BattleHawks excited to be heading home
HOUSTON -- St. Louis’ trip to Texas started well with a 15-9 win over the Dallas Renegades in Week 1, but the BattleHawks left the Lone Star State at 1-1 after they suffered a taxing, 28-24 defeat at the hands of the undefeated Houston Roughnecks at TDECU Stadium on Sunday.
The loss wasn’t pretty, with St. Louis quarterback Jordan Ta’Amu -- despite passing for 284 yards -- throwing two game-changing interceptions.
But from here, the BattleHawks shift their focus to their home at The Dome in St. Louis, where they make their debut Sunday against the New York Guardians (3 p.m. ET, FOX), also 1-1.
“We’re really going back with a whole new mindset,” BattleHawks offensive tackle Matt McCants said after the game. “We’re trying to get things back on track and try to give a good performance.”
For BattleHawks coach Jonathan Hayes, a new mindset after the grueling loss that saw St. Louis come heartbreakingly close to beating Houston is exactly what’s needed before his squad meets their home crowd for the first time.
“I think our team is growing that way,” Hayes said of the loss’ effect on the BattleHawks. “They’re maturing that way. Even at the end, no one quit. Everyone was fighting to find a way to win. That will make us better down the road. Now they’ve felt that sting.”
Hayes also felt St. Louis’ expectation for a penalty to be called during Houston cornerback Jeremiah Johnson’s pivotal interception in the fourth quarter must be rectified.
“That’s on me because that starts at the very top,” he said. “It starts with me. I guarantee you, those mistakes will not be made again. We’re too good of a football team.”
“We can’t allow those things to become part of us,” Hayes added, “and to be quite honest, they should never have been a part of us to begin with.”
Luckily for Hayes, his players are already on board for St. Louis’ upward trend and progression in the coming week after the loss.
“We just have to keep improving every day, man,” McCants said. “Every chance we get, we have to keep working. Learn from the mistakes and grow from them.”
Although the BattleHawks don’t hit the road again until their March 8 matchup against the Washington Defenders in Week 5, Hayes said the team must embrace the “road warriors” mentality.
“I can sit here and make an excuse. ... Why we did this or that or that,” he said. “Come on. You have to go play the game. It’s not the first time we’ve played in a loud place, and last week was loud, too.”
As for loud crowds, McCants anticipates a loud and rowdy St. Louis crowd when he and his teammates are introduced for the first time at home.
“I’m expecting The Dome to be rocking,” McCants said. “We just have to do our job and put a good product on the field.”
And he assured the fanbase craving professional football since the Rams left for Los Angeles five years ago will be satisfied come Sunday.
“St. Louis has been hungry for football,” he said. “It’s back now.”