TDECU Stadium, Houston Texas. The first-ever game between the Houston Roughnecks and the San Antonio Brahmas had it all. The game labeled “The I-10 Rivalry” featured explosive offensive bursts as well as defensive stops from both teams. Houston looked to widen its gap in the South Division of the XFL, while San Antonio wanted to show it deserved to be mentioned with the league’s top teams.
The game began with an electric play as Travis Jonsen returned the ball 59 yards to open the game for San Antonio. Starting with excellent field position San Antonio ran the ball 4 straight plays before Jack Coan hit T.J. Vasher for a 9-yard strike on the opening possession. Coan hit Vasher for the 1-point conversion. The Brahmas have continued to attempt 1-point conversions for extra points.
After the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds the Roughnecks began on the Brahmas 45-yard line. Houston quarterback Brandon Silvers started out red hot completing 5 of 6 attempts, hitting Jontre Kirkland for 3 passes including a 7-yard touchdown. The Roughnecks converted on the 2-point attempt as Silvers hit Kirkland once more.
Houston forced a 3 and out taking over at their own 30, after a 55-yard punt by Brad Wing. Houston converted for 2 first downs before being forced to punt the ball back after a big sack by Mike Tverdov on 3rd and long. Starting at their own 10-yard line San Antonio continued to move the ball on the ground. They were forced to punt once more after being unable to convert on a 3rd and 2 to end the quarter.
San Antonio 7 Houston 8
Houston opened up the quarter on the ground with big runs by Max Borghi, who had his leg twisted underneath him on a tackle. Borghi would later return and end the game with 15 carries for 74 yards.
Silvers would hit four completions in a row ending with another touchdown pass to Kirkland from 3 yards out. The 2-point conversion was no good. On the ensuing possession, penalties hurt the Brahmas once more forcing them into a 3rd and 30 ending with another Wing punt. Mixing runs and passes the Roughnecks methodically moved into scoring position. Silvers and Hawaii product Cole McDonald shared snaps in a drive that culminated in an 18-yard touchdown to Deontay Burnett. Cole McDonald ran in the 2-point conversion to increase the lead to 15 points.
Once more the Brahmas were forced to punt after three plays after losing their “Golden challenge” for defensive pass interference on third down. After surrendering three consecutive first downs, San Antonio’s defense stiffened forcing a 52-yard field goal attempt that sailed right. San Antonio began the next possession at their own 43-yard line.
Another illegal procedure penalty forced San Antonio into a 3rd and 14 that saw the drive end when Freddy Brown was unable to get a foot down on a sideline catch. Delonte Scott sacked Silvers, effectively bringing the half to an end as Houston kneeled to run out the half.
San Antonio 7 Houston 22
Houston opened the second half with the ball but was only able to produce one 1st down before punting the ball back to San Antonio. The teams traded punts as the defenses for both teams made adjustments. After allowing a short pass to Max Borghi, San Antonio’s defense made a big play when they needed it with an interception by Kameron Kelly.
Starting inside Roughnecks territory, Coan drove the bulls down into scoring position. Aided by a Houston defensive pass interference penalty on 4th and 5 that netted the Brahmas a 1st and goal on Houston’s 2-yard line. Jacques Patrick punched it in from there. The 2-point attempt was no good. Houston consumed the remaining 2:42 of the 3rd quarter in a drive that would begin the final period.
San Antonio 13 Houston 22
A 10-play drive that began in the third quarter and used up over 5 minutes came down to 4th and 1. Needing another stop the Brahmas’ defense stopped Cole McDonald, giving the ball back to their offense. Throwing an incompletion on first down it was the Roughnecks’ vaunted defense that made a big play. A pass intended for Vasher was picked off by Ajene Harris as the receiver tried to gather the pass.
Once more San Antonio’s defense rose up and forced a 3 and out. Seizing momentum Coan drove the team down the field even converting a 4th and 1 to keep the drive going. A personal foul and another defensive pass interference penalty in the endzone gave San Antonio new life. With 1st and goal from the 1-yard line, the Brahmas looked to be on the verge of potentially tying the game.
Kalen Ballage was stopped on two consecutive runs up the middle. Houston snuffed out a QB sneak on third down. On 4th and goal the Roughnecks’ defense showed they deserved to be ranked amongst the best. They pushed back Ballage one final time to kill the drive. Houston converted three first downs before turning the ball over on downs, leaving the Brahmas 15 seconds to go 89 yards to try to score. The Brahmas’ hopes ended with an incomplete pass as time expired.
San Antonio 13 Houston 22
The final score belies the dominance of the Roughnecks, but despite that, San Antonio was never really out of the game. The thing that the Brahmas truly need if they are going to keep up with Arlington and Houston, is eliminating pre-snap penalties. Game two of the I-10 showdown comes in week 8 with possible playoff implications.
- The Brahmas couldn’t get out of their own way with over a dozen penalties.
- As goes the O-line so goes the Brahmas fortunes. Multiple illegal procedure penalties.
- Delonte Scott played another solid game adding another sack while applying good pressure.
- T.J. Vasher appeared to injure his shoulder on an interception as he couldn’t brace himself and landed on his elbow.
- Coach Ward was caught on TV questioning play selection.