New York Guardians take on St. Louis in Saturday joint practice

The New York Guardians partook in their first action against another XFL team, welcoming in the St. Louis BattleHawks to camp in Houston.

New York football was poorly represented in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff action. But competitive gridiron antics under a metropolitan banner emerged in Houston.

The New York Guardians took on those dressed in a different color for the first time at their training camp base at Houston Baptist University. New York’s XFL squad took on the St. Louis BattleHawks for a joint practice and scrimmage, working out some of the league’s new rules together.

As fans enjoyed unseasonably warm weather back home, the Lone Star State was struck by colder temperatures, including snow in the Dallas area. Tensions on the field at Husky Stadium were equally icy. The Guardians and BattleHawks, in between some progress on both sides, engaged in several scuffles throughout the afternoon.

Such antics might’ve been welcome in the XFL’s original, smashmouth iteration overseen by the World Wrestling Federation. Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride, however, wasn’t buying it.

β€œWhen emotions run amok and you start getting a little bit feisty, it leads to you losing your composure and that’s when fights start to happen,” Gilbride told the Guardians’ official website. “Nothing good comes out of that.”

“I want us to be the most physical team in the league, but within the parameters of the rules.”

But when cooler heads prevailed, both sides put up some big plays as they navigated through the league’s new rulebook.

The XFL’s official rules were released to the public on Tuesday afternoon. New York and St. Louis worked through some of the innovations together, including the new kickoff that allows no running starts and situates all players but the kicker and returned five yards apart.

Gilbride was overall pleased with how things worked out against St. Louis.

“We at least got to see some of our offense unfold in a more natural way with live-action,” he said. “Some of the things we anticipated offensively when facing the Battlehawks defense happened.”

Each of the XFL’s eight teams is situated in Houston in training camp proceedings. Saturday’s action is slated to be the first of several days of scrimmages, which serve as de facto preseason games. The inaugural regular season kicks off on February 8.

With both situated in the XFL’s Eastern Conference, the Guardians and BattleHawks will face off against each other twice in the coming months. New York travels to St. Louis on February 23 for a match at The Dome at America’s Center (former home of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams). The BattleHawks will visit MetLife Stadium on March 28.

The Guardians open their season on February 9 in East Rutherford against the Tampa Bay Vipers (2:00 p.m. ET, FOX).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490.

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