One of the biggest concerns for the Memphis Showboats heading into Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Battlehawks was how to better protect QB Case Cookus. Last week, Cookus endured a brutal 7 sacks in the game against the Birmingham Stallions before Coach John DeFilippo pulled him from the game in the 4th quarter. While adjustments were made this week and OT Marcus Tatum was signed to beef up the offensive line, as it turned out, the concerns were well justified.

Cookus was sacked twice and the lack of protection contributed to the team’s inability to stay apace with the Battlehawks surging offense. Worse still, Cookus was injured in the second half from a strip sack that put him out for the remainder of the game. Early reports indicate a shoulder injury which is especially concerning given the fact that Cookus previously suffered two season-ending collarbone injuries. Depending upon the severity of this injury, it could unfortunately spell a premature end to the Showboats’ playoff hopes this season.

Battlehawks QB A.J. McCarron looked sensational on the day passing 35/45 for 222 yards with 3 TDs and 1 interception. He added another 23 yards rushing. McCarron had plenty of support from a strong offensive line that provided more than ample protection. At times, McCarron appeared to have all day to find an open receiver. Jahcour Pearson (10 receptions for 70 yards with 1 TD) and Hakeem Butler (8 receptions for 60 yards) were his favorite targets.

WR Darrius Shepherd also enjoyed a record day with a 60-yard kickoff return that followed an early TD reception by the Showboats WR Vinny Papale. Shepherd finished with 173 total yards on the day. RB Jacob Saylors topped 103 yards on the ground on 15 carries. His best run of the day, a 57-yarder in the 4th quarter is thus far the UFL’s longest rush on the season. Saylors added another 19 yards on three receptions. Battlehawks’ kicker Andre Szmyt had a 54-yard field goal that put the Battlehawks on the board in the opening series. Later in the game, he contributed a 47-yard field goal. Earlier, Szmyt missed on a 45-yard attempt that ended the UFL league’s streak of perfect field goals on the season at 20.

In addition to a punishing attack from the Battlehawks defense that resulted in 4 sacks for a loss of 32 yards, CB Lavert Hill intercepted Cookus in the first quarter to set up a rushing TD by Wayne Gallman, his first on the season.

Despite the disappointing score, there were some bright spots for the Showboats to build on. RB Darius Victor, whose rumored ankle injury might have hampered his performance for the first three weeks of the season, looked much stronger today scoring his first TD with 74 total yards (58 rushing on 11 attempts and 3 receptions for 16 yards). RB Titus Swen contributed a beautiful kick-off return deep into Battlehawks territory.

WR Vinny Papale scored his third TD this season to lead the league in receiving TDs. Quenton Meeks recovered an interception and Showboats Safety Lamont McPhatter recovered a Jahcour Pearson fumble late in the game that initially appeared to be a first down.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what the injury report shows for Cookus, but there is no question that the Showboats still have a lot of work to do if they are going to improve their offensive line.

author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

1 Comment

  • Posted April 22, 2024 8:01 am 0Likes
    by Dan Bischoff

    Very well written sue levine!

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