Welcome home pro football to St. Louis. What a day it was in The Battle Dome. Over 29k came to see the long-awaited home opener, and as many as 15k were turned away. What a shame! A great atmosphere could have been better. The logistics made it a no go. Yesterday proved that St. Louis is this year version of the San Antonio Commanders. It was loud and the Battlehawks were #ClearedToEngage early and often in all 3 phases of the game.
The Battlehawks wasted no time on their opening drive. Just 4 plays on all runs and Christine Michael ran it up the middle for the touchdown and the Richter scale was off. We saw the very first kickoff return in XFL 2.0 on a reverse kickoff that Joe Powell went 84 yards down the right sideline on, and you can pretty much turn off your tv sets right there if you are a Guardians fans. Rookie quarterback Jordan Ta’amu only went for 12/18 for 119 yards but he didn’t have to do much. The Battlehawks ground game was unstoppable with 157 yards rushing, with 95 yards coming from Matt Jones.
Coach Johnathan Hayes expressed his happiness of the crowd that rocked the dome. Hayes said, this is why I came here. I grew up in a blue-collar town and this is great, and it gets better. The Battlehawks will remain home this week to face the Seattle Dragons in the dome. The St. Louis defense crushed the Guardians offense sending Matt McGloin to the bench with a rib injury. McGloin was 8/11 for 84 yards and one bad interception before leaving. None of the three Guardians quarterbacks could pass for over 100 yards. And for the second week in a row, whenever they had something going, the Guardians had a penalty to put them in 3rd and long each time.
The Guardians did have over 300 yards in offense this game. It meant nothing as 86 yards in penalties stopped them when the Battlehawks were not getting under their skin. The ground game did have 112 yards in rushing, but this team is undisciplined and lacking leadership. Kevin Gilbride whispered over to McKale McKay that he may lean on him to be a leader more this week. He also stated, the guys I thought that would be displaying leadership aren’t quite doing as expected. The guardians have a win but are by far the worst team after three weeks, and this was still a two-score game with four minutes left.
On this day the biggest winners were the fans and city of St. Louis. They proved that football should be played there. The chant of “Kroenke sucks” dominated the dome. The owner of the Rams who left for the glamor of Los Angeles. They were out there as early as 7am waiting for their team to arrive dressed as birds and living it up. As a football and XFL fan, you had to be encouraged.
The Kevin Gilbride press conference lasted one minute and six seconds. There wasn’t much to say, the good news is they come home. The bad news is they play an improving Wildcats team that just destroyed the DC Defenders. It is safe to say that Luis Perez or Marquise Williams will be starting this week. Will the Guardians fans be there? I know I will, I just hope to have something to cheer about.