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 St. Louis Battlehawks

The Battlehawk Brief: Week 5

April 27, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)
St. Louis Battlehawks News Release

Good to see fans having fun with arguably the biggest rivalry in spring football as the Battlehawks and Defenders get ready for the latest Swords vs. Shields encounter this weekend.

It's a new season and both teams have over 20 different players on their rosters from last year, but the spirited history between these two teams is recognized.

With that familiarity and this being the fifth game of the season, there aren't too many secrets to uncover, it's just a matter of lining up and seeing who is able to better execute.

The Battlehawks will be without Darrius Shepherd (hamstring) and his league-leading 724 all-purpose yards and Tim Harris (ankle) against DC. Mataeo Durant (toe) and Callhan O'Reilly (toe) have been placed on Injured Reserve.

On the positive front, Pita Taumoepenu is returning on the edge and wide receiver Steven Mitchell Jr was re-signed earlier this week and is back wearing his familiar #22.

"He's got a lot of speed, AJ trusts him, he has really good hands, and does everything we ask," said Head Coach Anthony Becht. "Frankly, if he wasn't injured in training camp he would've made the roster. I'm glad he's healthy and glad he's back."

Mitchell had four touchdown catches for St. Louis last season-his longest being a 50-yard grab from AJ McCarron against DC in Week 5.

Last week, McCarron aired it out 45 times against Memphis-his most pass attempts in a Battlehawks uniform. Even more impressive, the offensive line did not allow a single sack.

"Don't get him killed forty-five times," laughed Steven Gonzalez on the o-line mindset during the game. "That's pretty much what it is. Try to keep him upright, try to keep him safe. There's so much that goes into offensive line get your certain look from the defense, you don't know if it's going to be a blitz, coverage, if they're going to run games on the interior with the defensive line. That's what film and prepping throughout the week are for."

The only team that has returned their entire offensive line this season, the front five have not only provided protection for the quarterback but have bulldozed the way for a rushing attack that has produced three consecutive games of 100+ yards on the ground with Jacob Saylors leading the league in rushing (172 yards).

"Don't get me wrong, we love seeing AJ throw 45 times and have a 70% passing completion rate, we love that, but what we love most is running the ball," said Gonzalez. "We love seeing the 100-yard games. We love seeing Jacob and Mataeo with 100-yard games and we want to get Wayne (Gallman II) a 100-yard game. Offensive line, the way you set a tempo in the game and the way you dictate to the defense how the game is going to go is by running the ball."


--Besides shutting out Memphis in the second half last week, the Battlehawks defense also set a new franchise mark by holding the Showboats to 127 total yards in the game.

--Jahcour Pearson's 10 catches last week are the most by a Battlehawks receiver in a single game.

--Pearson was one of 10 different receivers McCarron connected with for his 35 completions (franchise-best) last week.


--Congrats to Micah Abraham on being drafted by the Indianapolis Colts. Proud poppa Donnie had just finished defensive walk-throughs when he received a call from home and was able to get to a television in the hotel lobby in time to see his son's name flash across the screen with the 6th round pick (201st overall). Micah made 150 tackles and picked off 12 passes for the Thundering Herd in 62 games at Marshall.

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United Football League Stories from April 27, 2024

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