(ST. CHARLES, MO) The St. Louis SLAM women’s tackle football team faced two forms of “threat” Saturday night at Lindenwood University.
The first would come from Mother Nature as steady thunderstorms throughout the afternoon made the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) affair potentially sloppy.
The second arrived directly from the Sooner State. The Tulsa Threat entered Harlan C. Hunter Stadium looking to bust the SLAM’s two-game win streak and create a kerfuffle in the WFA American Conference – Midwest Region.
In the end, consider it a dual victory for the locals donning orange and black. Skies cleared before kickoff and the SLAM performed at sky-high levels as the evening ensued.
Propelled by a 31-0 run, St. Louis claimed a 52-19 triumph over Tulsa, netted its third straight duke and improved to 5-1 overall.
“We’ve got a hard-working team and they did a great job,” assessed the SLAM’s Keyonna Smith, who had a pair of touchdown receptions on the night. “We had some challenges, but we bounced back and we’re still learning. We’ve got a lot of good rookies and everybody’s working hard, so we pulled it off.”
“Every position on the field, we’re pretty good at,” added receiver Kaylee Knuetzling, who also collected two touchdown catches in the win. “Our quarterback and receivers, they are fast. Our defensive backs are also fast and our running back, Taylor Hay, is one of the best in the league.”
Before notching the 33-point win, the SLAM did find itself behind the proverbial “eight-ball” early.
The Threat scored first at the 8:47 mark with Angelique Hughes’ three-yard touchdown scamper, her sixth of the season. Kinsey Crawford added the successful kick afterwards to give Tulsa a 7-0 edge.
But that lead would be the Threat’s lone benchmark of the night. On the ensuing kickoff, the SLAM’s Smith raced 51 yards to set up the team’s initial rotation at offense. With its first snap from scrimmage, the aforementioned Hay barreled 26 yards for her sixth touchdown run of the year. She tacked on the extra-point kick to tie the game, 7-7.
Then after a trading of possessions, Hay collected her second touchdown of the quarter with a six-yard plunge with 3:30 left in the first. The SLAM stretched its lead to 14-7 following the successful kick.
Tulsa responded with a sustained drive that carried over into the second quarter. Stephanie Fowble collected her first touchdown of the season with a five-yard run with 9:00 left in the half to cut the SLAM’s lead to 14-13. The SLAM’s special teams continued its stellar play by blocking the attempted PAT kick and kept the game a one-point affair.
St. Louis’ defense, which has been paramount to the team’s success this season, then went into “lock down mode” and kept the Threat’s offense silent for the next 28 minutes of clock. This resulted in the aforementioned 31-0 St. Louis surge.
SLAM quarterback Jelani Kelly connected with Smith for a 19-yard touchdown strike with 6:41 left in the second and pushed the score to 21-13 following Hay’s successful kick.
Knuetzling posted a pair of touchdown catches deep in the half. Scoring snags of 15 and 16 yards, respectively, in the final ninety seconds paved the way for a 35-13 SLAM intermission lead.
The momentum carried over into the second half. With 11:35 left in the third quarter, Raven Williams collected her first touchdown of the season with a nine-yard run. Hay added the kick afterwards to push the score to 42-13.
Meanwhile, the SLAM’s accomplished defensive core continued to wear down Tulsa’s offense and keep it scoreless for the quarter. In the process, Hay added a 25-yard field goal with 3:00 left in the frame to extend St. Louis’ advantage, 45-13.
The Threat finally broke its scoring drought with 7:10 left in the game as Terri Gilbert scored with a five-yard quarterback keeper. The two-point conversion failed and the SLAM maintained a 45-19 lead.
St. Louis put an exclamation point on the evening as Kelly delivered her fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 36-yard strike to Smith, with 6:37 left. Hay converted her seventh kick of the contest to post the final differential.
The SLAM outscored Tulsa, 17-6, in the second half en route to the 52-19 victory and its third straight win. Kelly finished the evening passing for 129 yards while Hay rushed for 105.
As a whole Saturday night, it was an extremely balanced, and dominant, performance by the locals. All cogs in the SLAM machine continue to perpetually perform within the fast-paced WFA regular season, which has two weekends remaining.
“We do our best to try to work on everything,” said Smith. “We have strengths everywhere, from the line to everything out, but we’re working on getting better in every single aspect of the game.”
“Teams get confused because they don’t know how to stop our running or passing game,” added Knuetzling.
St. Louis now prepares for a “Show-Me State” rematch on home turf next weekend against the squad that handed them its lone setback this season. The SLAM hosts the Kansas City Titans (4-2) Saturday at 7 p.m. at Lindenwood. The cross-state compatriot topped St. Louis, 27-17, on May 2 and seeks its second straight win.
Conversely, the SLAM looks for its fourth straight and seeks comeuppance on the Titans.
“It’s going to be a battle,” said Smith. “It’s our biggest rival…but we’re going to bring it to them.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game are $12 while children 10 and under get in free with a paying adult.
Off the field, the SLAM is holding a “Trivia Night” fundraiser this Friday night at 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Church of Hungary (1420 South Sappington, St. Louis, MO). A table for eight players is $150 while individual tickets are $20.
For more information on the St. Louis SLAM, go to stlslam.com.