The Philadelphia Inquirer

October 19, 1975

By John Dell

Watts Stars, Bell Jolts Charlotte, 18-10

Claude Watts supplied voltage that lit up the Bell last night. In a charged up performance that could not be short circuited by rain, Watts set a club record of 136 net rushing yards as the Bell upset the Charlotte Hornets, 18-10, at Franklin Field.

Watts conducted an almost entirely clandestine operation, as only 1,293 watched him surpass the 121 yards gained by John Land against the Hawaiians last season.

Watts seemed ideally suited to the weather. He is a quick, 215-pound power runner out of Bluefield State who has knocked about with pro teams ranging from the Kansas City Chiefs, on downward through Canadian Football and the Philadelphia Bulldogs for some 10 years. The record says he's 31 years old, but in the locker room he gets the respect of a senior citizen.

"The old man just gets in there and does the job. It really inspired me," said defensive end Don Ratliff, 24.

Watts was a starter last year, but then J.J. Jennings was cut from the Memphis payroll as the World Football League tried to stretch its dwindling dollars by limiting roster sizes. The Bell picked up Jennings and Watts picked a seat on the bench.

Three games ago, Jennings got hurt. Watts went back in and tore three 100-plus yard games.

"It makes us wonder about our selections," Bell coach Willie Wood admitted.

"Not bad, eh?" Watts grinned, "I can't take credit for it, though. It was the offensive line. They've really matured."

He meant that things have gotten a lot better for ball carriers since Watts played sparingly when the Bell lost to the Hornets, a first half division leader, earlier in the season.

Watts led the Bell to a club record 258 yards rushing. He had 142 yards on 22 carries at the end of three quarters, but was thrown for losses in the last period that reduced his final net.

Watts rushed for 40 of the 80 yards that the Bell picked up on a touchdown drive the first time it had the ball. Quarterback Bob Davis sneaked the final yard, but John Land's action point was stopped.

Pete Rajecki's 27-yard field goal cut the Bell's lead to 7-3, but Bob Cooper booted a 44-yarder to give the Bell a 10-3 halftime lead. By that time, Watts had 97 yards.

Watts scored on a one-yard sweep at the conclusion of a 74-yard drive early in the fourth quarter. Davis passed to Ted Kwalick for the added points that made the Bell's lead 18-3 – a margin that held safe after Don Highsmith's four-yard scoring run at the end of a 56-yard drive.