Tampa FLA- It is week 3 of the rebooted XFL and the Tampa Bay Vipers are still searching for their first win of the season with an 0-3 start. The Vipers fell short 34-27 to the Houston Roughnecks who are now 3-0 after a costly interception in the final minutes of the game by Vipers starting quarterback Taylor Cornelius.
There were 18,117 fans at the Raymond James Stadium to witness the Tampa Bay Vipers take the field at home for the first time in franchise history after coming off a two road game upsets against the New York Guardians and the Seattle Dragons.
TB Viper’s Kicker, Andrew Franks, kicked a 48-yard field goal on the opening drive for the first time this season to set the tone for Tampa Bay Vipers who made crucial defensive stops, keeping the Roughnecks to a single touchdown in the first quarter.
Quarterback/ Running back, Quinton Flowers, made history when he ran in a 7-yard keeper in the red zone to give the Vipers their first offensive touchdown of the regular season. Taylor Cornelius followed suit with a QB sneak with seconds left in the first half and connected with wide receiver Dan Williams for a 5-yard reception that tied the game 18-18 going into half-time.
Tampa Bay kept the momentum rolling into the second half adding points on the board and recorded the Vipers first passing touchdown to Wide receiver Danial Williams for a 20-yard reception late in the third. Williams added 8 points to the score board with only two receptions out of 7 attempts.
Vipers Wide receiver, Jalen Tolliver, checked in for 104 yards receiving with 8/13 completed catches for the day. The Roughnecks defense made a crucial stop on 4th and 1 with 4 minutes left on the clock as the crowd cheered for the sub in for Quinton Flowers to possibly steal the led from Houston.
QB Taylor Cornelius threw for 193 yards and one costly interception from a miss communication with the Vipers receiver that may have led to a possible tie in the final minutes of the 4th quarter against the Roughnecks.
“I’ll just start off by saying we’ve got a sick locker room in there, a lot of guys worked their tails off today,” Stated Viper’s Head coach and General Manager Marc Trestman. “ I know we got better this week but it wasn’t good enough. We lost as a football team today.”
The Houston Roughnecks began their journey on the road in Tampa after a 2-0 start at home defeating the Los Angeles Wildcats 37-17 and the St. Louis BattleHawks 28-24. The Roughnecks were favored to win Saturdays match-up against the Vipers and after intercepting the ball in the final minutes to regain possession they now have a 3-0 record. Roughnecks quarter back P.J Walker and Wide receiver Cam Phillips continue to be a dynamic duo with Phillips recording 194 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns for Houston. Walker ended the game with 306 yards which is more than both Vipers quarterbacks combined passing yards.
“Very difficult to win a game on the road and we fought long and hard,” stated Houston Head coach June Jones. “Obviously there was a lot of offense on both sides of the ball and we made the play at the end, an interception that gave us a chance to finally win the game.”
Tampa Bay Vipers host the DC Defenders March 1st @7pm
Houston Roughnecks continue their road journey to face the Dallas Renegades March 1st @4pm