The Battlehawk Brief: Week 7

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by Brian Stull

St. Louis Battlehawks
(Photo by Scott Rovak/UFL/Getty Images)

You can’t draw it up much better than this as the St. Louis Battlehawks (5-1) and Birmingham Stallions (6-0) get set to kick things off today at 3pm CT (FOX).

Other than a scrimmage in training camp, this will be the first meeting between these two teams, who each sit atop their respective conference and lead the UFL in almost every statistical category.

“This is where players want to play, these are games you want to be coaching in and be a part of,” said Battlehawks Head Coach Anthony Becht. “It sets up for just a really good matchup. I’m excited to see the players play. See the guys that step up and execute in this moment because this is a moment game–this is a game where you need to be at your best. We don’t need greatness–we don’t need anybody to do anything extra. We just need consistency and that’s the message we’ve been preaching this week.”

It’s hard not to get caught up in the numbers, though. Birmingham trails only St. Louis in scoring and has rushed and passed for more yards than any team in the league.

On the flip side, St. Louis has allowed the fewest yards, owns the top ranked pass defense, and has held opponents scoreless in eight of the last 10 quarters, which included a scoreless streak of 77:02.

“The last three weeks have been good for us,” acknowledged St. Louis Defensive Coordinator Donnie Abraham. “Those numbers when you look at them, they’re pretty good–because they’re hard to do in this league. There’s a lot of good offenses in this league, a lot of good players. So for us to be able to do that these last few weeks, it’s encouraging for our players. They kind of get to see the fruit of their labor. They kind of get to see all the work they put in show some good results. We’ve just got to continue. It’s one of those things, do you get complacent or are you hungry to keep doing it. I think we’re hungry to keep doing it and we want even more and better…those three games are in the past now and the most important one is this one coming up.”

–A lot of Alabama fans are expected to be on-hand to watch AJ McCarron play his first game in their state since 2013. Wonder if the Crimson Tide fans own anything blue?

Tuscaloosa is listed as 57.7 miles from Birmingham, while McCarron’s hometown of Mobile is 258 miles. Brandon Silvers grew up in Gulf Shores, which is also over fours away from Birmingham.

–Fans watching the Fox broadcast should be treated to an in-your-face view of tackling as Kameron Kelly will be one of the players wearing a helmet-cam this game. Kelly started his football career as a quarterback before high school injuries led to him eventually switching to safety.

“I just love playing ball,” explained Kelly. “The more you can do–I just try to be a swiss army knife and just try to get on the field wherever you can help the team.”

His 28 tackles (17 solo) rank third on the Battlehawks and while Kelly’s looking to add to that total, he also has another goal in mind.

“I try to get out there and show my arm off a little bit–I could probably throw it 60-65 yards right now. I’ve tried to tell Coach Caskey on punt, let’s give them a little fake, toss it to me and let me throw it.”

–Don’t forget if you prefer to watch the away games with a crowd, be sure to stop by the Battlehawks Official Watch Parties at Ballpark Village and Hotshots. And of course, tickets are still available for our two remaining (May 19 and June 1st) home games at TheUFL.com/tickets.

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