Babe Parilli credited his defensive unit.

"We beat them in spite of our mistakes. The defense bailed us out. Our offense owes our defense a lot of playing time."

Fears meanwhile sounded the old refrain: inexperienced athletes make mistakes.

"You know what beat us tonight? It was youth, that's what it was..."

The Sun was presented two opportunities via New York fumbles in the first quarter, converting the first into a touchdown and blowing the second with an interception.