Offense and Defense Key To LA's First Win
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Wildcats put forth a total team effort with six touchdowns and five takeaways to secure their first win of the season, 39-9 over the DC Defenders on Sunday.
“This was a collective (win),” head coach Winston Moss said. “Everybody involved, from the fan engagement side to the football side, this was a total team victory.”
After disappointing losses in the first two games, the Wildcats played with intensity on both sides of the ball that was felt from the very first snap to the last.
LA took control of the game early, scoring a touchdown in the first three minutes of the first quarter on a 40-yard pass from quarterback Josh Johnson to wide receiver Tre McBride.
The Defenders, who’ve dominated the league on defense the first couple of weeks, didn’t have an answer for Johnson, who threw for 278 yards and 3 TDs.
Johnson, playing in his second game, attributed the extra reps in practice to getting more comfortable for in-game play. He spread the ball around to seven different receivers throughout the day but McBride, who tallied 109 yards and 2 TDs, was Johnson’s go-to receiver.
“I’ve been waiting for that guy to show up,” Moss said. “It was key to get him back today.”
Moss was excited to finally have a wide receiver tandem threat in McBride and Nelson Spruce, after the team traded for McBride during training camp from the Defenders.
LA had four interceptions and one fumble recovery after safety Jack Tocho blocked a punt, which gave the Wildcats prime field position at DC's 2-yard line. Running back Larry Rose would punch it in from one yard out, which extended the Wildcats’ lead to 27-0.
The Defenders would get on the board before halftime off of a 32-yard FG from kicker Ty Rausa, making the score 27-3.
LA set the tone defensively on DC's first drive of the game by intercepting quarterback Cardale Jones.
The Wildcats defense has steadily improved since their week one blowout loss to the Houston Roughnecks.
The head coach applauded the team’s progression and credited the players’ hard work leading up to game day.
“We’re communicating much better. The guys are more cohesive now,” Moss said. "They’ve really bought in the last couple of weeks since we made the change.”
Moss hopes to continue the momentum by building off the team’s bond.
“It is one of the best feelings in the world to be able to count on the man next to you and he believes in you and he trusts you and it all just clicks,” he said. “When that happens, special things start happening.”
LA goes on the road next week, traveling to New York to face the Guardians at MetLife Stadium on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, ABC).