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Battlehawks clinch playoff berth before another big crowd in St. Louis

Playoff berth? Check.

Next, the St. Louis Battlehawks will try to secure home-field advantage for the XFL Conference championship game.

The Battlehawks moved to 6-2 on Sunday with a 26-21 win over the D.C. Defenders. More than 32,000 attended the game in St. Louis, proving yet again that it’s a football town — and that the NFL should consider getting over the fact that it had to pay St. Louis $790 million for rampant lies told in connection with the relocation of the Rams.

The Battlehawks, coached by former NFL tight end Anthony Becht, won without starting quarterback A.J. McCarron, who missed the game with an ankle injury. Manny Wilkins got the nod in McCarron’s absence, completing nine of 18 passes for 126 yards and rushing for 79 on 12 attempts.

The Battlehawks gained only 235 yards; D.C. racked up 298. A Wayne Gallman one-yard touchdown run flipped a 21-20 deficit. A long kick return and a first-play catch and run gave D.C. a first and 10 at the St. Louis 37 with 1:40 to play. Two incompletions, a sack, and a failed fourth-down conversion ended it.

With the San Antonio Brahmas also winning on Sunday (and clinching the other playoff spot in the XFL Conference), both teams are 6-2 with two games left. Unless both the Battlehawks win and the Brahmas lose next weekend, home-field for the XFL Championship will be determined in Week 10, when the Brahmas play the Battlehawks in St. Louis.

Either way, the Battlehawks and Brahmas will meet in the final game of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. The only question is where; and with the Battlehawks drawing such big crowds, there’s clearly an advantage to playing there.