XFL: New York Guardians edge Los Angeles Wildcats 17-14
The Guardians celebrate during their victory over the Wildcats/Photo: XFL.com

The New York Guardians have won a crucial game, defeating the Los Angeles Wildcats 17-14 at MetLife Stadium. New York was led by quarterback Luis Perez, who completed 18 of 26 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown against his former team.

The game was close throughout with the score 6-6 at halftime. Each team scored a touchdown and ran a successful two-point play to make the score 14-14. The winning points came from Guardians kicker Matthew McCrane, whose third field goal of the game from 47 yards out, proved to be the difference.

Each team punted on their opening possession of the game before the Guardians put together the first scoring drive of the game, going 10 plays in 37 yards and capping it with a 51-yard field goal by McCrane to take a 3-0 lead. 

Los Angeles (1-3) responded with a 10 play drive of their own. Quarterback Josh Johnson, who was 25 of 40 for 330 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, connected with receiver Jordan Smallwood twice to get to the New York 15 yard line.

Six plays later, on second and goal from the four, Johnson found Tre McBride for the first touchdown of the game. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, the Wildcats lead at 6-3.

In cold, wintry conditions, the Guardians offense was looking to control the clock and they put together a 12-play drive that are up almost seven minutes of action, McCrane's second field goal of the game from 23 yards out, tied the game at 6-6.

After forcing another Los Angeles punt, New York put together their third scoring drive of ten or more plays, Perez hitting Mekale McKay from three yards and converting the two-point play on a run by backup quarterback Marquise Williams.

Perez played an efficient game in his first start for New York/Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com
Perez played an efficient game in his first start for New York/Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com

Trailing 14-6 at halftime, Johnson led the Wildcats down to the Guardians 30 on their first drive of the second half, but Nick Novak's 48 yard field goal was blocked by Jarrell Owens. They would tie the game on their next possession, a quickfire four-play drive ending when Johnson connected deep down the middle with Saeed Blacknall from 42 yards and with Smallwood on the two point conversion to tie the game at 14 with 4:37 left in the third quarter.

Jamar Summers picked Johnson off on a pass intended for McBride with 23 seconds left in the third, setting New York up for what would be the game-winning drive. Darius Victor, who led the Guardians ground attack with 82 yards on 18 carries, gained 31 of them on the drive.

Summers made the key defensive play of the game: Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com
Summers made the key defensive play of the game: Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com

That set New York up at the Wildcats 19, but a pair of sacks and an incompletion forced the Guardians to settle for McCrane's 47-yarder, his third field goal of the day. Los Angeles missed opportunities on their next two drives, Novak missing from 44 yards on a game-tying field goal and Johnson misfiring on fourth and three with 2:49 remaining.

After a Guardians punt, Los Angeles took at their own eight with 33 seconds left and failed to score, an illegal blindside block on the Wildcats on the last play of the game closing out a much-needed win for the Guardians and a frustrating loss for Los Angeles. 

VAVEL Logo