Home Editor's Picks St. Louis SLAM Corrals Mustangs, Pushes Record To 5-0

St. Louis SLAM Corrals Mustangs, Pushes Record To 5-0

by Brian Ledford

(ST. LOUIS, MO) Since the last time the St. Louis SLAM women’s tackle football franchise played on their home turf at St. Mary’s High School back in April, a recent severe thunderstorm knocked that facility’s scoreboard inoperable.

No scoreboard? No problem!

After all, it’s easy for one to track a game when a team perpetually reaches the endzone while the defense simultaneously blanks the opponent.

Such was the result of the SLAM’s 42-0 victory over the Dallas Elite Mustangs in Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) play Saturday night that pushed the squad’s record to 5-0.

St. Louis, who currently tops the WFA Pro American conference standings, implemented the same strategies that have kept their season perfect.

Offensively, four different SLAM players recorded touchdowns on the night, highlighted by a pair of first-half scores each by 2023 newcomers Jada Humphrey and Kerri McMahan.

On the other side of the ball, the St. Louis defense maintained their season long goose-egg, which now stands at twenty quarters.

“On the field, off the field, we do all the extra things we need to do to come together and get it done,” said SLAM cornerback Keyonna Smith after the win. “The goose-egg is nice but it’s secondary to the mission. We have our sights set on what we’re doing this entire season. It’s about getting the entire team to the Promise Land.”

In this reference, the “Promise Land” is the WFA Pro national championship game held in Canton, Ohio July 22. With the impressive run thus far, the SLAM craves to be the Pro American representative for that contest.

Saturday’s showing proved that the Gateway City’s gridiron collective is potentially primed to make that slot.

“On offense, we hold the drives that give the defense a breather and then the defense comes out and executes in order to give us excellent field position,” said Humphrey. “It’s everything.”

So in a contest that contained verbal timing cues by officiating and overall score updates by the public address announcer, the locals churned a successful, no-nonsense output against their Pro American rival.

Lit digits weren’t necessary.

After stopping the Mustangs (2-4) on the game’s opening possession, the SLAM quickly scored with a six-play, 39-yard drive that was concluded with quarterback Jaime Gaal’s seven-yard touchdown strike to McMahan at the 11:15 mark. Taylor Hay added the successful PAT kick to make the score 7-0.

The SLAM quickly regained possession as Smith snared Mustang quarterback Ashley Robinson’s pass with four minutes left in the quarter, setting up the hosts with a fresh set of downs mid-field.

The turnover resulted in St. Louis’ second score of the frame, capped by Humphrey’s 13-yard dash at the 1:30 mark. Hay’s kick afterwards extended the SLAM’s lead to 14-0.

In the second quarter, the SLAM pushed the tally to 21-0 with a ten-play, 44-yard drive, topped by Humphrey’s three-yard plunge and Hay’s post-score kick with 7:40 left.

The running back immediately credits the machine-like work by the offensive line – anchored by Caitlin Erickson, Marion Ball, Ariana Smith, Tamikka Brents and Pamela Green – for the team’s strong start.

“We don’t do anything without them,” Humphrey said. “They don’t get enough credit but we try to give them credit. The offensive line is the offense. You don’t see anything that we do on this field without them. They are our unit.”

Deep in the half, St. Louis’ defense claimed their second interception of the half as safety Kaylee Neutzling picked off a Robinson pass, resulting in the SLAM’s possession at their own 13-yard line with 1:10 left.

The SLAM proceeded to execute a four-play, 87-yard shape-shifter, punctuated by Gaal’s 51-yard touchdown pass to McMahan with under ten seconds remaining. Hay’s kick followed, which resulted in St. Louis’ 28-0 lead at intermission.

That late drive continued an ongoing trend this season of the team scoring within the first-half’s two-minute warning.

“At the end of the day, whenever we get the ball, we’re expecting to score, whether it’s the first two minutes or the last eight,” said Humphrey. “No matter what, when the offense is on the field, we expect points on the board.”

Capitalizing on second-half opening possession, the SLAM churned a seven-play, 51-yard scoring drive that was concluded with Gaal’s three-yard quarterback keeper at the 10:05 mark of the third quarter. Hay’s kick afterwards widened the margin to 35-0.

Another quick SLAM defensive stoppage resulted in prime field possession later in the quarter. At the 7:25 mark, Hay romped 13 yards for her third touchdown run of the season and added the kick afterwards that pushed the score to 42-0.

In the final quarter, the SLAM’s ongoing season-long shutout streak was put into jeopardy twice. With under nine-minutes left, the Mustangs were in prime position with a first-and-goal situation from five-yards out. Four immediate stops by the SLAM defense, topped by a quarterback sack, kept the goose-egg intact.

Then on their final possession with four minutes remaining, the Mustangs attempted a red-zone desperation pass on fourth down but Neutzling’s second interception of the night grounded that plan.

As a result, the SLAM remains the lone WFA team nationally, out of 51 entrants, that has yet to surrender a point this season.

Smith recognizes the work of the primary unit that is supplemented by Jasmine Yandell, Brooklyn Devitt, Tay Johnson, Mariah West, Mary Altepeter, Alisha Straws, Jamie Skinner, Veronica Smith, Kelsie Nesbit, Katelynn Hartman-Geier as well as numerous others when facing pressure.

“You have to turn up the energy but be under control,” the cornerback said. “We have a good group that has a chip on their shoulder. We play with a chip on our shoulder and we play for one another. So when it gets closer and closer to home, we’re not having it on behalf of one another. We’ll continue to play like that until it proves us wrong and it’s been proving us right for years.”

Outscoring the Mustangs in the second half, 14-0, the SLAM captured their fifth win of the season with the 42-0 duke.

Gaal completed 16 passes for 220 yards unofficially on the night but officially threw two touchdowns and had no interceptions. Gaal has 15 touchdown throws for the season and has yet to be picked.

Humphrey paced rushing with 87 yards off 12 carries, followed by Hay’s 39.

McMahan topped receiving with four catches for 104 yards, followed by Nesbit’s 58 yards via four snares.

The SLAM concludes their regular season next Saturday at St. Mary’s against the Derby City Dynamite. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Victory certainly secures post-season home field advantage -albeit without scoreboard – throughout the conference playoffs…and that potential trip to the Promise Land within sight.

For more information on the SLAM, visit their official website.

+ posts

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.

Related Articles