The Charlotte News

October 19, 1975

By Phil Whitesell

Victory Bell

Philadelphia Rushes By Hornets, 18-10

Philadelphia, PA - The family of Charlotte Hornets president Upton Bell once owned the land but a different Bell possessed Franklin Field Saturday night as Philadelphia's World Football League team pushed the Hornets around on a rain-slick artificial turf for an 18-10 win.

Bell running back Claude Watts rushed for a club record 136 yards on 25 carries and the Philadelphia club also set a team record of 258 yards rushing. Watts set the tone for the evening when he gained 20 yards on the Bell's first play from scrimmage.

"I can't take the credit for it." said the 31-year old Watts as he dabbed at a bloody scratch on his nose after the game.

"Since they (the Bell offensive line) have come of age they're making the holes. All you've go to do is take them," he said. "The other running back, (John) Land, blocks real well. Most of my plays run off his blocks."

The former star from Bluefield State in West Virginia, who wasn't a starter when the season began, said he wasn't doing anything differently now. But he was doing something different from the Charlotte runners, who gained only 66 yards rushing for the game. Most of that total came on the 43-yard run of Molly McGee in the fourth quarter, a run that set up Charlotte's lone touchdown.

In the first half Bell quarterback Bob Davis rushed for more yards (one) and scored more points (seven) than the entire Charlotte team (minus two yards rushing and three points on a Pete Rajecki field goal).

Hornets quarterback Tom Sherman, who sparkled in the last two Charlotte wins, hot nine of 30 passes for 99 yards Saturday, and threw two interceptions.

Davis hit five of 18 passes for 40 yards and threw three interceptions.

Punter Robby Reynolds of Charlotte and Linc Wells of Philadelphia got ample time to exercise their legs with eight punts apiece as both offenses had enough errors to last a season.

In one two-minute stretch in the second quarter, the ball changed hands four times on two interceptions and two fumbles. The last mistake in that series of mishaps was Charlotte's and Philadelphia got a Bob Cooper field goal out of it.

Perhaps the most costly error for Charlotte, however, came late in the game when they were down by eight points and driving in Bell territory.

With little more than a minute to play, Brian Dowling threw a pass to tight end Danny Whyte that appeared to be incomplete at the Bell 33 yard line.

Instead, when the ball popped out of Whyte's hands, the officials ruled it was a fumble and the Bell recovered.

Philadelphia then ran out the clock.

Only 1,293 fans showed up at the 60,546-seat stadium, a World Football League record low.

Bell public relations assistant John Waldeyer said a televised Philadelphia Flyers hockey game, along with the rain, undoubtedly influenced fans to stay at home.

"I'd give out free umbrellas if I thought they'd come," Bell general manager Richard Iannarella said.