Battlehawks Victory Moves St. Louis Into First Place Tie


by Jacob Mayer

The St. Louis Battlehawks moved into a tie atop the XFL Conference with a 31-24 win Sunday over the San Antonio Brahmas with 11,790 fans in attendance at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The St. Louis (2-1) defense preserved the seven-point winning margin when it stopped the Brahmas’ (2-1) final drive at the St. Louis 44 yard line after the 11-play march ended on a 4th-and-4 incompletion with 16 seconds left. St. Louis now sits in first place along with San Antonio and the D.C. Defenders (2-1).

The Brahmas made it a one-possession game with 2 minutes, 15 seconds to play when QB Chase Garbers connected with TE Alizé Mack on a 2-yard touchdown pass. However, St. Louis RB Jacob Saylors had pushed the Battlehawks’ lead to 31-18 on their previous drive with 8:39 left in the game when he scored on a 19-yard rush followed by a 5-yard catch for a two-point conversion.

San Antonio had closed to within two points, 20-18, when RB Anthony McFarland Jr. rushed for an 8-yard touchdown with 2:03 left in the third quarter. Battlehawks K Andre Szmyt then padded the St. Louis lead on the following possession with a 46-yard kick to extend the lead to 23-18 with 12:11 left in the game. 

The teams traded field goals to begin the second half. San Antonio K Ryan Santoso hit a 32-yard field goal with 11:38 to play in the third quarter to shave St. Louis’ lead to 17-12, but Szmyt made a season-long, 54-yard field goal to restore the team’s eight-point margin with 7:05 left in the third quarter.

The Battlehawks entered halftime with a 17-9 advantage after Szmyt drilled a 44-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. 

WR Darrius Shepherd gave the Battlehawks possession at the San Antonio 45 yard line with a game-high, 43-yard kick return. The Brahmas had cut the Battlehawks’ lead to 14-9 with 1:57 left before halftime when RB John Lovett reached the end zone on a 2-yard rush. 

QB A.J. McCarron punctuated St. Louis’ first offensive drive of the game with a 10-yard touchdown rush with 4:33 left in the first quarter. His scamper put St. Louis ahead, 6-3. WR Hakeem Butler then caught his first touchdown reception of the season on a 20-yard catch with 11:05 left in the second quarter. McCarron completed a shuffle pass to TE Jake Sutherland for a two-point conversion that ran St. Louis’ lead to 14-3. 

San Antonio also scored on its first drive of the game with a 35-yard field goal by Santoso that put the Brahmas briefly in front, 3-0, with 10:25 left in the first quarter.

The Battlehawks will play their second home game of the season in Week 4 when they take on the Memphis Showboats at 11:30 a.m. CT on Saturday, April 20 at The Dome at America’s Center. The contest will be broadcast on ABC and simulcast on ESPN Xtra on SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available at

Postgame Notes - Week 3

  • QB A.J. McCarron notched his first rushing touchdown of the season and second of his Battlehawks career with a 10-yard run in the first quarter. He was 19-for-27 with 152 passing yards and a touchdown pass to go with 21 rushing yards.
  • WR Hakeem Butler caught his first touchdown pass of the season on a 20-yard reception with 11:06 left in the second quarter. Butler led the XFL in 2023 with eight touchdown receptions. He finished with a game-high 87 receiving yards on six catches, including a game-high 33-yard reception on 3rd-and-17 on the final play of the third quarter.
  • WR Darrius Shepherd had a game-high, 43-yard kick return to begin the Battlehawks’ final drive of the first half and a season-high 32-yard punt return with 10:21 left in the fourth quarter. He entered the game as the UFL leader in all-purpose yards and has had a kick return of at least 31 yards in each of his three games this season.
  • RB Jacob Saylors led the Battlehawks with 62 rushing yards on seven attempts, including a game-high, 25-yard rush on the first play of the fourth quarter. He also scored his first touchdown with the Battlehawks on a 19-yard rush with 8:39 left in regulation followed by a two-point conversion that put St. Louis up, 31-18.
  • MLB Willie Harvey had a career-high 12 tackles and his team-leading third pass breakup of the season. He leads the team with 24 tackles for the season.
  • MLB Callahan O’Reilly tallied 12 tackles, including a game-high six solo tackles, for his second straight game with at least seven tackles.
  • Harvey and O’Reilly tied 2020 Battlehawks DB Will Hill for the second-most tackles in a single game in franchise history, behind only LB Terence Garvin’s 16 tackles on March 8, 2020, at the D.C. Defenders.
  • K Andre Szmyt made a season-long, 54-yard field goal with 7:05 left in the third quarter to give St. Louis a 20-12 lead. Szmyt finished 3-for-3 in field goal attempts for the game and is 6-for-7 on the season.


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