Skip Holtz earns USFL trophy

CANTON– The Birmingham Stallions rallied in the fourth quarter to clinch a 33-30 victory in the USFL Championship Game over the Philadelphia Stars Sunday night at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

After falling behind for the first time in Sunday’s game with 11:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, Birmingham backup quarterback Alex McGough shook off an interception on the first drive following Philadelphia’s go-ahead score to put Birmingham in the lead for good with 3:16 remaining. McGough capped off an eight-play, 64-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to USFL Championship Game MVP Victor Bolden, Jr. in the back-left corner of the end zone.

A pair of interceptions, highlighted by a pick-6 from linebacker and former Cleveland Brown Scooby Wright, helped the Stallions seal the championship victory. McGough’s kneel down with 16 seconds remaining punctuated an 11-1 season and championship triumph for Birmingham.

“Everybody has a story on how they got here,” said Birmingham Stallions head coach Skip Holtz, the son of East Liverpool High School graduate Lou Holtz. “Seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces is unbelievable, and it’s about all of them.

“I’m blessed by the opportunity to coach these young men.”

Birmingham quarterbacks J’Mar Smith and McGough combined for 208 yards passing and two passing touchdowns. Starting running back Bo Scarbrough rushed for a game-high 135 yards on just 13 carries, averaging 10.4 yards per carry with a touchdown. Wide receiver Marlon Williams paced Birmingham with seven catches and 105 yards receiving, while Bolden, Jr. recorded 156 all-purpose yards.

Christian McFarland, who sealed the game with an interception with less than 30 seconds remaining, led the Stallions with seven tackles. All-USFL Defensive Team honoree DeMarquis Gates also logged seven tackles, recording a half sack and two pass breakups in the championship victory.

Philadelphia quarterback Case Cookus paced the Stars’ offense with 222 yards passing and three passing touchdowns. Cookus connected with wide receiver Jordan Suell for two touchdowns, while running back Dexter Williams led Philadelphia with four receptions for 73 yards.

Philadelphia finished 7-5.


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