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A.J. McCarron and Battlehawks fall short in comeback effort against the Defenders

AJ mcCarron

The St. Louis Battlehawks and AJ McCarron fell to the D.C. Defenders with a tough 28-20 loss on Saturday.

The atmosphere for the game was electric as the home crowd was packed in and ready to go. The game, however, featured a slow start for both offenses. 

McCarron and Defenders quarterback Jordan Ta’amu both threw touchdown passes that were nullified by offensive holding calls.

The Battlehawks were able to get on board with 9:53 left in the second quarter to take a 3-0 lead, but the lead didn’t last very long. With 9:15 in the second, the Defenders scored on a 62-yard rushing touchdown from Abram Smith on an inside zone run, which was the longest XFL touchdown run of the season. 

McCarron fumbled with 2:04 left in the first half, leading to a five-yard rushing touchdown from Abram smith and DC took a 14-3 lead into halftime.

St. Louis had a solid drive to begin the second half but was only able to come away with three points making it 14-6 with 13:08 left in the third.  The Defenders answered back with a 70-yard touchdown run from Abram Smith, but they missed a two-point attempt keeping the score 20-6. The touchdown run by Smith pushed his total to 164 yards and 3 touchdowns on the night. 

With 6:20 left in the 3rd quarter McCaron and the Battlehawks found pay dirt, converting on a 5-yard touchdown pass to George Campbell to make the score 12-20. Defenders quarterback D’Eriq King had a 10-yard rushing touchdown pushing the lead to 28-12 with a converted two-point attempt with 12:15 left in the ball game.

On the next drive, A.J. McCarron loaded up and threw a 50-yard touchdown bomb to wide receiver Steven Mitchell to make it 18-28 and then converted on the two-point attempt cutting the Defender’s lead to eight points.

Unfortunately for McCarron, the magic ran out after converting on a 4th and 10, as he threw an interception on 1st and 10 with 55 seconds left ending the comeback hopes for the Battlehawks.

McCarron finished the night 22/34 with 236 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a pick. His 236 yards put his season total to 1,000 yards this season.

The Battlehawks sit at 3-2 and will look to bounce back Saturday, March 25th, against the Vegas Vipers.


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Joe Will is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where he spent a year interning at Tide 100.9 learning the ins and outs of sports broadcast journalism.

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