AFL

West 47

East 27

 

January 7, 1962

 

Oakland Tribune

By SCOTTY STIRLING

 

San Diego (AP)- Houston quarterback George Blanda has a hair problem called Charlie McNeil.

 

"He's always in my hair," muttered Blanda after the West swiped five of his passes and battered the favored East 47-27 Sunday in the first American Football League All-Star Game.  The West defense, dominated by seven San Diego Chargers, gave the AFL Player of the Year, Blanda, a rugged afternoon

 

Blanda went most of the way at QB for Wally Lemm's Easterners and suffered his poorest game of the long season. Oddly, he lost six passes two weeks ago in the AFL title game, but it didn't hurt him as the Oilers whipped San Diego, 10-3.

 

Blanda said West linebackers Sherrill Headrick and E. J. Holub, both from Dallas, and pass defenders McNeil of San Diego, Fred Williamson of Oakland and David Webster of Dallas all combined to give him a miserable afternoon. The West converted four of the thefts into touchdowns in the bruising struggle.

 

Fred Williamson stopped the Blanda-Charlie Hennigan long bomb threat entirely. The catches Hennigan made were short comeback passes in the "fringe" area of the West's zone pass defense. Hennigan, the great Houston receiver who leads the AFL with 1,746 yards and 12 touchdown passes, and is a constant deep threat, was held to five receptions and 55 yards.

 

One of these for went three yards and a TD late in the game, but not over Williamson. And, he picked off two interceptions and scored a TD himself, on a pretty 53-yard runback.

 

The East did all of the scoring in the first quarter when Blanda connected on a 32 yard field goal. Abner Haynes of the Dallas Texans fumbled in his own end zone and was tackled by Jim Hunt of the Patriots for a safety. It was 5-0, East after one quarter.

 

In the second quarter, Cotton Davidson of the Texans replaced Jack Kemp of the Chargers and promptly hit Donnie Stone of Denver with a 45 yard touchdown pass. Stone was playing in his twenty-fifth pro game of the 1961 season, having played a the full season in Canada. The East responded as Blanda hit teammate, Billy Cannon, with a 43 yard touchdown to make the score 12-7. Haynes answered with an 11 yard touchdown run and Davidson threw a 24 yard touchdown strike to San Diegoís Dave Kocourek. The halftime score was 21-12 in favor of the West.

 

In the third quarter, Haynes returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown. Oakland fullback, Alan Miller, cut down Houston's Charlie Tolar with a perfectly-timed cruncher on Haynes' spectacular run. The 20,973 in the stands at Balboa Stadium roared as much for the assist as for the great fun.

 

Davidson connected with the Chargerís Don Norton on a 10 yard touchdown pass. The East came back when Bostonís Gino Cappelletti caught a 5 yard touchdown pass from Blanda. The score at the end of the third period was 35-19.

 

In the final period, the West put it away on Williamson 53 yard interception return for the Westís sixth touchdown.

 

New York Titans quarterback Al Dorow replaced Blanda and hit Charley Hennigan for three yards and a touchdown. Dorow carried the ball over for the two-point conversion. The final score of the day came when the Stone carried the ball over from 12 yards out for the West. The final score was West 47, East 27.

 

San Diego and West coach Sid Gillman, who gained a degree of revenge over Oiler and East mentor, Lemm, credited Dallas quarterback Cotton Davidson with reversing the game's tide. "He picked up the team and got it rolling.

 

Davidson, billed as an understudy to Charger Jack Kemp, took the reins in the second period after Kemp hadn't engineered even a first down.

 

While Davidson was picking apart the Eastern pass defense, Blanda was limited to 13 completions in 36 tries for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Davidson completed 16 of 28 passes for 239 yards and was voted the gameís MVP. The East fared better on the ground, getting 70 net yards to the West's paltry 37, but trailed in passing, 270-212, and that was the difference.

 

West squad members got $700 each. Each loser took home $500.

The game was hosted by the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce as a charity event to raise funds for the Breitbard Athletic Foundation. The game was a rousing success for the new league, turning a profit and gaining much needed television exposure for the stars of the league as the game was aired nationally by ABC TV.

 

Houston's George Blanda passes for the East.

 

Boston's Larry Garron eludes Dallas' Dave Webster.

 

Ken Adamson of Denver leads Texans' Abner Haynes on sweep.

 

 

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