BattleHawks dominate Guardians in lopsided victory

In every facet from the first kickoff to the final whistle, the St. Louis BattleHawks dominated an overmatched New York Guardians squad on Sunday afternoon.

Sparked by Keith Mumphery’s electric 84-yard ramble for a kickoff return touchdown, St. Louis scored 20 straight points on its way to a 29-9 throttling over the visiting Guardians in XFL East action.

"Everybody stood up, even special teams," St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta’Amu said late in the win during a sideline interview on ESPN. "I’m happy for the win.

"We’re here to play and we’re not going nowhere."

Though the first-place D.C. Defenders and Houston Roughnecks have emerged as frontrunners and favorites in the XFL East and West, respectively, the BattleHawks (2-1) continue to keep pace as they smothered the beleaguered Guardians (1-2), who lost for the second straight week and have scored just one touchdown over the last two games.

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Entering the week as the XFL’s leading ground gainer, BattleHawks running back Matt Jones essentially put the game away when he barreled in from a yard out with 1:12 remaining in the first half for a 21-3 advantage.

Jones had a game-high 95 yards rushing on 15 carries, while stablemate and fellow former NFLer Christine Michael added 13 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown. Ta’amu had a rather pedestrian outing as he wasn’t really called on to do much as the game was a blowout from the beginning. Nonetheless, the dual threat was efficient to the tune of 12-for-18 for 119 yards and 14 yards on the ground in three carries.

The BattleHawks set a dominant tone from the onset, as Jones carried the ball on the first three plays from scrimmage, gaining six and five yards before bursting off right tackle for a 47-yard gain. On the ensuing play, Michael ran it up the gut for a 14-yard touchdown. Four plays, 72 yards and a 6-0 lead St. Louis would never look back from.

A week after a shutout loss, the Guardians offense found no answers. Much-maligned quarterback Matt McGloin got the start again, but his time, much like New York’s aspirations for a win, was short-lived. McGloin was 8-of-11 for 73 yards and an interception before Marquise Williams took over (7-of-15 for 94 yards). Guardians third-stringer Luis Perez (4-of-5 for 39 yards) was able to orchestrate a scoring drive past the midway point of the fourth quarter and hit wide receiver Austin Duke for an eight-yard score.

Just as questions still need answering for the Guardians — most notably on the offensive end — the inspired play continues for the BattleHawks.

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