BattleHawks Ground Guardians as Pro Football Returns to St. Louis
ST. LOUIS - With the support of a wild crowd for the XFL debut at The Dome at America's Center, the St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1) controlled their 26-9 victory Sunday over the New York Guardians (1-2).
St. Louis never trailed in Week 3 and sustained their drives thanks to an effective 1-2 run tandem of Matt Jones (95 yards, one touchdown) and Christine Michael (44 yards, one TD).
A lateraled kickoff return also went for a BattleHawks touchdown thanks to Joe Powell's finish, and a jaw-dropping 58-yard field goal from Taylor Russolino provided plenty of moments to mark in pro football's return to The Lou.
The Guardians, meanwhile, failed to get anything going on offense with erratic quarterback play. Matt McGloin battled ineffectiveness and injury. Marquise Williams moved downfield at times but couldn't convert. Third-stringer Luis Perez got a late audition and threw a touchdown, but by then, New York was far from contending.
WATCH THESE MOMENTS
The BattleHawks played smash-mouth football on their opening drive, needing just four run plays to score.
Jones broke off a 47-yard run before Michael took a carry 14 yards up the gut for St. Louis' first points at home.
In the second quarter, St. Louis popped off a trick play. Powell took a lateral from Keith Mumphery for a touchdown -- the first kickoff returned for a sixer in XFL history.
BATTLEHAWKS COMMENT ON WIN
"Obviously I want to express my thanks and our teams thanks to the people who came out. It was a great crowd, and it really ignited our players, and I can see why our 12th man is so important." BattleHawks head coach Jonathan Hayes
"We have a lot of potential. We have a great coaching staff. We have a great group of guys: offense, defense, even special teams. Going out there today it was that NFL feeling. We're all playing a high level, feeding off one another." BattleHawks RB Christine Michael
Cornerback Ranthony Texada flew all over the field, registering six tackles (four solo), one sack and a pass defensed.
Though perhaps helped by playing against loose defensive looks from an opponent winning big, New York's run game looked effective; the Guardians averaged 5.3 yards per attempt as Tim Cook and Darius Victor each netted 50 yards -- including a 33-yarder from Cook.
While the Guardians' ground game finally showed life, Jones and Michael again set a fine argument that they're the best 1-2 backfield punch in the XFL, combining for 139 yards on 28 carries (5.0 average).
St. Louis pressured the cavalcade of Guardians quarterbacks, getting sacks from Will Clarke, Andrew Ankrah and Casey Sayles.
UP NEXT: WEEK 4
New York heads back to MetLife Stadium to host the Los Angeles Wildcats (Saturday, Feb. 29, 2 p.m. on ABC).
The BattleHawks stay at home, welcoming the Seattle Dragons (Saturday, Feb. 29, 5 p.m. ET on FOX).
• Discuss this story on the XFL message board...
XFL Stories from February 23, 2020
- Walker, Phillips Show No Signs of Stopping - Houston Roughnecks
- Dome Sweet Dome: St. Louis' Soaring Return - St. Louis BattleHawks
- BattleHawks Ground Guardians as Pro Football Returns to St. Louis - St. Louis BattleHawks
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.