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Orlando concludes the 2023 XFL season with 1-9 record
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (April 22, 2023) – The Orlando Guardians ended their 2023 XFL campaign on Saturday afternoon, falling to the St. Louis Battlehawks 53-28 at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
St. Louis (7-3 overall) remains in second place in the XFL North, while Orlando (1-9 overall) finishes the regular season in fourth place in the XFL South.
A back-and-forth first-half gave way to a dominant performance from St. Louis in the second half. The Guardians and Battlehawks saw the lead change hands five times in the first half before St. Louis entered the intermission with a 25-20 advantage.
St. Louis added 14 points in the third quarter. A.J. McCarron fired a 13-yard touchdown pass and a two-point conversion to wide receiver Steven Mitchell to put the Battlehawks on top 33-20 before finding Hakeem Butler for a 66-yard touchdown that extended St. Louis’ lead to 39-20.
The Battlehawks opened up the fourth quarter with a McCarron 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darrius Shepherd that increased St. Louis’ lead to 45-20. With 5:10 remaining in the contest, the Guardians finally got back on the scoreboard. Quinten Dormady connected with wide receiver Charleston Rambo for a six-yard touchdown and K.C. Cannon for a two-point conversion that cut Orlando’s deficit to 45-28. St. Louis went on to score one more touchdown and add a two-point conversion to eventually seal the 53-28 victory.
It was a shootout early in the game. The Guardians didn’t waste time getting on the board, scoring on their opening possession, the sixth game this season they’ve crossed the goal line on their first series. The 11-play, 79-yard drive saw three runs and eight passing attempts with quarterback Deondre Francois connecting with Andrew Jamiel for a 27-yard touchdown pass that put Orlando on top 6-0.
The Battlehawks responded less than three minutes later with a Donald Hageman 35-yard field goal, cutting St. Louis’ deficit to 6-3 at the end of the first quarter.
St. Louis took its first lead of the contest less than four minutes into the second quarter on a seven-play, 42-yard drive. Running back Kareem Walker capped it with a one-yard rushing touchdown that gave the Battlehawks a 9-3 advantage.
The Guardians answered less than five minutes later with one of the most spectacular plays of the season. Orlando punter Mac Brown tossed a pass to Jordan Thomas on a fake punt. Thomas caught Brown’s wobbly pass at the Orlando 43-yard line, broke one tackle, spun out of another attempt to take him down and ended up going for an 81-yard touchdown, putting Orlando back in front 12-9.
St. Louis and Orlando continued to trade blows midway through the second quarter, with McCarron finding Butler for a 7-yard touchdown pass and wide receiver Marcell Ateman for a two-point conversion that allowed the Battlehawks to regain a 17-12 advantage.
Orlando responded 17 seconds later. After Deddrick Thomas put the Guardians in great field position with a 47-yard kickoff return, quarterback Quinten Dormady connected with K.D. Cannon for a 45-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the possession. Jamiel hauled in a two-point conversion that gave Orlando a 20-17 lead.
The Battlehawks closed out the first half with a 66-yard drive on 10 plays, capped by a McCarron 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Sutherland and a two-point conversion pass to Butler put St. Louis on top 25-20 at halftime.
Quiten Dormady was 18-of-24 passing for 188 yards and two touchdowns, while Deondre Francois was 10-of-17 passing for 93 yards and one touchdown. The Battlehawks’ McCarron finished the contest with a season-high 420 passing yards and six touchdowns, completing 28 of 35 throws.
ORLANDO GUARDIANS POSTGAME NOTES
Quinten Dormady was 18-of-24 passing for 188 yards and two touchdowns; he also rushed for five yards on three carries
Tight end Jordan Thomas registered a season-high four receptions for 109 yards and one touchdown
Deondre Francois was 10-of-17 passing for 93 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions; also led the team in rushing with 27 yards on three carries
Andrew Jamiel hauled in five passes for 47 yards and one touchdown, while Charleston Rambo caught five passes for 57 yards and one touchdown
C.J. Holmes led the Guardians with eight total tackles, while Tegray Scales and Mike Lee finished with six apiece
Jamiel’s touchdown in the first quarter, Jordan Thomas’ touchdown in the second and Rambo’s touchdown in the fourth marked the third touchdowns of the season for each
Nick Coe recorded one sack
Dan Williams caught four passes for 32 yards, while Cody Latimer and Devin Darrington hauled in three passes for 35 yards and 29 yards, respectively
K.D. Cannon’s touchdown in the second quarter marks his second touchdown of the season
Najeem Hosein tallied four total tackles and forced one fumble
Wide receiver Deddrick Thomas registered nine returns for 180 yards
Punter Mac Brown has completed passes of 69 and 84 yards on fake punts in each of the last two straight games