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 San Antonio Brahmas

Brahmas Best Battlehawks 25-15 in XFL Conference Championship

June 10, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
San Antonio Brahmas News Release

ST. LOUIS, MO - San Antonio (8-3) jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, and fought off a second half rally from the St. Louis Battlehawks (7-4) as the Brahmas won their first XFL Conference Championship, 25-15, Sunday night in front of 30,237 fans at The Dome at America's Center.

The Brahmas offense fired on all cylinders with a season-high 410 total yards. They also recorded the league's longest rush of the season on a 69-yard Anthony McFarland Jr. score on their first play of the second half, and the team's longest reception of the season on a Chase Gabers-to-Justin Smith 63-yard touchdown connection in the second quarter. Gabers finished with two passing touchdowns, his first multi-passing TD game since Week 2.

San Antonio's rushing attack combined for 213 yards, tied for the most for a team in a game this season.

Garbers led San Antonio down the field on their first possession of the game, a 10-play, 62-yard drive to the five-yard line of the Battlehawks, before being turned down by a Kameron Kelly interception.

St. Louis tried to get tricky on their ensuing drive with a flea flicker, but they were unable to execute, turning the ball over themselves on a fumble recovered by Teez Tabor at the Battlehawks 20-yard line. Tavante Beckett, the league's third leading tackler, forced his third fumble of the season on the play.

The Brahmas made St. Louis pay with a 15-yard touchdown strike from Garbers to Marquez Stevenson for the game's first points. It was the first passing touchdown for Garbers since Week 3 also against the Battlehawks. Morgan Ellison picked up the one-point conversion to lead 7-0, diving across defenders and the goal line with an outstretched arm.

San Antonio extended their lead on the first play of the second quarter with a Garbers-to-Smith touchdown connection for 63 yards, 13-0.

St. Louis tallied their first points of the game with a 46-yard Andre Szmyt field goal at 11:41 pulling within, 13-3. The Battlehawks were looking for more before halftime, but Caeveon Patton sacked McCarron to force a punt. A field goal was all San Antonio's defense allowed in the first half, taking a 13-3 lead into the break.

After a defensive stop, Anthony McFarland Jr. extended San Antonio's lead on their first play of the second half with a 69-yard touchdown run untouched up the middle. It was the longest play of the season for San Antonio and the league's longest rush. The two-point attempt was unsuccessful, but the Brahmas led 19-3.

The Battlehawks then responded with 12 unanswered points in the span of 13 seconds. After a McCarron touchdown pass to Jake Sutherland, the defense of St. Louis found the endzone with a Pita Taumoepenu 10-yard fumble return for a score on the Brahmas first play of their ensuing drive.

San Antonio was able to add a field goal with a 31-yard Ryan Santoso boot, but their defense went right back to work with a Wyatt Ray sack to force a St. Louis punt early in the fourth quarter.

With 1:56 left in the game, Santoso knocked in a 45-yard field goal which put the game away.

Garbers completed 15-of-21 passes for 197 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Brahmas. McCarron completed 19-of-29 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown.

McFarland Jr. was San Antonio's leading rusher with 115 yards and one touchdown on 11 attempts. Jacob Saylors was the leading rusher for the Battlehawks with 14 rushes for 79 yards.

The leading receiver for San Antonio was Jontre Kirklin with five receptions for 61 yards. Hakeem Butler caught six balls for 59 yards for St. Louis

The Brahmas (8-3) advance to the UFL Championship to face the Birmingham Stallions (10-1) on June 16 at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 PM ET.

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