In a wild shootout of a championship, the Stallions bested the Stars 33-30 to finish an incredible 2022 season. Fans could not have gotten a better game to end the year, and it was a heater from start to finish.
The Stallions and Stars traded field goals to start the game, but Birmingham pulled ahead early with an electric 36 yard TD by Bo Scarbrough. This shifted the momentum heavily in their favor, and despite a bigfrom Philadelphia, a J’Mar->Marlon Smith TD put Birmingham further ahead.
Scarbrough added a 69 yard run to bring his offense into the red zone, and they dropped into the T-formation a couple times before capping it off with another Brandon Aubrey field goal.
Philadelphia answered in the 3rd after a long drive with a strike from Case to Suell, bringing the game to 20-15.
Late in the third J’Mar Smith went down after a big hit to his back, and was limping on the sidelines. Alex McGough entered the game.
The game heated up after a hard late hit on Case Cookus. In the open field, Demarquis Gates was lowering for a hit on Cookus and the Stars QB slid at the same time. A scuffle broke out, but luckily Cookus wasn’t too shaken up and stayed in the game.
He rallied, then threw a TD and a 2-point attempt to bring Philadelphia to their first lead of the night, 23-20. McGough was able to rally the Birmingham offense with a couple quick strikes to Marlon Williams but an untimely tipped interception gave the ball back to Philly.
Case Cookus went down hard on a strip sack, and appeared to twist his ankle/knee on the hit. He was unfortunately carted off, surrounded by teammates after putting up an incredible 222 yard, 3 TD performance in the championship.
With both starting quarterbacks down, McGough stepped up to the plate and moved the ball to the 11 on the back of a PI call, and delivered a quick strike TD to none other than Victor Bolden Jr. Audrey missed the XP, and it was a 3 point game with 3:09 on the board.
On KJ Costello’s first play under center, he tossed a pick 6 to the Shark-Dog himself, and Scooby Wright III had a beautiful catch and return for the score.
KJ came back in and tossed a TD of his own, bringing it up to 33-30 with just under two minutes left. They opted for the 4th and 12 make it-take it attempt, but fell short, giving the ball back in their own territory. Birmingham ran the clock down to 51, and Christian McFarland sealed the deal with a pick.
In a nail-biting finish, the Birmingham Stallions solidified their place as the premiere team in the USFL, capping off a legendary 9-1 season with a league title.
In a microcosm of their entire season, they found a way to win despite circumstances, as the team rallied around Alex McGough after J’Mar went down. Bo Scarbrough and Victor Bolden Jr. had monster performances when it mattered most, and this defense was absolutely dominant.
They played aggressive all day, and came out league champs. It’s been an incredible run, and this squad has cemented their place in football history. Love to see it.