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Cam Phillips is ready to play his game

Cam Phillips comes down with one of his three touchdowns Sunday.

HOUSTON -- Cam Phillips needed a second to remember the last time he scored three touchdowns in a game.

The wide receiver did it Sunday night in the Houston Roughnecks’ 28-24 victory over the St. Louis BattleHawks.

“I think that’s only my second time doing it,” Phillips said, recalling a three-score game as a senior at Virginia Tech in 2017. “I was in school against ECU."

“This was definitely more fun. I think the timeliness of these touchdowns made it better. We needed every one of them today. I’m just glad I could help the team win.”

“This was definitely more fun. I think the timeliness of these touchdowns made it better. We needed every one of them today. I’m just glad I could help the team win.”

Roughnecks WR Cam Phillips

The Roughnecks (2-0) remained unbeaten and atop the West thanks to Phillips, another solid performance from quarterback P.J. Walker and an opportunistic defense.

Walker, the reigning XFL Star of the Week, completed 20 of 31 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He’s quickly developed a chemistry with Phillips, who did a masterful job of not giving up on routes and finding open spots when Walker was out of the pocket.

“They’re both very hard workers, they both study the film and embody what we’re doing,” Roughnecks coach June Jones said. “There’s so many little intricacies of what we’re doing, and we didn’t do very well tonight, but those two guys made some plays and that’s what you have to do. Players make plays.”

Phillips finished with eight catches (on 10 targets) for 63 yards. The three scores gave him four on the young season, tops in the XFL. His 130 yards are fourth in the league. 

More importantly, was when the TDs happened. His first touchdown gave Houston a lead it would never relinquish. The other two made it a two-score game, the last coming in the fourth to help push the lead to 28-18.

Cam Phillips' 3rd touchdown Sunday

“That’s just coach and P.J. finding me, and me making plays whenever my number is called,” Phillips said. “I’m just trying to focus on whatever the team needs from me and I’ve been blessed to be put in that position.”

Down 6-3 early, Houston appeared to break the game open with three consecutive touchdowns before halftime. Phillips had the first on a 7-yard strike late in the first quarter. He hauled in leaping 9-yarder in the corner of the end zone just inside the two-minute warning, as Houston took a 21-6 lead into the break.

After beating the Los Angeles Wildcats 37-17 last week, the Roughnecks appeared to be sailing to another comfortable win.

St. Louis needed to touch the ball just twice in the third quarter to make it interesting. BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, who accounted for 316 yards of offense, engineered a pair of touchdown drives that pulled St. Louis within 21-18.

The BattleHawks (1-1) were on the move again early in the fourth, this time with the lead in sight. But for the second time in the game, an interception by the Roughnecks was nearly taken to the house.

Check out all of Cam Phillips' touchdowns

Houston cornerback Jeremiah Johnson picked off Ta’amu’s throw down the sideline intended for wide receiver Alonzo Russell and raced 64 yards to the St. Louis 6. Three plays later, Walker and Phillips hooked up on a 2-yard score that gave the Roughnecks breathing room.

Turnovers were once again huge for Houston, which had three in the opener.

The first change in possession allowed the Roughnecks to pad their lead in the second quarter.

Cornerback Cody Brown nearly went the distance after his pick, going 50 yards to set up running back James Butler’s 1-yard plunge making it 15-6.

“Those two interceptions obviously were the difference in the game,” Jones said.

The BattleHawks, after winning at Dallas last week, leave the Lone Star State finally to open up before their rabid fans Sunday against the New York Guardians.

If there’s a class of the XFL after two weeks, the undefeated Roughnecks can certainly make their claim.

“We ain’t going to talk about that, man,” Phillips said. “We’re just going to keep trying to play ball. They picked the favorites and we saw that. We’re just out there trying to play our game.”