(ST. LOUIS, MO) The weather conditions for a good percentage of the practices for the St. Louis SLAM this season could be best identified as “partly crappy to really lousy.”
Mother Nature marred sessions as the locals, returning after a one-year absence, prepared for their play within the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA).
The less-than-ideal environment experienced back then actually worked to the SLAM’s benefit Saturday night as the tackle football franchise topped cross-state rival KC Titans 28-8 at a soggy St. Mary’s High School.
St. Louis (2-0) trailed early but executed at better levels as conditions worsened. In fact, the 14-0 second half output during perpetual rainfall propelled the team to victory.
“The one thing that can be said about our team is that we face a lot of adversity,” said SLAM wide receiver Danielle Price after the game. “Whether we are practicing in the rain or playing in a storm down here, we know how to face it. Being down (early) was not normal for us but we know how to dig deep.”
Although twenty points was the final differential, the SLAM fully knew that they were in a battle as the game was a six-point affair heading into the final quarter.
After both teams fizzled on their opening possessions, St. Louis capitalized on great field position five minutes deep and started on the Kansas City 30. SLAM penalties thwarted red zone attempts but a reverse that was called with 1:30 left in the quarter resulted in Price’s 22-yard touchdown romp that cracked the goose egg. Veteran Danielle Thompson added the kick afterwards which made the score 7-0.
In the second quarter, Kansas City flipped the scoreboard with quarterback Liz Sowers’ fake punt that resulted in a 65-yard touchdown run at the 10:10 mark and the ensuing two-point conversion from running back Sophia Turner resulted an 8-7 lead change that favored the Titans.
The SLAM regained the lead with 5:25 left as quarterback Jamie Gaal connected with Price for a 55-yard touchdown strike and Thompson’s successful kick that followed made the score 14-8.
In the third quarter, the Titans planned to tie the game five minutes in. After pushing the ball to the SLAM’s nine-yard line and possessing a first and goal set-up, the Titans managed to drive to the two yard line after a pair of downs.
Then on third and goal, SLAM linebacker Raven Williams penetrated the Titans’ offensive line and sacked Sowers for a 12-yard loss that muzzled a momentum shift. Sowers’ incomplete pass on fourth down resulted in KC’s possession turnover that maintained the SLAM’s six-point edge.
The final quarter was when the weather drizzle led to the SLAM’s on-field sizzle.
Paced by the offensive line of Caitlin Erickson, Tammie Moore, Kim Kinsella, Marion Ball and a host of others, the SLAM produced a 12-play, 54-yard scoring drive that was concluded by veteran running back Taylor Hay’s one-yard plunge with 12:30 left. Thompson added the PAT that pushed the lead to 21-8.
Meanwhile, the SLAM’s stifling defense, paced by Williams, Tiffany Pugh, Keyonna Smith, Pamela Green, Chelsea Clay, Kaylee Neutzling and a host of others maintained the lock down on the Titans (0-2) and never surrendered from-scrimmage points and minimal yardage.
“Our defense can just beat anybody no matter where they’re at on the field,” Price said of her teammates. “(KC) had that big momentum swing and we shut it down. We’re good at that.”
St. Louis’ final margin of victory came with their six-play, 29-yard drive that was finished by rookie running back Jamie Skinner’s four-yard plunge with 7:10 remaining and Thompson’s perfect streak of four made PATs.
In the SLAM’s 28-8 triumph, Hay topped rushing with 105 yards off of 25 carries while Gaal finished the night with 116 yards off of ten completions and a pair of touchdowns.
St. Louis is idle next week In WFA play but returns to St. Mary’s on Saturday, April 27 in a home contest against Derby City Dynamite (1-1).
“Getting ourselves in a rhythm is what we need, especially for our offense,” assessed Price for the team’s next flight of practices. “Getting into that rhythm of where we need to be and how we’re supposed to do it. We haven’t had the greatest practices because of weather, but we’re going to keep working and keep grinding every day.”
For more information on the St. Louis SLAM, go to their official website.
SLAM INDIVIDUAL STATS (UNOFFICIAL)
PASSING: Gaal 10-21, 116 YDS, 2 TDS
RUSHING: Hay 25-105 1 TD, Altepeter 9-45, Watkins 6-37, Davis 2-24, Skinner 3-21 1 TD, Price 3-18 1 TD, Gaal 2-5, Hollingsworth 2-3.
RECEIVING: Price 2-72 1 TD, Neutzling 3-20, Clay 1-9, Skinner 1-8, Speckhals 1-7.
KICKING: Thompson 4-4 PAT