XFL Playoffs: Upset Winner Makes Championship Game

The DC Defenders confirmed their regular season results in the XFL playoffs on Sunday. The Houston Roughnecks couldn’t do that on Saturday.

Under former Alabama State wide receiver and coach Reggie Barlow, DC entered the playoffs with a league-best record at 9-1 and dispatched North Division runner-up Seattle 37-21 for qualify for the XFL Championship game.

Houston finished top of the South Division standings, three games ahead of the Arlington Renegades. But after posting a 4-6 regular season record (including two losses to the Roughnecks) and scoring the league’s fewest regular season points, the Renegades toppled the Roughnecks 26-11.

The Defenders and Renegades will square off in the XFL Championship Game at 7 p.m. CDT on May 13 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. ABC will broadcast the game.

Playing in his fourth game for Arlington since being traded by the Vegas Vipers, former Birmingham Iron QB Luis Perez completed 19 of 27 passes for 289 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions as the Boston offense Renegades threw for 419 yards — 194 more than Houston had.

Arlington wide receiver JaVonta Payton had five receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns, including 59 yards. Renegades running back De’Veon Smith had 94 yards on 24 carries.

In Washington, the Defenders scored on their first three possessions in the second half to pull away from a 9-9 halftime tie with the Sea Dragons, who bet on their first three possessions in the second half.

Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu completed 19 of 31 passes for 258 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for DC, which got eight first downs on Seattle penalties.

Seattle quarterback Ben DiNucci completed 31 of 48 passes for 295 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Sea Dragons had just five rushing attempts for 13 yards in the game.

Alabama’s high school and college players in the XFL playoffs included:

Arlington Renegades 26, Houston Roughnecks 11

· Roughnecks offensive lineman Ja’Chai Baker (South Alabama) was ruled inactive on game day.

· TJ Barnes (Enterprise) started out as defensive tackle for the Renegades. Barnes made a tackle.

· Renegades tight end Sal Cannella (Auburn) caught two passes for 18 yards.

· Renegades cornerback Javaris Davis (Auburn) was ruled game day inactive.

· Mike Horton (Auburn) started at left guard for the Renegades.

· Roughnecks kicker Austin Jones (Alabama) hit a 32-yard field goal with 5:32 left in the third quarter to cut the Renegades lead to 23-11.

· Davonte Lambert (Auburn) started at defensive end for the Renegades. Lambert had two tackles.

· Brandon Silvers (Gulf Shores, Troy) started as a quarterback for the Roughnecks. Silvers completed 3 of 6 passes for 22 yards without a touchdown or interception and had a 6-yard run. After Houston was stopped on the downs at the Renegades 34-yard line and kicked on its first two possessions, the Roughnecks went with Cole McDonald at quarterback for the remainder of the game. Silvers hadn’t played in two of the previous three games after suffering an elbow injury. McDonald completed 9 of 25 passes for 82 yards without a touchdown and an interception and rushed for 47 yards on seven carries.

· Roughnecks offensive lineman John Yarbrough (Homewood) had no stats.

DC Defenders 37, Sea Dragons 21

· Defenders long snapper/tight end Trae Barry (Spanish Fort, Jacksonville State) handled snaps on a field goal and a punt.

· Defenders linebacker Jamal Brooks (Bessemer City, South Alabama) made a tackle.

· Sea Dragons long snapper Thomas Fletcher (Alabama) handled snaps on a field goal and five punts.

· Defenders quarterback Geremy Hickbottom (Williamson) was designated game day inactive.

Chris Owens (Alabama) started at right guard for the Sea Dragons

· Sea Dragons wide receiver Kelvin McKnight (Samford) caught two passes for 17 yards and returned four punts for 71 yards.

· Sea Dragons wide receiver Jordan Veasy (Gadsden City) caught six passes for 61 yards.

· Sea Dragons wide receiver Damion Willis (Troy) was designated inactive on game day.

· Defensemen defensive tackle Gabe Wright (Auburn) hasn’t recorded any stats.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.

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