Home Editor's Picks Undefeated St. Louis SLAM Hosts WFA Conference Semifinal Saturday

Undefeated St. Louis SLAM Hosts WFA Conference Semifinal Saturday

Playoff-Primed, Pro American's Top Seed Faces #4 Cali War At St. Mary's HS

by Brian Ledford

As they enter the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) playoffs this weekend, the St. Louis SLAM is fully aware of future consequences.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

A victory continues the upward trajectory. Conversely, a loss results in a gut-wrenching conclusion.

The SLAM, the top seed in the WFA Pro American conference playoff round, hosts fourth-seeded Cali War in a semifinal match-up Saturday night at St. Mary’s High School (4701 S. Grand Blvd.)

Kickoff for the post-season showdown is set for 7 p.m. General admission tickets on-site are $15 while children under 10 are free.

The winner of Saturday’s SLAM/War match-up meets the victor of the #2 Minnesota Vixen vs. #3 Mille High Blaze game that also takes place that night.

The two semifinal winners meet at the higher seed’s home turf for the American conference title on July 13. The WFA Pro Championship game takes place in Canton, Ohio July 27.

St. Louis finished the regular season undefeated (6-0) following their 42-7 win over Minnesota at home two weekends ago. (RECAP) A 21-0 first-half sprint secured the SLAM’s quest for home-field advantage during the Pro American playoffs.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

“We’re trending in the right direction,” assessed SLAM Head Coach Quincy Davis as the team barrels into the post-season. “Everybody is learning and progressing and understanding what the coaches are asking them to do. That’s what you want to see. You start out with a game plan and as (the players) make adjustments, we make adjustments.

“For them, it’s not deer in the headlights, it’s ‘Coach, I got it, okay? We’ll fix it and move on.’ That’s what you want to see.”

At the regular season finale versus Minnesota, the offense performed at eye-opening levels as receivers Kerri McMahan and Sydney Bloch each had a pair of touchdown catches. The tandem was recently named WFA First Team All-Americans as McMahan has 13 touchdown receptions on the season while Bloch has seven.

After a four-touchdown performance against the Vixen, SLAM quarterback Jaime Gaal has a WFA league-leading 23 scoring strikes heading into the post-season,

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

St. Louis’ ground game was also solid. Propelled by the veteran “O-line” consisting of Tamikka Brents, Antonnia Washington, Pamela Green, Marion Ball, Caitlin Erickson and others, running back Jada Humphrey has six touchdown runs on the season.

Place kicker Kaylee Neutzling successfully converted 25 of 27 PAT kicks while McMahan has went 6-for-7.

The SLAM currently ranks second in WFA Pro for total offense (45.7 PPG).

That’s solid numbers overall for the American’s top seed heading into the conference’s two-game playoff round.

“We’ve been training hard every single game because this is what we do,” said Bloch after the victory against Minnesota. “We don’t get paid for this. We do this because we have a passion for it and are competitive. We are a team the wants to win every single game.”

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

Even with all that scoring, St. Louis’ strongest suit heading into the weekend is its stubborn defensive unit that currently ranks tied for first in WFA Pro (13.8 PPG).

The list is lengthy for credit, for all the starters have excelled through six games and some additional rising personnel have contributed to keep the opponents at bay.

Alongside Neutzling, Tay Johnson, Mary Altepeter, Myah LeFlore, Raven Williams, Alisha Straws, Jamie Skinner, Keyonna Smith, Danielle Price, Maddie Embree, Ciara Moore, Kinnaudy Daniels, Brooklyn Devitt and a host of others have put the lockdown on opponents during the undefeated regular season.

“As long as we maintain our emotions and play our positions, that’s the thing that’s going to keep us lined up,” said SLAM tackle Johnson, who defensively anchors the front line and was recently named first-team All-American. “We’re going to make sure we stay cool, take our deep breaths, and be ready. We’re ready.”

As the SLAM’s slate is wiped completely clean heading into Saturday’s semifinal, the same can be said for their first-round opponent from the West Coast that looks to play spoiler.

Cali War will be making their fifth overall WFA Pro playoff appearance after finishing the regular season 5-1 following their 38-0 road shutout over WFA Division 3 rep Arizona Outkast two weekends ago.

The team has looked impressive on offense this season, currently ranking fifth in WFA Pro (39.7 PPG).

War standout Brianna Barrett earned her designation as WFA Pro All-American by collecting 15 scores during the regular season (11 runs, 4 catches) while Priscilla Gardner added six endzone romps that supplemented.

On the defensive side, the War ranks sixth in WFA Pro (22.2 PPG) with a pair of shutouts in tow.

Photo Credit: Gerald Affeldt

The SLAM and War last faced each other at last season’s WFA Pro American opening playoff round in June 2023 and St. Louis cruised to a 49-14 victory.

The locals aim to capitalize on home field advantage that potentially paves their way to a trip to Canton in late-July and the potential of claiming their fifth WFA national championship overall.

“That’s what we wanted,” said Coach Davis of the SLAM’s edge. “We figured, ‘Let’s make the playoffs come through St. Louis.’”

A Saturday victory will keep that quest for a “fifth ’ship” alive.

If one cannot make the event in person, it can be seen online at Live Stream STL. (LINK)

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

Arch City Media will have a full recap of the WFA American Conference semifinal posted Sunday.

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.

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