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Saturday, April 1, 2023

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D.C. Defenders improve to 5-0 with win over St. Louis

Football is alive and well in the nation’s capital. The XFL’s DC Defenders were 4-0 and headed to the Dome at America’s Center on Saturday to play the St. Louis BattleHawks in a game to determine first place in the XFL’s North Division standings.

After a sluggish start in the first quarter, the Defenders picked things up in the second quarter to defeat the BattleHawks 28–20 and move to 5–0 on the season. DC is the only undefeated team in the XFL. The Houston Roughnecks were 4-0 until Thursday’s loss to the Seattle Sea Dragons.

St. Louis jumped on the scoreboard first when kicker Donny Hegman connected on a 36-yard field goal about six minutes into the second quarter.

This apparently woke up the DC offense.

DC running back Abram Smith took the handoff and ran 62 yards for a touchdown to give the Defenders the lead 6–3. lead. Quarterback Jordan Tamu found Josh Hammond on the 2-point conversion to take an 8–3 lead.

Just before halftime, Smith paid off again, scoring from five yards out to extend the scoring to 14–3, where it stood at halftime.

The third quarter started like the second when Hegman kicked another field goal to make it a one-score game. How did DC respond? With Smith, of course. Smith takes the D’Eric King handoff and goes untouched for a 70-yard touchdown.

The 2-point conversion was again no good, and the Defenders took a 20–6 lead.

The Battlehawks finally found the end zone when quarterback AJ McCarron found wide receiver George Campbell for a five-yard touchdown. The BattleHawks failed to convert on the 2-pointer.

With this one score game, how will the defenders respond?

King would score from 10 yards out, and Tamu would succeed on the 2-point conversion to give DC a 28–12 lead. McCarron led St. Louis on another touchdown drive, but it was not enough, giving the Defenders a season sweep of the Battlehawks.

Next up for the Defenders are the Roughnecks in what should be an excellent game.

Smith had arguably the best individual performance in the XFL this season, with 218 yards and three touchdowns.


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