(NORTH ST. PAUL, MN) The St. Louis SLAM continued to show that they mean serious business in 2023 after collecting another road shutout win Saturday night.
Anchored by their defensive unit, the SLAM blanked the Minnesota Vixen 24-0 at North High School, improved to 4-0 and maintained their status atop the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) Pro American standings.
St. Louis also kept another team goal intact as the squad has yet to surrender a point after four games. In the process, the SLAM has collectively outscored the opposition 128-0.
The Vixen – last season’s WFA Pro national championship runner-up who fell to the SLAM in April – were certainly game in the re-match and vocal support gave the hosts an early boost during the game’s opening possession. Starting at their own 43-yard line, Minnesota launched an impressive drive in the first four minutes and snared a first and goal situation from one yard out.
With the SLAM’s season-long defensive goose-egg on the verge of cracking, the front line and linebacking corps stopped three successive Vixen rushes and forced an incomplete pass on fourth down, resulting in major missed opportunity for Minnesota.
After the defensive lockdown, the SLAM offense utilized the remainder of the first quarter and the opening stages of the second to calmly produce a 14-play, 99-yard scoring drive that concluded with quarterback Jaime Gaal’s 19-yard touchdown strike to Keyonna Smith with 14:10 left in the half. Taylor Hay’s successful PAT kick pushed the score to 7-0.
The SLAM’s lead widened to 10-0 with 5:35 left in the half following Kaylee Neutzling’s 27-yard field goal.
Minnesota was forced to punt with two minutes left and the SLAM took over at their own 43-yard line. Propelled by the offensive line of Caitlin Erickson, Ariana Smith, Marion Ball, Tamikka Brents and Pamela Green, St. Louis churned an eight-play, 57-yard scoring drive within the two-minute warning, punctuated by Jada Humphrey’s 21-yard touchdown catch from Gaal with ten seconds left. Hay added the PAT kick afterwards, pushing the SLAM’s advantage to 17-0.
A scoreless third quarter kept the differential identical heading into the final frame.
The Vixen (2-2) produced another impressive drive in the fourth quarter’s early stages and achieved another first and goal situation with eight minutes remaining. Again, the SLAM defensive unit – paced by Alisha Straws, Jamie Skinner, Tay Johnson, Katelynn Hartman-Geier, Mary Altepeter, Jasmine Yandell and a host of others – maintained the shutout with another endzone clampdown that was aided by a dropped Vixen pass on fourth down.
Taking over on downs at their own four-yard line with 7:52 left, St. Louis put the trap on the Vixen with a six-play, 94-yard drive that concluded with Gaal’s third touchdown pass on the night, a 50-yard snare by rookie receiver Kerri McMahan. Hay booted the successful kick afterwards that made the score 24-0 with 4:55 left.
With victory now secured, the visitors’ last missive on the night was to maintain the shutout. Minnesota attempted one last drive but the effort was thwarted and the SLAM claimed the 24-point triumph that kept the team’s record unblemished on the season and pushed the defense’s zero points surrendered streak to 16 quarters.
St. Louis’ duke also snapped the Vixen’s 30-game home win streak, a benchmark that had dated back to May 2017.
Unofficially, Gaal finished the night with 14 completions for 184 yards and three touchdowns. The quarterback now has 13 endzone strikes through four games, which places the veteran second overall in the WFA in that category.
The SLAM currently sits in a first-place tie in the WFA Pro American hierarchy with the Cali War (4-0), who posted a 50-14 win over Nevada Storm Saturday night.
After a bye during Memorial Day weekend, St. Louis returns home June 3 against Dallas Elite Mustangs (2-3) at St. Mary’s High School.
The final regular season game takes place the following weekend as the SLAM hosts Derby City Dynamite June 10. A two-game sweep at St. Mary’s will arguably secure St. Louis home field advantage for the opening round of the WFA post-season that begins June 24.
For more information on the SLAM, go to their official website.
(Story constructed by online coverage provided by Town Square Television – Minnesota)
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.