Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Brahmas capture first UFL win over Defenders

Defense holds Defenders scoreless in season opener

Despite being 76 years old and having over 50 years of coaching experience, San Antonio Brahmas head coach Wade Phillips still has a couple miles left in his tank.
The former NFL coach had his team ready in the season opener, with the Brahmas handling the D.C. Defenders 27-12 on Easter Sunday at the Alamodome. With the new cast of characters under new management, the Brahmas were the biggest unknown in the new league.  

“Our first challenge was to play well at home, I thought we did that,” Phillips said. “Home crowd helped us certainly. We were the biggest underdog in the league; had a bit of a chip on our shoulder.” 

On their opening drive, Brahmas quarterback Chase Garbers threw a pass to running back Anthony McFarland, who took it 28 yards to the house. Two possessions later and on the Defenders’ four, Garbers pitched the ball to receiver Jontre Kirklin to punch in the score, bringing the Brahmas lead 14-3. 

With 14 seconds left in the half and lined up for a field goal, San Antonio caught the Defenders off guard with a fake field goal. Punter Brad Wing, who was in the shotgun, found center Alex Mollette up the middle for a 40-yard touchdown, pulling off the rare big-man touchdown. The Brahmas went into the break with a commanding 20-9 lead after the failed two-point try. 

“We practiced it 10, 15 times and never completed it,” Wing said. “I wasn’t even supposed to throw the ball to [Mollette].” 

With the Defenders looking to score their first touchdown of the game, D.C. quarterback Jordan Ta’amu threw an interception to cornerback Darius Phillips on the Brahmas 6-yard line. The 90-yard return set up a Garbers five-yard touchdown run for the game’s final points. 

The Brahmas defense created pressure, making it difficult for Ta’amu to go through his reads. The Defenders struggled all afternoon to capitalize on red zone situations, with San Antonio holding D.C. to field goals. The only scoring threat for the Defenders was kicker Matthew McCrane, who went 4 for 4. 

“We had a lot of pressure on the quarterback, a lot of hits on the quarterback,” Phillips said. “They had to throw a lot of quick passes rather than throwing it downfield.” 

Garbers, making his first professional start, ended the afternoon with 158 yards, two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground. Kirklin seemed to always be open, leading the Brahmas receivers in receptions with eight for 61 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, San Antonio played as a Phillips defense does, sacking Ta’amu four times, forcing one fumble and one interception. 

“Jontre is a great player, I learned that early on in camp,” Garbers said. “A defense like D.C., you have to take stuff underneath and Jontre happened to be the guy at the time.” 

The Brahmas will face the Memphis Showboats at 11 p.m. Saturday at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium.

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Nicholas Kingman
Nicholas Kingman, Assistant Opinion Editor
Nicholas is a freshman CAP student who joined The Paisano in Summer 2023. He is a San Antonio Native and is excited to stay home for another year.
Rylan Renteria
Rylan Renteria, Distribution Manager
Rylan is a psychology major in his junior year at UTSA, and is entering his second semester as a writer for The Paisano. As a major fan of both the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners, Rylan is also very supportive of the San Antonio Spurs and all UTSA Athletics which can be shown in his commentary writing pieces. Aside from watching sports, Rylan enjoys watching horror movies, playing video games and playing intramural sports.
Jake Mireles
Jake Mireles, Opinion Editor
Jake (He/Him) is a second-year political science major at UTSA. Originally from Austin, he plans to move anywhere but Texas after graduation. If he is not climbing out from under a mountain of homework, you can usually find him listening to podcasts, playing saxophone or being an avid napper. This is his third-semester writing for the Paisano and his second semester serving as the Opinion Editor. He is excited for many to come while he explores a possible career path in journalism.

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