Week 11: The Battlehawk Brief

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by Brian Stull

St. Louis Battlehawks

Twenty years. A full generation. That’s how long it’s been since The Dome at America’s Center hosted a professional football playoff game. For some it is a welcome return, for others it will be their first chance to experience playoff football. Either way, it should be an electric atmosphere as the St. Louis Battlehawks and San Antonio Brahmas square off to decide who will advance to the UFL Championship on June 16th.


Seats are still available at TheUFL.com and don’t forget the first 15,000 fans to enter the gates will receive a Battlehawks rally sign compliments of Explore St. Louis.


The Battle March will take place at 3pm in Baer Plaza and doors will open at 4:30pm.


–For those who are unable to join us for the XFL Conference Championship, don’t forget the 6pm kickoff on FOX and the radio broadcast on 97.1 FM Talk with Tom Ackerman and Mike Martz handling the play-by-play. 


Besides being the architect of the Greatest Show on Turf, Martz also was the head coach of the San Diego Fleet in 2019. During that season, Martz encouraged his tight ends coach to step away from broadcasting and focus on coaching full-time. That tight ends coach was Anthony Becht.


–Speaking of the Greatest Show on Turf, can’t wait to see Torry Holt back in the Dome. “Big Game” will once again be presenting the game ball in opening ceremonies.


How many remember that Holt was #88 his rookie season before later changing to #81? Would not be surprised to see our current #88 Hakeem Butler–and the rest of the Battlehawk receivers line up to get a quick pic with this future Hall of Famer.


–Congratulations to Hakeem Butler–UFL Offensive Player of the Year, Chris Garrett–UFL Special Teams Player of the Year, and all five Battlehawks All-UFL Players: Butler-Wide Receiver, Jaryd Jones-Smith-Left Tackle, Willie Harvey-Linebacker, Mike Panasiuk-Center, and Jacob Saylors-Running Back.


Butler led the UFL in receiving yards (652) and was just one of two receivers to have multiple 100-yard receiving games. Garrett recorded 14 special teams tackles and blocked two punts. 


Saylors set a new team record and led all running backs in rushing yards (461) and scored the most TDs (8) of any non-QB. 


Harvey broke his own franchise record while leading the UFL in tackles (78). Panasiuk and Jones-Smith were among the highest PFF-graded players at their respective positions. 


All these men are deserving for their efforts on the field, but can vouch for their character and work ethic off of it. Speaks volumes when you see the genuine celebration of their teammates for their brothers receiving such honors. 


–Confident his special teams counterparts will pick him up, but unfortunately, Chris Garrett will be inactive this weekend as he continues to recover from a concussion. Abdul Beecham, Jerome Kapp, Teton Saltes, and Jeff Thomas will also be inactive for St. Louis. Kobe Smith will serve as the 44th player.


For San Antonio, Julien Davenport, A.J. Hendy, BoPete Keyes, Zach Morton, Kade Warner, and Pooka Williams will be inactive. Trevon Coley will be the 44th player.


–Signed earlier this week as a free agent, linebacker Elijah Lee will be wearing #33 when he takes the field for the Battlehawks. A childhood friend and teammate of Darrius Shepherd while the two grew up in Blue Springs, Lee had a pair of tackles and earned a ring with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.


The Battlehawks defense will also see the return of safeties Qwynnterrio Cole and Ben DeLuca. Cole, who is the team’s second-leading tackler, missed last week due to injury and DeLuca has diligently rehabbed since being placed on Injured Reserve after Week 4. 


–Two teams facing each other for the third time in the season and in back-to-back weeks–win or go home. Battlehawks Nation, you’ve shown up and showed out all season, let’s take it to the next level for this one!

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