Battlehawks Five-Game Win Streak Ended by Birmingham

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by Jacob Mayer

The St. Louis Battlehawks dropped a back-and-forth affair, 30-26, to the Birmingham Stallions on Saturday with 14,056 fans in attendance at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Ala.


The Battlehawks (5-2) and Stallions (7-0) traded the lead four times in the second half, with Birmingham scoring the game-winning touchdown on a 40-yard pass from QB Adrian Martinez to WR Kevin Austin Jr. with 5:23 to play. The Stallions then scored a 1-point conversion to run their winning margin to 4 points. 


St. Louis had held a 26-23 lead after RB Jacob Saylors rushed 7 yards for his third touchdown (second rushing TD) of the game with 7:34 to play in the final quarter. The touchdown erased a 23-20 deficit after the Stallions had scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to WR Marlon Williams with 12:20 left in regulation.


St. Louis also moved ahead, 20-17, with 6:17 to play in the third quarter when McCarron connected with Saylors on an 8-yard touchdown pass. WR Jerome Kapp gave the Battlehawks field position to start the drive at the Birmingham 11 yard line when he recovered a muffed punt with 7:41 left in the quarter. 


The Battlehawks took their first lead of the game when Saylors rushed 1 yard for his team-leading third rushing touchdown of the season. He also rushed 5 yards on the ensuing 2-point conversion to put St. Louis up, 11-9, with 2:06 remaining in the first half. 


The lead was short lived, however. The Stallions scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to WR Deon Cain and a 5-yard pass to Williams for the 2-point conversion that put Birmingham back in front, 17-11, with 16 seconds left before halftime. St. Louis narrowed the lead to three points as time expired in the first half when K Andre Szmyt made a franchise-record, 61-yard field goal.


A 13-play, 60-yard drive that covered 7:49 of game time led to the Battlehawks’ first points of the game. Szmyt drilled his team-record 13th field goal of the season, a 38-yarder to cut Birmingham’s lead in half, 6-3, with 13:43 left in the second quarter. The Stallions responded with a 13-play drive of their own that went 47 yards in 8:35. K Ramiz Ahmed finished the drive with a 27-yard field goal to restore the Stallions’ 6-point advantage with 5:11 to play in the second quarter. Birmingham took an initial 6-0 lead on a 1-yard rushing touchdown by RB C.J. Marable with 6:32 left in the first quarter.


The Battlehawks will return to XFL Conference play in Week 8 when they take on the D.C. Defenders at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, May 19 at The Dome at America’s Center. The game will be broadcast on ABC and ESPN Xtra on Sirius XM Radio.


  • RB Jacob Saylors scored a career-high three touchdowns, including a pair of rushing touchdowns to become the first player in team history with multiple rushing TDs in a game. He leads the team with franchise-record three rushing touchdowns on the season. Saylors also scored his team-high third 2-point conversion of the year.
  • QB A.J. McCarron went 19-for-32 with 161 passing yards, his UFL-leading 14th touchdown pass and an interception. He also ran for 23 yards with 3:54 left in the first quarter, marking the longest run of his Battlehawks career.
  • WR Hakeem Butler led all pass catchers with seven receptions for 89 yards, including a game-high, 44-yard reception with 4:21 left in the second quarter.
  • LB Willie Harvey made his first two sacks of the season among his 10 tackles (5 solo) for the game. He leads the team with 51 tackles on the year. Harvey also forced his team-high second fumble of the season with 13:11 to play in the fourth quarter.
  • LB Pita Taumoepenu notched his team-leading fifth sack of the season on Birmingham’s first drive of the game with 11:41 left in the first qua rter to tie teammate LB Travis Feeney (5.0 in 2023) for the single-season franchise record.
  • FS Qwynnterrio Cole tallied a team-high 12 tackles (6 solo) to match LB Willie Harvey and LB Callahan O’Reilly (12 in Week 3 at SA) for the most in a single game this year and tie the team high for solo tackles in a game this season (fifth instance).
  • K Andre Szmyt made a franchise-record and personal-long, 61-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, surpassing Donny Hageman’s 59-yard field goal in 2023 Week 7 at Houston. Szmyt made field goals in the game to set the franchise record for made field goals in a season at 14, breaking a tie with Hageman (12 in 2023).
  • WR Darrius Shepherd accumulated 16 punt return yards to set the franchise record for punt return yards in a season, surpassing Austin Proehl’s 113 punt return yards in 2023. He finished with a game-high 159 all-purpose yards.
  • WR Jerome Kapp recovered his first fumble of the season on a muffed punt to give St. Louis possession at the Birmingham 11 yard line with 7:41 left in the third quarter.LB Chris Garrett blocked a punt with 46 seconds left in the game.

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