Home Editor's Picks Defense Shines During St. Louis SLAM’s Weekend Win

Defense Shines During St. Louis SLAM’s Weekend Win

Saturday's 41-0 Shutdown At Derby City Maintains Spotless Record

by Brian Ledford

(SHIVELY, KY) For the third straight week, the St. Louis SLAM tackle football team posted over 40 points on the scoreboard.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

However, what made Saturday night’s victory more eye-opening was that the opposition’s tally was displayed as a “goose egg.”

The SLAM topped the Derby City Dynamite, 41-0, at Holy Cross High School in Shively, located right outside of Louisville, to up their record to 3-0 in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) at their mid-regular season checkpoint.

“I love the heart that we always play with,” said SLAM defensive lineman Tay Johnson afterwards. “Whenever we win and preferably not lose, we’re gonna play hard as always. That’s what we’re teaching the rookies. The vets always play hard and we’re going to lead like we always do.”

The overall performance of the St. Louis “D,” paced by Johnson, Alisha Straws, Raven Williams, Mary Altepeter, Jamie Skinner, Kinnaudy Daniels, Ciara Morgan, Stephanie Moore, Myah LeFlore, Cat Daza and a plethora of rookies, forced five Dynamite turnovers – including a “pick-6” – en route to notching the first shutout of the season by the WFA Pro American conference leader.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

“I think tonight was a great showing of what we can do,” assessed Straws, who helps anchor the defensive backfield. “We brought a lot of veterans back in the same positions as last year, but we’ve already had some injuries, which is part of the game. This was a chance to do ‘the A, B, Cs’ of defense and get our groove back and I think it helped build that confidence back.”

After the Dynamite, a WFA Division 2 rep, punted on the game’s opening possession, St. Louis quickly posted a five-play, 53-yard scoring strike, punctuated by Jaime Gaal’s 30-yard pass to Kerri McMahan at the 9:16 mark. McMahan added the PAT kick that pushed the score to 7-0.

Derby City was forced to punt on their second possession and a poor kick resulted in the SLAM taking over at the Dynamite 28-yard line.

Four plays later, running back Jada Humphrey scored her fourth touchdown of the season with a three-yard romp that made the score 13-0 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

Derby City (1-1) started the second quarter with a nice, sustainable drive and were determined to post points, but the SLAM’s Skinner intercepted Dynamite quarterback Nikki Mills’ pass within the 10-yard line with 10:28 left in the half.

St. Louis started their own drive on their next possession, but the attempt was thwarted with 6:30 left as Derby City defensive back Kayla Thompson intercepted Gaal’s attempted red zone pass.

During the two-minute warning, the Dynamite made another push on offense, but McMahan snared Mills’ intended pass at mid-field and quickly claimed a “pick-6” for St. Louis with :23 left in the half. The second-year starter added the PAT afterwards to push the lead to 20-0.

Derby City could not claim a score when the halftime horn sounded, and the differential remained the same at intermission.

With opening second-half possession on the horizon for the SLAM, one could project the outcome. The Dynamite’s wick would soon be clipped.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

Propelled by stellar line work from Antonnia Washington, Pamela Green, Marion Ball, Caitlin Erickson, and Tamikka Brents, St. Louis produced a four-play, 45-yard drive finished by Gaal’s 29-yard rocket to McMahan with 12:37 left in the third quarter that made the score 27-0 following the successful PAT kick.

Six minutes later, McMahan added her second touchdown catch of the quarter, and seventh of the season, with a four-yard trip to the end zone. Following McMahan’s PAT kick, the SLAM’s lead widened to 34-0 with 6:38 left in the third.

In the fourth quarter, the Dynamite desperately attempted to crack into the scoring column but fumbled the ball at their own 35-yard line, which rolled into the hands of the SLAM’s Altepeter, resulting in another turnover with 8:54 remaining.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

On the next play, Gaal connected with Sydney Bloch for the SLAM rookie’s fourth touchdown catch of the season, a 35-yarder, that made the score 41-0 following McMahan’s successful kick.

Altepeter claimed another fumble recovery on the Dynamite’s next possession and Moore recorded the secondary’s third interception of the game deep to keep the shutout intact.

“We set the tone,” said Johnson of the SLAM’s defensive showcase. “We stopped them, we kept them there, we kept the points off the board and got our points when the O-line came in.”

St. Louis outscored Derby City 21-0 in the second half to claim the 41-0 win and maintain their spotless record in the WFA.

Unofficially, Gaal finished the night with 15 completions for 195 yards and four touchdowns, boosting the quarterback’s total to a dozen at regular-season mid-point.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

The SLAM returns home for their next contest, this Saturday’s 7 pm showdown at St. Louis University High School against the Boston Renegades, the five-time WFA Pro national champions and winners of 42 straight games.

“We know what to expect,” projected Straws. “The last time we played them at home, we were up at half time. It’s going to be a hard-fought game.”

The Renegades (2-0) beat the SLAM at the WFA Pro premier trophy tussle last July.

“It’s something we’ve been preparing for…for a long time,” added Johnson, who clearly remembers the pair’s prior meeting. “Every giant has to fall and we’re prepared to be the ones to do that (to them).”

For more information on the SLAM, go to their official website.

SLAM INDIVIDUAL OFFENSIVE STATS (UNOFFICIAL)

PASSING: Gaal  15-23, 195 Yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs.

RUSHING: Humphrey 12-65, 1 TD.

RECEIVING: Bloch 7-89, 1 TD. McMahan 7-71, 3 TDs. Skinner 1-6.

KICKING: McMahan 5-6 PATs

+ 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

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.