BattleHawks roll to 29-9 victory over Guardians in home debut

Joe Powell had the first kickoff return touchdown in XFL history as the BattleHawks defeated the Guardians on Sunday.
Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Fueled by a raucous crowd at The Dome at America’s Center, the St. Louis BattleHawks rolled to a 29-9 victory over the New York Guardians on Sunday afternoon.

The announced attendance for the new XFL squad’s home opener was 29,554 — the highest for any of the league’s games this season. It was the first pro football game in St. Louis since the Rams hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at The Dome on Dec. 17, 2015.

Joe Powell’s kickoff return touchdown — the first in XFL history — was the highlight of a game that BattleHawks controlled from start to finish. After Keith Mumphrey fielded the kickoff early in the second quarter, he pitched it to Powell on a lateral at the St. Louis 16-yard line, then the safety ran it 84 yards into the end zone.

The BattleHawks did the rest of their scoring on the ground and through the kicking game. Matt Jones had 15 attempts for 95 yards and a 1-yard TD, while Christine Michael ran 13 times for 44 yards and a 14-yard score. Taylor Russolino kicked three field goals, including a 58-yarder early in the third quarter.

Jordan Ta’Amu threw for 119 yards on 12-of-18 passing, while Alonzo Russell led St. Louis with 36 receiving yards on three receptions.

Austin Duke caught an 8-yard pass from Luis Perez midway through the fourth quarter for the Guardians’ only touchdown. Tim Cook III and Darius Victor each had 50 yards rushing for New York.