Tampa Fla- There was 12,249 in attendance at the Raymond James Stadium Sunday evening as the Vipers struck the D.C Defenders with a shut- out victory 25-0 for their first win of the XFL season. The Tampa Bay Vipers were last in the XFL rankings after starting their season 0-3 and were desperate for a victory to spark a flame in the locker room.
“There’s a lot of different ways we can get better,” explained Vipers Head Coach Marc Trestman, “we know that – but I just want them to enjoy the win. There’s nothing like a winning locker room.”
Explosions from the home locker room spilled out into the halls of the Raymond James Stadium as the Vipers celebrated their first win of the season with a charismatic home crowd.
“Yeah, 100 percent. We knew it was a must-win game for us,” expressed Viper running back, Jacques Patrick who ran the ball in for Tampa Bay first touchdown in the opening quarter. Patrick left everything on the field as he played in honor of his father who passed in late February.
“It’s a weird situation, because my father brought me into this sport and he actually got to see me play my first professional game in New York when we played the Guardians, so he actually got to see me do that. Last week it was tough, because I had to bury my dad on Friday and then come play a game on Saturday. So, I just tried to give my all last week and I feel like I owed my team a little bit more this week, because of it. I don’t know if I was fully there mentally, just because of having to see that and my father meant a lot to me – he meant a lot to this sport for me. So, just coming out here and getting a touchdown for him – I know he’s smiling.” Our prayers is with Jacques and his family.
Patrick and running back De’veon Smith ran for a combined 230 yards becoming the first league pair to bring in over 100 yards each as the D.C Defenders struggled with 107 yards combined offensively. The Vipers defense were at their best holding the Defenders to 1.9 yards average with only 6 first downs.
With USF legend Quinton Flowers still on a personal leave, Taylor Cornelius started and finished the game for the Vipers with Aaron Murray suited up on the side lines as their back-up.
“I thought he played well tonight, I thought he played winning football tonight.” Raved Vipers head coach Trestman.
Cornelius was 24/31 and threw for 211 yards, Taylor was also quick on his feet running in for a quarter back sneak late in the third for a late touchdown to bring the score to 22-0.
The Defenders are faced with their second tough loss in a row after losing to the La wildcats 9-39.
Tampa Bay Vipers head on the road to face the LA wildcats March 8th @9pm
D.C Defender head home to face the Battlehawks March 8th @3pm