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 Arlington Renegades

Arlington Renegades Game Notes and Updates - Week 2

April 2, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
Arlington Renegades News Release


SERIES NOTES: Saturday marks the third meeting between the Renegades and Battlehawks, with St. Louis winning both of the previous matchups. The first matchup was on March 1, 2020 at Choctaw Stadium (15-9) and the second matchup was on March 12, 2023 at The Dome At America's Center (24-11). Arlington and St. Louis are also scheduled to meet again during the 2024 regular season on Saturday, May 25 in Arlington.

ST. LOUIS CONNECTIONS

The 2024 Arlington Renegades have a number of connections to the 2020 St. Louis Battlehawks from the XFL 2.0.

Members of the current coaching staff that worked for St. Louis in 2020, with their former role listed in parenthesis: Offensive Coordinator/QBs/WRs Chuck Long (Offensive Coordinator/QBs), Defensive Coordinator Jay Hayes (Defensive Coordinator), and Tight Ends/Running Backs Coach Reggie Davis (RBs). Current Renegades players that played for St. Louis in 2020: DL Will Clarke, P Marquette King, DL Davonte Lambert, and K Taylor Russolino.

LET ME CHECK MY SCHEDULE

The Arlington Renegades will play 10 regular season games during the 2024 UFL season. The team will play six games against division foes - D.C., San Antonio, and St. Louis (one home, one road) - and four games against non-division opponents - Birmingham, Houston, Memphis, and Michigan. Below are a few scheduling nuggets:

- Arlington will take part in home openers during Week 1 (at home) and Week 2 (at St. Louis)

- Seven of the team's 10 games will be played in Texas (5 home, 2 road)

- Each of the team's 10 games will played in the Central or Eastern time zone

HOME SWEET HOME

The Texas Rangers and Choctaw Casinos & Resorts announced a multi-year naming rights partnership for the former Globe Life Park in Arlington in Aug. 2021, re-naming the venue Choctaw Stadium. In addition to hosting the Renegades, Choctaw Stadium is home to the Dallas Jackals (Major League Rugby) and North Texas Soccer Club (MLS Next Pro), while also hosting multiple high school and college football games each year.

To be ready for the 2020 XFL season, Choctaw Stadium underwent a $10 million renovation completed by Manhattan Construction in 115 days. The renovation included the following:

- A new seating structure was added in what was formerly left field to accomodate 4,000 more fans and create a more intimate atmosphere

- 18 rows of seats and the dugout along what used to be the third base line were demolished

- A new network television broadcast booth, plus coaches' booths for the home and visiting teams were added at the 50-yard line

- Seating in corners of each end zone were reconfigured to accomodate marching bands

- Over 200 sports light fixtures were relocated/re-aimed to be accommodate football and soccer play and broadcast quality

- Two new locker rooms in what were previously batting cages were added to accommodate multiple events on the same day

- More than 90,000 square feet of grass and dirt were removed

- An unmarked, synthetic grass by Shaw Sports Turf was added

BACK IN ACTION

QB Luis Perez returned right where he left off, as he led the team in passing yards. Against the Stallions he went 19/28 (68%), with 214 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 136.7 QBR, and two carries, for six yards.

In 2023, Perez led the Renegades to an XFL Championship winning the MVP of that game as well, putting up a statline of 288 yards, 3 touchdowns, & 0 interceptions versus D.C. Perez was acquired by Arlington via a midseason trade with the Vegas Vipers last year.

NEW ADDITIONS

The Renegades added 28 players to the organization this season, including All-XFL honorees WR Deontay Burnett and DB Ajene Harris, who was the XFL's interception leader in 2023. The WR/DB duo both spent last season with the Houston Roughnecks and were college teammates at the University of Southern California previously.

Deontay Burnett recorded a team high to kick off the 2024 season.

Against Birmingham last Saturday, Burnett recorded a total of 36 yards in five catches. His longest for the day was 19 yards.

Last season with the XFL Roughnecks, Burnett hauled in 27 recep- tions for 378 yards and 6 touchdowns (T-2nd in the league) for the Houston Roughnecks over nine regular season appearances last season. Burnett tacked on four receptions for 57 yards in Houston's divisional playoff loss versus Arlington at TDECU Stadium. He's ap- peared in nine NFL games, most recently with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.

Ajene Harris looks to be the defensive stop for the Renegades. Last season he tallied 31 total tackles and 5 interceptions (1st in the league) for the Houston Roughnecks over nine regular season ap- pearances last year. Harris tacked on 7 tackles in Houston's divisional playoff loss versus Arlington.

DOWNTOWN LEDDIE BROWN

RB Leddie Brown took to the ground last Saturday repeating his leading performance from 2023.

During Saturday's opener, Brown recorded a total of 30 yards on eight car- ries, averaging 11 yards per catch.

In the 2023 XFL Championship, the former West Virginia running back rushed for 32 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and also caught two passes for 43 yards and two more scores.

His outstanding performance assisted in giving the Renegades their first XFL Championship.

GAME ONE RECAP

The first game to kick off the UFL's inaugural season featured a Champion vs.

Champion matchup between the Arlington Renegades and Birmingham Stallions.

The two teams faced off at Choctaw Stadium on Satur- day afternoon, and saw the defending USFL champions take down the defending XFL champions by a score of 27-14. With over 14,000 fans in attendance, which led all opening weekend crowds, the two teams gave supporters a first look at the inter-conference rivalry that the newly-merged league brings to the table.

FOR THE WIN(STEAD)

Arlington WR Isaiah Winstead's 51-yard touchdown reception on Saturday vs.

Birmingham, thrown by QB Luis Perez, was the longest play of the UFL's opening weekend. Winstead finished the game with 2 receptions for 60 yards (receiving yards rank 4th in the league). Not bad for his professional football debut, as #14 went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft and spent time on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad last season.

THE KICK IS GOOD

Arlington K Taylor Russolino was a perfect 2-for-2 in his field goal attempts on Saturday vs. Birmingham, converting attempts from 38 and 45 yards out. He is tied for the XFL lead in field goal percentage (100%), as D.C.'s Matthew McCrane and Houston's J.J. Molson are also perfect in the early season. Russolino has now converted 23 out of 26 (88.5%) of his FG attempts with the Renegades, including the postseason.

HE CAN KICK A BALL IN THE AIR REALLY HIGH

Arlington P Marquette King, who makes music in addition to being a professional athlete, backed up his lyrics with his play on opening weekend.

King booted two punts for a league-best average of 55.5 yards on Saturday vs. Birmingham. In the 2023 10-game regular season with Arlington, #7 averaged over 45 yards per punt, with a long of 70.

DE'VEON DOMINANCE

RB De'Veon Smith is back with the Renegades after a 2023 season where he pounded in seven rushing touchdowns for the XFL Cham- pions, tied for the best in the league. Across 9 regular season games played, Smith carried the rock 115 times for 365 rushing yards, to go along with 18 receptions for 148 yards through the air. He followed this up with another 39 carries for 148 yards across two playoff games.

In game one of the season Smith continued his dominance rushing and receiving for the Renegaes. On the ground, Smith rushed for 17 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per carry. in the air, Smith recorded a total of 23 catching yards, averaging 11.4 yards per catch, with his longest rocket caught at 14 yards.

LEADING THE WAY

Picking up where he left off last season, Arlington TE Sal Cannella caught four passes for 49 yards in Saturday's loss to Birmingham, including a long of 17 yards. Cannella led all XFL tight ends in the 2023 regular season in both receptions (63) and receiving yards (415).

Additionally, he was the Renegades leading pass-catcher in their championship campaign.

PUTTING THE D IN DEFENSE

Arlington's defensive unit came up with some big plays in Saturday's home opener vs. the Stallions, forcing two turnovers on the day. CBs Darren Evans and Duron Lowe each came up with an interception at the hands of QB Matt Corral. In addition, Renegades' LB Marquel Lee had a game-high 9 total tackles in the contest, and DE Vic Beasley came up with a sack at the end of the first half. Arlington's defense is tied for a league-best two takeaways heading into Week 2.

HE PUT THE BAND BACK TOGETHER

Head Coach Bob Stoops has brought back 22 players on his roster that were part of the 2023 XFL championship, highlighted by XFL Championship Game MVP QB Luis Perez.

Other notable players returning include OL Cameron Hunt, RBs Leddie Brown & De'Veon Smith, WRs JaVonta Payton, Caleb Vander Esch, Tyler Vaughns, & LuJuan Winningham, TE Sal Cannella, DLs DaVonte Lambert & Tomasi Laulile, LBs Will Clarke, Donald Payne, Bunmi Rotimi, Colin Schooler, & Willie Taylor III, DBs Jamal Carter, Darren Evans, & Brandon Rusnak, K Taylor Russolino, P Marquette King, and LS Antonio Ortiz.

Three players who were All-XFL honorees in 2023 are on the current roster: WR Deontay Burnett (Houston) on offense; DE DaVonte Lambert (Arlington) and DB Ajene Harris (Houston) on defense.

Head Coach Bob Stoops is also back for a third season along with eight members of his previous coaching staff.

TEXAS TIES

The Arlington Renegades have three players that hail from the Lone Star State: Bobby Evans (Allen, TX), Chris Owens (Arlington, TX), and LuJuan Winningham (Humble, TX).

PAYING TRIBUTE

On February 19, 2023, the football world lost a prominent figure with the unexpected passing of Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens.

Buddy started his football career playing QB for Dartmouth College.

His first coaching job was at DePaul University in 1979, followed by stops at Boston University, Maine, Tulane, Illinois, Florida, and Stanford. Teevens spent 1987-1991 as head coach at Dartmouth College, where he would later end up again from 2005-2022.

He would win go on to win five Ivy League Championships for the Big Green.UFL players will be wearing a commemorative patch on their helmets and jerseys opening weekend in honor of Buddy Teevens.


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