San Antonio Brahmas lose XFL opener in sellout crowd

FEBRUARY 19, 2023: The St, Louis Battlehawks against the San Antonio Brahmas at The Alamo Dome on February 19th, 2023 in San Antonio, TX. 

(© Alonso RamirezIII/XFL)

Alonso RamirezIII/XFL

FEBRUARY 19, 2023: The St, Louis Battlehawks against the San Antonio Brahmas at The Alamo Dome on February 19th, 2023 in San Antonio, TX. (© Alonso RamirezIII/XFL)

Luke Lawhorn and Rylan Renteria

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Brahmas lost their season-opener to the St. Louis Battlehawks 18-15 Sunday afternoon in the Alamodome.

The Brahmas appeared to be in control of Sunday’s game, though unique rules from the XFL gave the Battlehawks opportunities for the comeback win.

“In a normal NFL game, college game, you think the game is pretty much over,” Brahmas quarterback Jack Coan said. “But with the new rules, the game is a lot more exciting and I think that’s the way it should be.” 

“We just got to get used to these new rules and finish the game out strong.”

The Brahmas led 6-3 early in the fourth quarter.

San Antonio put together a 10-play scoring drive to extend its lead.

Coan found wide-open Fred Brown for 18 yards on third and 10. Coan threw to Deon Yelder for 17 yards to put the ball inside the Battlehawks’ 4-yard line.

Coan went back to Brown in the back left on the endzone for a 4-yard touchdown. The Brahmas failed their 1-point rush attempt, still leading 12-3.

Running back Brian Hill broke loose up the middle for a 40-yard rush for St. Louis. The Brahmas defense forced a missed 43-yard field goal from the Battlehawks, awarding themselves the ball at the 25-yard line.

Brahmas kicker Parker Romo hit a 48-yard field goal to extend the Brahmas lead, 15-3, with 3:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

Quarterback AJ McCarron responded with an 8-play drive to score a touchdown for St. Louis late in the quarter. The Battlehawks utilized the XFL’s 3-point conversion rule with a pass from McCarron to Austin Proehl from the 10-yard line to trail 15-12.

While football normally would have an onside kick, the XFL uses a fourth and 15 play where the offense must get the 15 yards to maintain offensive possession. 

The Battlehawks successfully converted the 15 yards with a pass to Proehl.

St. Louis marched down the field, scoring a touchdown with 16 seconds remaining. McCarron found Proehl in the endzone for the 14-yard score.

Despite the Brahmas falling 0-1 after the season opener, the San Antonio football fans supported the hometown team with a sellout crowd of 24,245 people.

“I knew the fans in San Antonio were just supportive in general,” Brahmas coach Hines Ward said. “Their passion about their teams, they’re going to come out and show their support. I’m just thankful to be the head coach here in San Antonio.”

Sunday’s game against the Battlehawks was the first of a 10-game schedule for the Brahmas.

“It’s just one game,” Ward said. 

Parker Romo made the first points in San Antonio Brahmas history with a 43-yard field goal.

The Battlehawks tied the game in the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal from Donald Hageman.

Coan completed a pass to Jalen Tolliver for a 19-yard gain. Coan then rushed for six yards to the St. Louis 11-yard line. 

Romo hit his second field goal of the afternoon, from 29 yards out, giving the Brahmas the 6-3 lead.

San Antonio will play on the road for its upcoming three games. Next, the Brahmas will face the Orlando Guardians at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, at Camping World Stadium.