The defensive battle between the Renegades and Guardians ended in an Arlington fourth quarter touchdown and one-point conversion to win 10-9.
It was a tale of the first 45 minutes of the game and the last 15 minutes being two very different games. Both teams struggled to get points on the board as they were tied 3-3 going into the fourth quarter. The difference between the two teams was the Guardians were showing they can move the ball down the field on offense while the Renegades struggled to establish much on offense. Orlando outgained Arlington on offense 240 yards to 98 yards through three quarters.
The fourth quarter was different as Orlando struck first with a Paxton Lynch touchdown run to put the Guardians on top 9-3. Arlington would conduct a perfect response driving 74 yards down the field on 12 plays that was capped off with a 17 yards touchdown pass from Kyle Sloter to Tyler Vaughns to tie it up. The difference in the game would be the one-point conversion that saw De’Veon Smith run it in from one yard to give the Renegades a 10-9 lead.
The defense was the name of the game for both teams, but the Renegades’ defense was exceptional as they forced two first-half fumbles and held Orlando to 23 yards on their last two drives of the game to preserve the win. Thanks to the strong performance of the defense, the Renegades improved their record to 2-1 on the season and find themselves with sole possession of the second place in the south division.
Key Observations From Renegades-Guardians Game
Kyle Sloter Efficient In First Start
Of course, the offense did not play well in the game as they totaled 178 yards in the game which is the second straight game the offense failed to reach 200 yards. There are still plenty of positives to take away from the game though as quarterback Kyle Sloter impressed in his first start as the Renegades’ quarterback. Sloter finished 18 of 23 for 124 yards and one touchdown with a completion percentage of 78 percent. It wasn’t perfect, but Sloter was pleased with the performance and winning the game.
“Yeah, you know, I think anytime you get to go out there and play the game that you love with your brothers, it’s a pretty special thing. On top of that, we get a win. So, I think that we’re just going to keep building off of what we put out there. It’s not good enough, but we’re going to keep going. We’re going to enjoy the win for now.”Arlington Renegades Quarterback Kyle Sloter
These are not mind-blowing numbers in any aspect, but he ran the offense how he was told to do and played well. The key stat to take away from this game is zero turnovers for the offense in the game which is a big change from their first two games. Sloter protected the football and never put the team in a position of failure. His accuracy was on display especially on their touchdown drive in the fourth quarter where all five of his passes were completions.
Overall, it was about as good of a performance as fans could have expected from Sloter under the circumstances. The offense needs to open up the playbook more and allow Sloter to throw it down the field. That will help build his confidence and showcase the same quarterback we saw in the USFL last year where he was named first-team All-USFL. The potential of what this offense can do with Sloter should have fans more encouraged with the team moving forward.
Renegades Defense Comes Through Once Again
It’s just another game where the offense wasn’t able to keep pace, but the defense was able to reel in the win for the Renegades. While the defense allowed 271 yards, they created two turnovers, sacked Paxton Lynch four times, and made a key stop to preserve the win for Arlington. Renegades head coach Bob Stoops was happy with the way the defense performed.
“Defense has been incredible, no doubt about it. Coming up with turnovers, but stops. Defense has been really good.”Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops
The defensive unit had plenty of standout performances from their players. One player who made arguably one of the biggest plays of the game was linebacker Edmond Robinson stripping Guardians running back Jah-Maine Martin of the football that was recovered by Donald Payne. That play gave the Renegades great field position leading to a field goal to tie the game 3-3.
Two other players that stood out were safety Will Hill and linebacker Darnell Sankey. Hill led the team in tackles with ten while adding a half-sack and a tackle for loss. Sankey was right behind Hill with eight tackles, a half-sack, and two tackles for loss. Despite being on the team for less than a month since coming from the CFL, Sankey has already made his impression on the league and the Renegades’ roster.
“He’s a powerful strong linebacker, Darnell Sankey. And made some nice plays, has picked things up, you know, more and more each week he’s been here. He’s fit in really well. He’s been a big plus to the defense, definitely.”Arlington Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops
Arlington left a lot to be desired when it comes down to the offense. Work needs to be done to ensure that they can continue to have a balanced attack between the run and pass. The play calling from co-offensive coordinator Jon Hayes has been called into question as the passes being called have been short completions with not many going vertically down the field. After Sloter showed his ability to sling the ball in the fourth quarter, it could lead to more passes.
Defensively, not much has to be changed. The major concern heading into week three is the injury status of Josh Hawkins who left the game late in the fourth quarter after defending a pass. Hawkins being out of the lineup could be a big loss to the secondary that already saw safety Jamal Carter put on the reserve list. The good news is the team has seen others step up and make plays so they are still performing at a high level.
Sunday’s week four matchup against the 2-1 St. Louis BattleHawks might be one of the toughest games of the season for Arlington. It’ll be the first home game of the season for St. Louis as they are expected to have nearly 30,000 fans in the dome. The crowd noise and the good team BattleHawks head coach Anthony Becht has put together will make it tough for the Renegades to win. They have to have a perfect week of practice and ride the momentum of winning two of their first three games of the season.
Renegades Offensive Stats
Renegades Defensive Stats
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