CARSON, Calif. – Perhaps the DC Defenders were feeling themselves a bit too much after a dominant opening to the season, fall to 2-1, after receiving a slap in the face, losing 39-9 to the LA Wildcats, Sunday.
The Wildcats (1-2), first win saw the team score more points tonight than the previous two losses combined.
The Wildcats defense on the prowl, forcing five turnovers, pressuring Defender quarterback Cardale Jones into 13-26 for 103 yards and four interceptions, twice by Mike Stevens. The Wildcats held the Defenders to 2-of-12 on third down and averaging 4.1 yards-per-play.
Jones was playing confused for much of the first half. Jones threw two interceptions in the first quarter and only completed 6-of-14 passes for only 39 yards. Defender receivers could not gain any separation from the Wildcat defensive backs.
A 32-yard field goal attempt by Defenders kicker Ty Rausa was true for three points, preventing the Defenders from being shutout in the first half to the Wildcats, 27-3 after Jones was able to move the Defenders within field goal range. The Defenders would never play that close from scrimmage again.
Johnson made his case for MVP, passing for 278 yards on 18-25 passing with three touchdowns.
McBride, the William and Mary Tribe product, leaves the game in the third with an apparent head injury was blowing up, collecting five catches for 109 yards.
Johnson’s passing options were not limited to McBride as Nelson Spruce, entering the game leading the XFL in targets, receptions, and yards steps up in the third pulling in 75 yards on three receptions.
Wildcats running back Martez Carter was “Mr. Excitement” scoring in the passing game and rushing the ball scoring two touchdowns, two on the ground and one through the air and 75 yards of total offense.
Defenders Head Coach Pep Hamilton needed to involve the NCAA All-Time leading rusher, Donnel Pumphrey, more, giving him more touches in open space. Pumphrey only had two receptions for seven yards and rushed for 40 on eight carries The Defenders were running and were able to rush the ball reasonably well, outrushing Los Angeles 173-to-55, averaging 5.2 yards-per-rush. Nick Brossette amassed 75 yards on eight carries, much of them once the game was out of hand.
Hamilton and his team will need to dig deep if they want to bounce back from this shellacking when they travel back across the country to play the 0-3 Tampa Bay Vipers in Raymond James Stadium on March 1. The Wildcats will play their next game a day earlier in the Meadowlands against the New York Guardians.