Hope is alive in San Antonio. After weeks of heartbreak and disaster for the San Antonio Brahmas, an XFL playoff spot is in reach. Their win over the Orlando Guardians on Saturday night was clutch.
That’s not to say the Brahmas weren’t on the brink of elimination. They still are. With a win this week for San Antonio and a loss for Arlington, however, things played out exactly as they needed to, turning a near impossibility into a real chance. It’ll need to happen again in Week 10, but half the battle has been fought, and so far, San Antonio has endured.
For the Orlando Guardians, the story is just the same as last week: the season is over. Despite having been the first team eliminated, that hasn’t stopped any of the Orlando players from giving their all. The XFL is a league of opportunity, and players are continually grinding for recognition. The Guardians may have lost, but they made sure that San Antonio earned their first win at home.
Kicking off the game on the offensive, the Guardians made quick work of the usually stellar Brahmas defense with a touchdown pass from quarterback Quinten Dormady to Jordan Thomas. The following 2-point attempt was converted, making it an 8-0 ballgame.
Despite not being able to counter on their own opening drive, the Brahmas proceeded to step it up big time on defense, containing the Guardians at their own goal line.
Getting the ball back, San Antonio was able to push down field and get on the board with a field goal by Parker Romo.
Once again, the San Antonio defense forced Orlando to punt—or so they thought. A silver lining to being eliminated is that you can indulge in chaotic play calling, and Orlando did just that. To everyone’s surprise, the Guardians faked their punt and it wreaked havoc. Punter Mac Brown threw deep downfield, finding K.D. Cannon for a whopping 69 yards.
The San Antonio crowd was stunned. What seemed to be a failed drive for Orlando quickly turned into their second touchdown of the night.
The Brahmas, however, were not deterred. Determined to stay in the playoff hunt, Brahmas QB Jack Coan found Nick Holley deep downfield for a massive gain of 34 yards to put San Antonio within the 10-yard line.
Gaining the ball to start the second half, the Brahmas once again chipped at the Guardians’ lead with another field goal.
The Brahmas weren’t finished. Securing the ball once again, Jack Coan marched his offense downfield and seized the lead with a touchdown pass to Travis Toivonen.
The Guardians couldn’t respond, being forced to punt after Dormady was swallowed up for a costly sack. The momentum was completely in San Antonio’s favor, but suddenly, disaster struck. Running down field on a pass from Coan, Jacques Patrick had the ball drilled out of his hands, sending it soaring into the hands of defensive lineman Stansly Maponga.
The Guardians capitalized on their opponent’s misfortune with a field goal, bringing the score to 17-19. With San Antonio unable to do anything on their next drive, it seemed the momentum had now completely swung in Orlando’s favor. Once again, though, the game was completely turned on its head in a single play.
Trying to dump a pass off to Devin Darrington, Dormady’s pass was tipped and caught by defensive lineman Drew Beesley, who ran the ball back 20 yards to the end zone for a Brahmas touchdown. Beesley had a tremendous game, recording 1.5 sacks alongside his interception.
Just one minute later, the momentum once again shifted wildly. Devin Darrington found himself running unopposed and bolted downfield for an explosive run of 59 yards.
With the Orlando offense so close to the endzone, the Brahmas were unable to stop Guardians quarterback Deondre Francois from finding Andrew Jamiel in the endzone for the team’s third touchdown of the night. The score was now 23-25, and the Guardians naturally elected for a 2-point conversion.
With the game all but on the line, the Brahmas defense stood firm and denied the Guardians their bid to tie the game. The offense made short work of the clock, and much to the delight of the home crowd, the Brahmas secured their first home win in XFL franchise history.
The Brahmas will have to secure a win once again next weekend as they face the 8-1 DC Defenders. If they manage to come through, their XFL fate will once again rest in the hands of the Arlington Renegades. It all comes down to Week 10.
What are your thoughts on this game between the San Antonio Brahmas and Orlando Guardians? Which XFL players impressed you the most? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!