St. Louis Battlehawks Clinch Home Field With Win Over San Antonio Brahmas

St. Louis Battlehawks Clinch Home Field With Win Over Brahmas

Week 10 of the UFL continued today, as the St. Louis Battlehawks hosted the San Antonio Brahmas in their second meeting of the year. While the playoff spots were already locked up between the two teams, both were fighting for home field advantage in the XFL Conference Championship.

On the St. Louis Battlehawks side, they were reeling a bit – largely due to the injury to A.J. McCarron. They’ve lost two of their last three games, and are looking to find some positive momentum heading into the postseason.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio Brahmas clawed their way back into the first seed in the XFL, with a 7-2 record. With Chase Garbers returning at the right time, this Brahmas team feels poised to make something special happen this year.

Let’s take a look at what went down at The Dome, as it was bound to be an exciting affair.

First Quarter

St. Louis received the football first, and A.J. McCarron trotted out for the first time since week seven. The Battlehawks got into a fourth and short situation early, and decided to punt the football.

The Brahmas didn’t get off to a smooth start offensively. Donnie Abraham’s defense looked stout, and Travis Feeney came up with a sack on third down to force a punt.

St. Louis would make a couple of questionable play calls on their ensuing drive. They ran the ball on three straight plays – including on third and 10. This resulted in another punt for the Battlehawks. However, Chase Garbers would miss his target on an overthrow, and Kameron Kelly came up with the interception.

The Battlehawks just couldn’t get out of their own way. Steven Mitchell Jr. dropped a deep ball which was a perfect pass from A.J. McCarron. Then, Darrius Shepherd was open for the first down – but a great defensive play by Corey Mayfield Jr. caused the ball to drop to the turf incomplete.

San Antonio made a crucial mistake to close the first quarter. Morgan Ellison fumbled the football deep in their own territory, and Dravon Askew-Henry recovered for the Battlehawks.

Second Quarter

This was a surprisingly ugly game to start. St. Louis could not find a way to take advantage of the turnovers, even with the great field position. McCarron was picked off by Teez Tabor, and San Antonio took over.

The Battlehawks finally figured things out. San Antonio had to punt again, and this is where A.J. McCarron made some plays. He found Jahcour Pearson for a solid gain, which led to a touchdown pass to Steven Mitchell to open up the scoring.

San Antonio was having a very difficult time with the crowd noise. They couldn’t find much of anything offensively, punting once again. McCarron got the Battlehawks into scoring position, with another big play to Jahcour Pearson. Andre Szmyt hit a short field goal, and St. Louis went up 10-0.

The woes continued for the Brahmas. They had just 47 yards of offense in this first half – and Chase Garbers appeared to reinjure his wrist, exiting the game. Quintne Dormady came in, but didn’t look much better. Ryan Santoso, who has struggled as of late, attempted a 59 yard field goal. His kick was blocked, and St. Louis took over.

While the Battlehawks seemingly had a chance to score at the end of the half, a strange clock situation resulted in us heading into halftime with a 10-0 ball game.

Third Quarter

To open up the second half, the Brahmas finally put something together offensively. Dormady looked good, finding Jontre Kirklin for a couple of important third down conversions. Then, Morgan Ellison ran it in for the score, and San Antonio pulled within one score.

San Antonio’s defense stepped up once again. Wyatt Ray was a menace defensively, and made a couple of plays to force another Battlehawks punt.

However, St. Louis got back to first half form defensively. Quinten Dormady was sacked by Willie Harvey and Carson Wells, and the Battlehawks got the football back following another punt.

With fifteen minutes left to play, St. Louis had the football – and were in the middle of a crucial, potentially game-deciding drive.

Fourth Quarter

Will Reed and his defense in San Antonio need a lot of credit. They played a fantastic football game, and got another important stop. Garrett Nelson sacked McCarron, which gave San Antonio possession once again.

The Brahmas looked out of sorts offensively. The crowd noise, the communication systems going down, and this pass rush was a lot for them to try and handle. St. Louis generated another three and out from the Brahmas, and looked to close things out on their next drive.

It’s legitimately impressive how solid these defenses were playing on both sides. The Battlehawks and Brahmas traded punts for what felt like almost the entire game.

St. Louis finally got back on the board, with a field goal. Darrius Shepherd had a big punt return, sparking a dormant team. McCarron looked oddly out of sync today, but did enough to put Szmyt into FG range – and the Battlehawks went up 13-6 with a few minutes left to play.

After what was a horrible offensive showing, Dormady and the Brahmas found a way. He found Kirklin for back to back big plays – which resulted in a 37 yard touchdown as Quinten got slammed in the pocket. The two point conversion was successful to Jontre, and the Brahmas took a 14-13 lead with less than two minutes to go.

However, Anthony Becht made an unbelievable challenge call with his staff, saying there was an ineligible man downfield. They won the challenge, and the two point try was taken away.

Wild UFL Ending

San Antonio opted not to go for the 4th and 12 play, and kicked it off. This proved to be the right decision, with Bryce Thompson sacking McCarron on third down, giving San Antonio one last crack at it.

These final moments were absolutely incredible, and what the UFL is all about. Justin Smith made a circus catch, followed up by defensive pass interference a couple of plays later. San antonio was in field goal range, and let Ryan Santoso trot out for the potential game winner.

He made the first kick, but a timeout was called by Becht prior to the snap. Santoso then whiffed on the second attempt, with Hakeem Butler tipping the ball for St. Louis.

The Battlehawks went on to win this one at home, 13-12 over San Antonio – and now have locked up home field for next weekend.

Standout Playmakers

RB’s Jacob Saylors & Wayne Gallman: Both Gallman and Saylors combined for over 90 yards on 18 carries today, making a couple of big plays when the offense needed it. St. Louis did not have a pretty offensive performance today, but their backs were productive.

LB Willie Harvey Jr.: Harvey continues to prove why he’s one of the UFL’s best at the linebacker position. He led the team with 10 tackles, a sack, two TFL’s – and had a crucial pass breakup on the two point try for San Antonio to take the lead.

DB Kameron Kelly: Kelly has shown up as of late, and now is tied for the lead in the UFL with three interceptions. He had six tackles, an interception, and a PBU today.

DB Dravon Askew-Henry: The former standout with the New Jersey Generals has been a key piece for Abraham’s defense in STL. Dravon posted nine tackles, a PBU, and a fumble recovery against San Antonio today.

San Antonio Brahmas

QB Quinten Dormady: Dormady had a solid second half, and really found a rhythm – putting his team in a position to win not once, but twice. A penalty and a missed field goal killed his comeback. Dormady threw for 188 yards and a touchdown.

WR Jontre Kirklin: Kirklin was on one today, as St. Louis really struggled to guard him. Jontre caught seven passes for 127 yards and a score – and would’ve had the go ahead two point try without a penalty negating the play.

DB Scott Nelson: Nelson’s been an underrated playmaker for San Antonio this year, and showed up defensively for a team that was missing some pieces. Nelson led the Brahmas with nine tackles today, and he added two TFL’s and two PBU’s to his stat sheet.

Post-Game Comments

Battlehawks HC Anthony Becht spoke post-game about what it took to get this win today:

“Just want to congratulate our team and players for playing four quarters of football today. Wasn’t pretty at times, but we played elite level defense and our offense got into a flow in the second quarter. We made some key stops, made some key plays on offense – but left some plays out there. In those times you need to have a phase that picks things up, and on special teams (Darrius) that’s what they did. When you can still win and not have those big moment plays, that’s a good sign of a team playing four quarters. It’s great to have a home playoff game. Incredibly blessed to have a fan base that cares as much as the St. Louis fanbase does – and it’s vital that the fans show up in droves for our next game. Collective effort by everyone in the building to get it done today.”

Brahmas’ HC Wade Phillips gave his thoughts on the game, and the unfortunate ending for San Antonio:

“Obviously, a hard fought game. I thought we learned a lot in this game. Certainly the first half, the crowd noise and all that stuff affected us early. I thought we played well in the second half. It’s unfortunate we made a two point play and had a penalty on that. They should’ve gotten a penalty on the one we had incomplete, but it didn’t get called. We earned the right to be in the playoffs, and we’re looking forward to it next week.”

Final Thoughts

A major storyline to now keep an eye on is the status of Chase Garbers. Coach Phillips said that his availability for next week is “to be determined”. Dormady played well in his absence, but Chase is the starter for a reason – San Antonio needs him in the pocket.

Next weekend should be filled with drama and excitement in St. Louis. The Battlehawks have now gained home field for this postseason game – and can play for the same advantage in the Championship as well.

The Brahmas probably feel like they should have more points on the board. They outgained St. Louis offensively by almost 100 yards – and, held the Battlehawks to 2-12 on third down.

Regardless, Donnie Abraham’s defense stepped up in a huge way, making a statement that they needed to make after giving up 36 points to Arlington last week.

Week 10 in the UFL continues tomorrow, with the DC Defenders hosting the Arlington Renegades at 12pm ET.

What are your thoughts on this matchup today between St. Louis and San Antonio? Which Brahmas or Battlehawks players impressed you? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

 

Fubo