24.250 football fans packed the lower bowl of the Alamodome to be part of city history and the
return of professional football as the Battlehawks vs. Brahmas took center stage. Bumping music and the intoxicating aroma of tailgate food from Lot B, where the home team already has a strong following, filled the air outside the dome, giving a hint of what awaited inside. Virtually every NFL team was represented and no individual was more represented than the Brahmas’ first-time head coach, Hines Ward.
Long lines at the merchandise booth were to be expected as this was the first time fans were able to physically purchase team gear, this should lessen as fans are able to get their hands on the coveted Brahmas gear.
Prior to kick off Dany Garcia, Gerry Cardinale, and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson addressed the crowd urging San Antonio to give the visiting Battlehawks a warm welcome. After a mix of polite applause and a small smattering of boos, the crowd was encouraged once again to give them a true welcome to the XFL. The deafening roar that ensued set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
After addressing the crowd Johnson turned his attention to the players, reminding them that he’s been where they were before. Being one of the last rosters cuts of an NFL team, he reminded them of the opportunity before them. He ended with a loud roar “let’s ball out!”
Former Alabama quarterback, A.J. McCarron, led the Battlehawks against former Wisconsin and Notre Dame QB Jack Coan in a back-and-forth first quarter dominated by defense. The Brahmas couldn’t connect in a passing game that was marred by drops. San Antonio was able to drive down the field converting a field goal STL-0 SA-3.
The Battlehawks’ defense supplied constant pressure hitting Coan on almost every down, eventually forcing a fumble that was recovered by St. Louis. The Battlehawks returned the fumble deep inside Brahmas territory but ended with a missed field goal. However, Coach Becht had called a timeout, giving them another chance. This time, the field goal was good. STL-3 SA-3 at halftime.
Opening the second half the Brahmas drove the length of the field to convert another field goal. This gave them a 3-point lead. The third quarter featured a lot of great defensive stands. But the offenses just couldn’t put drives together. Score STL-3 SA-6.
That score held in a defensive battle until the fourth quarter, when the floodgates opened. Jack Coan hit Freddy Brown for a 4-yard touchdown bringing the crowd to life. The 2-point attempt failed. Brahmas went up 9 points. San Antonio added a 48-yard field goal, with 3:02 remaining, to increase their lead and make it a two-possession game.
One thing is certain in the XFL, no lead is safe. San Antonio found this out as the Battlehawks scored on an 18-yard pass to Butler. They converted the 3-point attempt to Proehl, closing the gap to 3 points. Utilizing the XFL’s onside option, they chose to attempt the onside conversion. St. Louis set up on their own 25-yard line facing a 4th and 15, which they successfully converted.
With new life, the Battlehawks drove the ball and scored again, with McCarron hitting Proehl for another touchdown with just 16 seconds left. The former Crimson tide signal-caller failed to convert the 1-point conversion making the score STL-18 SA-15 with 8 seconds in regulation.
After the ensuing kickoff, the St. Louis defense took matters into their own hands sacking Coan. With no timeouts left, the Battlehawks ended the game on a 15-point unanswered run.
Final score Battlehawks 18-15 Brahmas.
● San Antonio receivers dropped at least six passes.
● Both defenses played well.
● Wrestling legend Goldberg was in the building.
● Dwayne Johnson spoke of his links with the River City, reminding the crowd that he
made his debut at the Royal Rumble in the Alamodome.
● In the XFL no lead is safe.
● San Antonio loves football.