The Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League won their home opener Saturday night at Sam Boyd Stadium, using a solid defensive effort and two touchdowns from quarterback Chase Clement in a 30-10 victory against the Omaha Nighthawks.
Las Vegas kicker Clint Stitser connected on three first-half field goals to give the two-time defending UFL champs a 9-0 halftime advantage. Clement was efficient all night in completing 21 of 30 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for another score.
The Locos defense kept Omaha’s high-scoring attack in check all night. Omaha, which entered averaging 400 yards a game, didn’t score a touchdown until the game’s final four minutes.
And less than two minutes after Omaha scored to trim its deficit to 23-10, a 28-yard touchdown run form Marcel Shipp with 2:28 remaining sealed the win.
“Our plan going in is we needed our offense to play for our defense and our defense to play for our offense and help each other,” Locos coach Jim Fassel said. “Our strategy going in was we had to get our run game going, so we really focused on that. And I think in the first half, if I’m not mistaken, we had the ball for 20 or 21 minutes and they had it for about nine. And that’s what we needed to do, because they’re explosive on offense.”
The Locos (2-1) moved into sole possession of second place in the four-team league — one game behind the undefeated Virginia Destroyers — at the halfway point of the season. The top two teams play Nov. 4 in the UFL title game.
Las Vegas and Omaha play again next Saturday, this time in Omaha. A Las Vegas victory would put the Locos in the driver’s seat to return to the championship game.
“We came out with the mindset that if we lost to them and then going back to Omaha, it would have been a tough situation,” Las Vegas receiver Andrae Thurman said. “We want to continue to control our own destiny, and we did that today.”