Birmingham Stallions clinch playoff spot, remain undefeated

Published 9:18 am Monday, May 6, 2024

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This weekend, the Birmingham Stallions clinched a spot in the United Football League (UFL) Playoffs with a 39-21 win over the Memphis Showboats on the road.

The win not only clinched the Stallions’ spot in the playoffs but also set a record as Birmingham became the first team in either XFL or USFL history to clinch a playoff spot in week six.

“We’re incredibly proud of this accomplishment, but we know the job isn’t finished yet,” said head coach Skip Holtz. “Our focus remains on the regular season, taking each week one game at a time. The playoffs are an exciting goal, but our priority is to finish the season strong and give our best in every game.”

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Against Memphis, Birmingham went down 6-0 early when the Showboats scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Case Cookus to Sage Surratt in the first quarter. The PAT failed, however. In the second quarter, Ricky Person Jr. tied the score with a 5-yard touchdown run for the Stallions. A two-point conversion gave Birmingham the 8-6 lead. The Stallions would never trail again.

Birmingham added a 4-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Martinez to CJ Marable later in the second quarter. The two-point conversion extended the Stallion lead to 16-6. Memphis cut the lead to 16-9 with a 47-yard field goal with just 1:45 left in the first half, but the Stallions weren’t quite finished. Martinez heaved a 28-yard touchdown pass to Mobile native Marlon Williams with just 23 seconds left in the half. The two-point try failed and the Stallions took a 22-9 lead into halftime.

Birmingham added a 45-yard field goal to start the second half to extend the lead to 25-9 and then Martinez threw an 80-yard scoring bomb to Kevin Austin Jr. to extend the lead to 31-12 with 2:45 left in the third.

Memphis added another 45-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 31-12, but Birmingham answered with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to Williams with 5:21 left in the game. The two-point conversion extended the lead to 39-12. With the game out of reach, Memphis added a 34-yard touchdown pass from Troy Williams to Dee Anderson and a three-point PAT to cut the lead to 39-21 but that was as close as the Showboats would get.

Birmingham rolled up 466 yards of offense and held Memphis to just 220 yards. The Stallion defense also forced three turnovers and tallied three sacks.

Martinez completed 23-of-36 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns along with 25 yards on the ground. Marable rushed for 31 yards on five carries and caught four passes for 12 yards and a score. Austin caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, while Williams caught four passes for 58 yards and two scores.

Kyahva Tezino once again led the Birmingham defense with seven tackles, while Nevell Clarke and Damon Lloyd added six tackles each. Kenny Robinson Jr. grabbed an interception and both Carlos Davis and Jordan Thompson recovered Showboat fumbles.

The Stallions are back at home this Saturday, May 11, for one of the marquee matchups of the UFL season as the XFL’s top-ranked St. Louis Battlehawks march into Birmingham led by former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. Former Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers is also on the Battlehawk roster. The game will air nationally on FOX at 3 p.m.