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Stallions Win 'Championship Game Preview' Over St. Louis

Apr 2, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Louis Battlehawks quarterback A.J. McCarron (10) talks with quarterback Nick Tianon (14)
© Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Game Summary

After both teams went three and out on their opening possession, the Stallions started the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run by C.J. Marrable in the popular Power-T formation. A McCarron interception set up the score. The Stallions would go on to score on four of their next five possessions.

In a game that featured seven lead changes the Battlehawks kept responding every time the Stallions gained momentum in front of their home crowd. The next Battlehawks drive lasted thirteen plays covering 7:49 of the game clock resulting in an Andre Sysmt 38-yard field goal cutting the Stallions lead to 6-3.

The Stallions responded with a thirteen-play drive of their own leading to a Ramiz Ahmed 27-yard field goal to make it 9-3. The Battlehawks got their first lead in the game with a Jacob Saylors 1-yard scoring plunge, followed by a successful two-point conversion to give them an 11-9 lead.

Birmingham quickly retook the lead with an Adrian Martinez touchdown pass to former Clemson Tiger Deon Cain for five yards followed by a successful two-point conversion giving the Stallions the lead back at 17-11 right before the half. St. Louis had enough time to get into field goal position for Sysmt who was on the money from 61 yards to make the halftime score Birmingham 17-11.

Second Half Action

The third quarter failed to live up to the action of the first half as the teams were settling in for this heavy-weight fight of the UFL best. The only score was a Battlehawks touchdown on a pass from McCarron to Saylor for 8 yards. Giving the lead back to St. Louis 20-17.

The fourth quarter belonged to the clear front-runner for league MVP Adrian Martinez. The former Kansas State Wildcat has had one of the best seasons in his football career. Martinez never wavered and led the Stallions through the air passing 21-33 for 203 yards and 3 touchdowns, and on the ground with 60 yards rushing. Martinez had some huge pickups with his legs to keep drives alive and keep the Battlehawk defense guessing. The Martinez-led Stallion offense gave us the longest drive of the game covering 15 plays and 8:57 of the game clock leading to a touchdown pass from Martinez to former University of Central Florida receiver Marlon Williams.

After the Battlehawks responded with a 10-play drive of their own on Saylor's seven-yard touchdown run, giving the lead for the final time to St. Louis 26-23. The very next play Head Coach and Offensive play caller Skip Holtz dialed up an under slant with a clear out that led to a one-play forty-yard touchdown pitch and catch from Martinez to Kevin Austin giving the Stallions the lead for good at 30-26.

The Battlehawks had two more chances, but the Stallions' defense made plays when they needed and ended the game to secure the win and keep the Stallions undefeated at 7-0 and extending their winning streak to fourteen games in a row.

Turning Point

The turning point of this game was the one-play forty-yard pass and reception from Martinez to Austin. Holtz knew the slants were giving the Battlehawks problems and he had confidence in his quarterback to keep executing them.

Stallions MVP

The defensive MVP for the Stallions was Safety A.J. Thomas. Thomas accounted for the lone interception and a pass breakup along with six tackles five of them solo.

The offensive MVP for the Stallions is the guy who will more than likely be the league's MVP quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez tallied three passing touchdowns to go along with his sixty yards on the ground. Key scrambles and growing confidence show why Martinez is the heart and soul of this Stallions team

Battlehawks MVP

The Battlehawk's defense was led by Willey Harvey who had a stat sheet stuffing ten tackles two sacks two tackles for a loss a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Harvey was all over the field and showed his fire and ability to do just about anything you would want a linebacker to do.

Offensively the MVP for St. Louis was Jacob Saylors. Saylors recorded three total touchdowns, with two on the ground and one receiving. Birmingham miscues led to short-field opportunities for the Battlehawks.

Saylors is a true every-down back as he can be dangerous running and catching the ball out of the backfield.

What this means for the Stallions

The Stallions are the class of spring professional football. Back-to-back championships and now at 7-0 with fourteen straight wins the Stallions look like they are the next Alabama football dynasty. Birmingham has already clinched a playoff spot and the only team they have not beaten in the UFL is the San Antonio Brahmas.

Head coach Skip Holtz in his post-game press conference said "Just two teams fighting their tails off. But I am very, very proud our team was able to come away with a victory today even with some of the mistakes we made."

What this means for St. Louis

The Battlehawks are one of the top teams and even at 5-2 they currently have a half-game lead on the second-place team the San Antonio Brahmas. Battlehawks head coach Anthony Becht could be heard telling Stallion's head man Holtz, "We will see you at the end." IF that's the case the Battlehawks would have a huge advantage playing in front of their home crowd. With three games left and one against the Brahmas, the Battlehawks should be comfortably into the four-team playoff.



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