XFL Los Angeles Wildcat and football fans served as the biggest allies to their new team in their first-ever home opener. However, the Wildcats became their own worst enemy, as they stalled out on offense, during a 25-18 loss at the Digital Health Sports Park in Carson on Sunday afternoon.
In front of almost 15,000 fans, the Wildcats’ defense came to play.They dominated the first three quarters of the game with two first-half interceptions by cornerback Harlan Miller and right outside hitter Will Smith. The offense didn’t show up until late in the fourth quarter. Renegades running back Cameron Artis-Payne wore down the defense with 14 carries for 99 yards and two rushing touchdowns as well as five catches for 32 yards that extended drives and ended any chance of a Wildcat comeback.
Payne’s 21-yard and 16-yard touchdown rushes in the fourth quarter capped off 19 unanswered points scored. The L.A. offense, if not for a Nelson Spruce touchdown with 11:58 remaining and a 44-yard bomb to with a little under five minutes left in the game, sputtered. Dallas rendered the LA run game useless. Spruce led all receivers with six catches for 89 yards and two aforementioned scores.
Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson went 18-34 for a meager 196 yards and two touchdowns. After, he willingly admitted he needed to play better and the offense needed to execute. Running back Martez Carter provided a major reason the Wildcats had a chance to score late with his 48-yard kick return after Dallas went up 19-8 in the fourth quarter.
Carter came out in pregame warmups with the most energy. Additionally, he delivered as many hits as he took, finishing the game with four returns for 135 yards. Fans gasped for air every time he touched the football hoping he would finally break one. The new kickoff return formation worked brilliantly, as well as the mid-game interviews on the field. The only downside occurred when Spruce said postgame that after he scored the 44-yard touchdown he was trying to get back to the line to run what was eventually the first converted three-point try in XFL history.
Coach Moss Speaks
Head Coach Winston Moss was proud of his defense for, “they emptied their buckets today.” You can listen to his responses as well as that of Spruce here on the Touchdowns and Tangents Overtime on Anchor.