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Week 2 of XFL action came to a close with the San Antonio Brahmas beating the Orlando Guardians in a dominating performance of 30-12. The Brahmas had a very different opponent the following week — the Houston Roughnecks. The Roughnecks are by far the best team in the South division and possibly the best team in the whole XFL.
In a primetime March 5th meeting, the San Antonio Brahmas and Houston Roughnecks were set to play each other in a very back-and-forth style of game in TDECU Stadium. Former UTSA football player Hunter Duplessis kicked off the game for the Roughnecks in front of the ESPN cameras.
With the ball being kicked and received, the Brahmas ran an interesting stunt on the kick return as some magnificent blocking sprung the Brahmas returner to bring the ball to the Roughnecks’ 40 yard line for a tremendous 59 yard return. The starting offense for the San Antonio Brahmas really set the tone in the first series of the game, with them drilling the ball with the starting running back Kalen Ballage all the way to Houton’s 15 yard line.
On a 3rd & 3, the Brahmas lined up in a trips right set with one receiver alone on the left side of the field, with the quarterback Jack Coan in shotgun. Coan took the snap and saw T.J. Vasher run a well cut slant route from the left side of the field. Coan threaded the needle and it was caught for the first touchdown of the game. The Brahmas went for the extra point, and Coan took the snap under center, before throwing the ball once again to the back of the endzone to T.J. Vasher once again, making the game 7-0 with the Brahmas in the lead.
With the first series of offense out of the way, it was time for the Roughnecks’ response with the 1st quarter having 12:29 left on the clock. The Roughnecks got down the field and it came down to a 4th & 3 which Houston converted with a well-called curl route to receiver Kirkland. Houston ran the ball all the way down to the Brahmas’ 7 yard line. Houston ended the drive with quarterback Brandon Silvers taking the snap out of shotgun and throwing a bullet to receiver Jontre Kirklin over the middle of field for a touchdown to to make the game 7-6.
The Houston offense then set themselves up for the 2 point attempt and they got it from Kirklin again with an impressive throw from Silver’s strong arm. The Brahmas’ offense got the ball back but a lack of production from the offense forced them to punt it back to the Roughnecks with 6 minutes left in the 1st quarter.
The Roughnecks would muster a drive through the rough Brahma defense with a crazy catch from Jontre Kirkland on a much-needed 3rd & 11 conversion. Once again the Roughnecks found themselves in a difficult 3rd down and this time they failed to convert due to an impressive sack by a screaming Brahma defender. The Roughnecks were once again forced to give it back to the Brahma offense. The Brahmas’ offense again didn’t have an answer and is forced to punt back to Houston in this hot potato type of game. This back and forth stone walling of the first quarter comes to an end with 7-8.
To break the ice into the 2nd quarter, the Roughnecks run the ball a bit to running back Max Borghi and start to find a rhythm with a great 10 yard in post route catch to receiver Deontay Burnett, setting them up for a whole new set of downs. Silvers took the snap and threw it to a Kirkland streaking up the sideline, who snagged it over the Brahmas’ cornerback Kameron Kelly. This play gave the Roughnecks a drive of momentum that didn’t seem could be stopped, and it wouldn’t be. Silvers once again hit a great throw to a wide open Justin Smith with the post route, setting up Houston for another score in the red zone. Houston then set up a jet sweep play on offense and scored with Jontre Kirkland again, making the game 7-14. Houston went for the 2 point attempt and was not successful as it was picked off by the Brahmas corner, leaving the score 7-14 with 11 minutes left in the 2nd quarter.
The Brahmas kept having careless mistakes with false start flags which hurt the drive, forcing them to punt. The Roughnecks’ offense, who have consistently moved down the field, did it again with an impressive catch from Deontay Burnett scoring a touchdown while snagging it over another Brahma defender. This made the score 7-20 with 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. A quarterback scramble gets them the 2 point conversion to make it 7-22.
San Antonio struggled to get any momentum going and Houston got the ball back to drive down the field with another impressive catch from the receiving core to set a field goal possibility. Duplessis missed the kick, giving the San Antonio some life, but the Brahamas were not able to move the ball other than to chew clock, ending the half with 7-22 on the board.
Roughnecks got the ball after halftime, and nothing could be found on their offensive series. Both teams could not find anything coming out of halftime. The Roughnecks got the ball back for offense once again and Silver threw a lob ball that got got picked off. A pass interference gave San Antonio some more life on the turnover drive that set them up on the 3 yard line, leading to an easy run into the endzone to make the game 13-22. San Antonio went for a 2 point attempt but it couldn’t be completed by Coan.
As the game progressed into the 4th quarter, each team went right back to stonewalling each other and nothing could be produced by each offense besides draining the clock which worked in Houston’s favor. With only 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter a very game changing pass interference changed the pace of the game on 3rd &3, putting the Brahmas offense on the 2 yard line. But miraculously on every down on the 2 yard line, the Houston goal line defense didn’t let up an inch to San Antonio, holding them to only 13 points at the end of game.
With a final score of 13-22, the Houston Roughnecks improved their record to 3-0 to cement themselves as the best team in the south division and possibly the best team in the XFL while the San Antonio Brahmas fell to 1-2, still sitting 3rd out of four teams in the south division.
On March 11th, the 1-2 San Antonio Brahmas will face the 1-2 Seattle Sea Dragons in Seattle at Lumen field. The Brahmas have to be able to defeat the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Ben DiNucci who leads the league in passing yards. They will also be tasked with stopping the best rushing running back in the XFL in Morgan Ellison. To make matters worse, the Brahmas will also have to cover the two best receivers in the XFL in Jahcour Pearson and Blake Jackson. Can the Brahmas contain Seattle’s explosive offense to improve their record to 2-2? We will find out this Saturday night!
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