Wildcats Crush Defenders 39-9 for First Win

Jason B. Hirschhorn

CARSON, Calif. -- In a game that seemed to heavily favor the DC Defenders coming in, the Los Angeles Wildcats showed up to play, dominating in all three phases of the game and notching their franchise first victory over the previously undefeated Defenders, 39-9. The Wildcats defense led the way, managing a season-high five takeaways and kept the Defenders offense out of the endzone until garbage time late in the fourth quarter.

The Defenders, who came into the week with one of the league's top offenses, could not get anything going against a Wildcats defense that appeared to play at another level. Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones had a rough first half, leading his team to only three points while throwing two interceptions and stalling out on four drives that resulted in punts.

In a first half that went much better than expected, the Wildcats seem to have found another stud wide receiver in Tre McBride to go along with Week 2 star Nelson Spruce, who had a quiet first half after recording six catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. McBride lit up the Defenders defense, pulling in three catches for 73 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He finished with five receptions for 109 yards -- a stunning 21.8-yard average -- showing his big-play potential.

"[McBride] is playing great, he is stepping up and he is ready to go," Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson said of his teammate during halftime. "We decided to have him back and now he’s making plays for us."

The second half continued in much the same fashion for both teams. The Defenders couldn't get anything going after Jones tossed two more interceptions deep in Wildcats territory, killing drives that seemed destined for points before being pulled early in the fourth quarter for backup Tyree Jackson.

The Wildcats offense continued to roll in the second half led by running back Martez Carter. Carter, filling in for the injured Elijah Hood, picked up two more touchdowns, one on an 18-yard pass from Johnson in the third, and the other on an impressive 20-yard run in the fourth. He finished the game with 11 rushes for 34 yards and added another three receptions for 41 yards.

“The coaching staff came down and decided that we need to change this thing around, and that’s exactly what we did," Carter said. "We have been prepping all week. We have been staying up extra late, getting up extra early, and we really dissected this team. I appreciate the coaching staff, Josh, and everybody just for cracking down on us."

It appears to have paid off.

-- Report by Bill Bergquist

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