Week No. 1
- St. Louis Battlehawks (0-0) at San Antonio Brahmas (0-0)
- Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
- Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.
- ABC (KDNL-TV)
St. Louis Battlehawks – Head Coach Anthony Becht
Players to Watch:
- No. 10 – A.J. McCarron (QB)
- No. 3 – Marcell Ateman (WR), No. 11 – Darrius Shepherd (WR)
- No. 23 – Brian Hill (RB)
McCarron (6-4, 215 lbs.) is the most battle-tested quarterback in the XFL, he led Alabama to consecutive BCS National Championships (2011-2012) and brings eight years of NFL experience to the St. Louis’ huddle. Ateman (6-4, 213 lbs.) is an outside threat that wins contested balls, while slot receiver Shepherd (5-11, 185 lbs.) finds holes in zone coverage and is dangerous after the catch. Hill (6-2, 214 lbs.) played 48 NFL games and totaled 664 yards and three touchdowns. He graduated from Belleville West High School.
“All 10 of them, baby.” – McCarron when asked to name the Battlehawks’ weapons on offense.
Players to Watch:
- No. 96 – LaCale London (DT)
- No. 6 – Lakiem Williams (LB), No. 51 – Willie Harvey (LB)
- No. 1 – Elijah Hamilton (CB)
London (6-5, 314 lbs.) is a Peoria, Illinois native formerly of the Chicago Bears and Western Illinois University. Williams (6-1, 226 lbs.) and Harvey (6-0, 230 lbs.) anchor a linebacking corps that Becht believes is the best in the XFL, both have Power 5 collegiate and NFL experience. Hamilton (6-1, 208 lbs.) played 41 games at Vanderbilt and was team captain in 2020.
“I just want to see violence at the point-of-attack and get there with bad intentions…you can always get past not quite being in the right spot as long as you get there fast, and you bring it.” – Becht’s expectations for his defense.
San Antonio Brahmas – Head coach Hines Ward
- No. 16 – Jack Coan, QB
- No. 11 – Kalen Ballage, RB
- No. 80 – Jalen Tolliver, WR
Coan (6-3, 223 lbs.) led the University of Notre Dame to an 11-2 record in 2021 and threw for 3,150 yards and 25 touchdowns. Ballage (6-2, 231 lbs.) is a power-back that played 52 NFL games with the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and L.A. Chargers; he rushed for 665 yards and seven touchdowns. Tolliver (6-3, 210 lbs.) starred at Division-II Arkansas-Monticello and appeared in three NFL games with the Arizona Cardinals.
“They have a quarterback that’s a college guy that’s coming into an opportunity after playing at Notre Dame and having a great career. How much can he handle? Just like I’ve talked about how they’re going to try to attack us…these are new moments for a lot of players…I think you always play on the high side of trying to do a little bit more to disrupt.” – Becht on San Antonio QB Jack Coan.
Players to Watch:
- No. 42 – Mike Tverdov, DL
- No. 40 – Riko Jeffers, LB
- No. 41 – Joel Dublanko, LB
“Defensively they’re going to be really big, they got big-body guys on the defensive line. They’ve got big inside-the-box linebackers that clearly are there to stop the run…I’m sure they’re going to try and bring some pressure and disrupt the offensive linemen.” – Becht on the Brahmas’ defense.
What is a Brahma?
- The American Brahman cattle breed, a hybrid species cross-bred from Zebu and American cattle.
What is a Battlehawk?
- KaKaw is the Law!
- New rules include an extra possession option in the fourth quarter only, teams may now attempt to retain possession by converting a 4th and 15 play from their own 25-yard line. Teams can utilize an onside kick at any point in the game but must notify the referee they plan to do so.
Official Watch Parties
- The Battlehawks may be on the road, but St. Louis fans can still gather to celebrate on gamedays at our official watch party locations:
- Westport Social, 910 W Port Plaza Dr, St. Louis, MO 63146
- Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Ave, St. Louis, MO 63102
- All 8 Syberg’s locations
Andy Carroll is a freelance sports writer living in the Ozarks with his wife and four great kids. He loves St. Louis, toasted ravioli and minor league baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @carroll_sgf and Instagram @andycarroll505