(With Matthew Nagashima)
In the league’s second preseason scrimmage today, Dallas found themselves a victory in OT against St. Louis. In an offense-heavy 25-22 (21-18 if you don’t count the test overtime) slugfest, the teams proved worthy opponents and gave us a good preview of what we’ll see on the field come February 8th.
Dallas Renegades Recap
With Landry Jones sidelined for another few weeks, questions were rising about if and how someone could step up to the plate. Phillip Nelsen answered. The East Carolina product has been the next man up and put together a great performance today. He led his team to three touchdown drives and tossed two scores in, one to Simmie Cobbs Jr. and the other to Jazz Ferguson.
Both were fantastic plays, as Jazz (6’5″, 4.4 40) blazed past the STL corner and Nelsen dropped in the back corner of the end zone. With the other, Simmie Cobbs Jr made a jumping one-handed snag in the same back corner (Cobbs had another score late in OT). The receivers showed awesome playmaking ability and sticky hands, while Phillip Nelsen displayed the poise, accuracy and arm strength to drive those scores home.
I’ve been high on Donald Parham since the XFL Draft Pools dropped back in October, and it looks like he’s showing out so far. With a 6’8″ frame and an incredible 7″ wingspan, he’s a huge target over the middle, and I honestly don’t know how teams are going to cover him in the red zone.
The defense had their moments too, as Tyrell Thompson (95) tipped Brogan Roback’s pass at the goal line and Calvin Johnathan (59) caught the ball.
St. Louis BattleHawks Recap
It took the BattleHawks several drives to get going, but they positively owned the second half. Jordan Ta’amu got the BattleHawks on the board right before the half with a beautiful pass to tight end Cole Hunt. Hunt made a phenomenal move to shake free from coverage and brought in Ta’Amu’s strike in the back corner of the endzone.
Taylor Heinicke looked sharp while leading the offense as well, leading another St. Louis touchdown drive as he rolled out to his right and threw an off-balance strike to Damoun Patterson. Patterson is a Youngstown State product, who spent time with the Patriots during the preseason. Heinicke and Ta’amu, both are making a claim to the starting job, it’ll be interesting and informative to see how the QB situation continues to shake out as practices continue.
The BattleHawks defense appeared to struggle early on but really turned it around in the second half. St. Louis did a great job putting pressure on the Renegades in the second half by forcing turnovers, there may have been two interceptions, reports are unclear. What is clear, is that one of the picks went for six.
There were conflicting reports as to who claimed the pick 6, but it was LB Matthew Thomas, wearing RB Sherman Badie’s practice jersey per our own Konnor Fulk.
With positives on both sides of the ball for the BattleHawks, we can expect them to only continue to grow as the team gains comfort with each other. One thing that was apparent from social media was how much this team has bonded as at each big play the whole team was involved in a hyped-up celebration.
Any hopes for clarification on the BattleHawks quarterback situation were dashed as both Heinicke and Ta’amu looked sharp. Fitzgerald and Roback were also rumored to be in the mix of things as well. Can’t tell how long any QB played, nor can we determine how things went outside of those touchdown plays.