SA Brahmas top Battlehawks, 25-15, punch ticket to UFL Championship game

The UFL title game is set for June 16 in St. Louis, where San Antonio will face the 10-1 Birmingham Stallions.

ST. LOUIS — San Antonio rushed for a season-best 213 yards and racked up nine tackles for-loss and four sacks Sunday night at The Dome at America’s Center, as the Brahmas defeated the St. Louis Battlehawks 25-15 in the XFL Conference Championship Game, according to a game report from the team. The victory advances San Antonio (8-3) to the United Football League Championship Game.

Anthony McFarland Jr. rushed for 115 yards for the Brahmas and his running mate John Lovett added another 83. McFarland’s 69-yard touchdown run early in the second half put San Antonio on top 19-3.

St. Louis (7-4) scored 12 points in 13 seconds later in the third quarter to get back into the contest. Battlehawks tight end Jake Sutherland pulled in a 1-yard scoring pass from quarterback A.J. McCarron with 5:54 left in the third quarter to make it 19-9. The first play of San Antonio’s ensuing possession resulted in a fumble, which was returned by St. Louis’ Pita Taumoepenu for a touchdown, pulling St. Louis within four, 19-15.

But San Antonio responded. The Brahmas drove 62 yards on eight plays for a 31-yard Ryan Santoso field goal to push their edge to seven, 22-15. The Battlehawks had an opportunity to trim the lead with six minutes remaining, but Andre Szmyt missed a 50-yard field goal.

San Antonio took a 10-point lead with 1:56 remaining in the contest on Santoso’s second field goal of the game, this one from 45 yards. St. Louis drove to the San Antonio 12-yard line but ran out of time, sending the Brahmas to the UFL Championship Game.

San Antonio took advantage of a St. Louis fumble to score the first points of the game. A Darrius Shepherd fumble was recovered by Tavante Beckett for the Brahmas. Three plays later, San Antonio quarterback Chase Garbers found Marquez Stevenson for a 15-yard touchdown. The 1-point conversion put the Brahmas up 7-0.

Garbers, who passed for 197 yards and two touchdowns, hooked up with Justin Smith for a 63-yard scoring strike on the first play of the second quarter to put San Antonio on top 13-0. Szmyt finally put the Battlehawks on the scoreboard with a 46-yard field goal three minutes later, setting up McFarland’s long TD run that put San Antonio in control early.

The San Antonio defense was dominant for much of the night. Prince Emili tallied two sacks of McCarron, while Wyatt Ray notched a pair of tackles for-loss. Seven different Brahma defenders made stops in the St. Louis backfield. San Antonio’s defensive unit held St. Louis to 2-of-11 on third-down conversions.

McCarron was 19-of-29 for 179 yards and a touchdown for St. Louis. Jacob Saylors led the Battlehawks’ ground game with 79 yards on 14 carries. Elijah Lee racked up 12 total tackles, including 8 solo stops, for St. Louis.

The United Football League Championship Game is slated for Sunday, June 16 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis. The Birmingham Stallions (10-1) will face off with San Antonio. The Brahmas are the only team to defeat the Stallions in the regular season, taking an 18-9 win in San Antonio just three weeks ago in Week 9 of the UFL season.

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