When assessing the regular season campaign of the St. Louis SLAM women’s tackle football franchise, Head Coach Quincy Davis prefers to personally identify the team’s stretch over the last eight weeks as “Season One.”
And what an impressive output it was!
Propelled by a combination of veteran leadership, fast-tracking results from newcomers, a high-octane offense and a stifling defensive corps that never surrendered a point, the four-time national champions grinded a perfect 6-0 record within the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA).
“Halfway through the season, we figured out that we’re pretty good,” reflected Davis. “Defense took pride by not letting the other teams score and the offense took pride when they had the ball.”
That opening entry is now concluded in the SLAM’s 2023 personal journal and new chapters are primed to be penned in what will be now defined as “Season Two,” the WFA playoffs…and a potential push for a fifth national title.
The SLAM – the top-seed in the WFA Pro American Conference – faces fourth-seeded Cali War (5-1) in a hosted conference semifinal set for Saturday, June 24 at St. Mary’s High School in St. Louis.
The winner of that contest faces the #2 Minnesota vs. #3 Houston victor in the conference championship game held July 8. The triumphant entrants from both the Pro American and the Pro National conferences meet in the WFA Pro finale July 22 in Canton, Ohio – home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The ensuing playoffs will be the SLAM’s inaugural entry into the WFA Pro bracket since they were elevated to that division last season after years of dominance in Division 2, where they won three national championships (2016, 2017 and 2019.)
Competing in their twentieth season, the SLAM craves to play at July’s trophy tilt and are currently preparing to make that goal happen with perpetual practices held in Ladue.
“Looking at the competition that we will face, we know it’s good competition,” assessed Davis. “We expect it.”
St. Louis – as projected by many – were expected to be a prime playoff contender this season with plenty of talent and depth on both sides of the ball.
The SLAM’s offense finished the regular season averaging over 36 points per contest, which placed them fifth overall amongst WFA Pro’s fourteen teams.
Quarterback Jaime Gaal threw for over 1,080 yards with 15 touchdowns. Newcomer Jada Humphrey recorded nine endzone appearances – four via catch, three via run and a pair of kickoff returns – while running back Taylor Hay romped for four scores.
For receiving, rookie Kerri McMahan had four touchdown snares while Kaylee Neutzling, Keyonna Smith, Kelsie Nesbit and Zariah Johnson supplemented with multiple six-point catches.
This output was all anchored by the SLAM’s offensive starting line of Caitlin Erickson, Ariana Smith, Tamikka Brents, Marion Ball, Pamela Green and others that contributed.
“Offensive weapons? We’re right up there with the most we’ve had there in a while,” said Davis.
Defensively, the SLAM never surrendered a point from scrimmage during the regular season due to the stellar efforts of starters Nuetzling and Smith alongside Tay Johnson, Mary Altepeter, Mariah West, Jasmine Yandell, Jamie Skinner, Alisha Straws, Stephanie Moore, Veronica Smith, Annamarie Magnani, Jennifer Perkins and a host of others.
“Unfortunately, earlier in the season, two of our captains we lost to injury,” said Davis, referring to SLAM returning starters Raven Williams and Myah LeFlore. “Talent-wise, this is one of the best we’ve ever had.”
The SLAM has three team practices left before their June 24 meeting with the Californians, and they plan to utilize that time wisely for the post-season push.
“We have a saying, ‘Iron sharpens iron,’” said Davis of the SLAM’s mentality. “And they’ve been making sure that they get better with every practice. I’m extremely proud of this team.”
Tickets for the SLAM’s June 24 opening-round playoff game at St. Mary’s are $15 while children 10 and under are free.
For more information on the SLAM, go to their official website.
Arch City Media will have a preview of the SLAM’s conference semifinal posted next week.
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.