After going just 1-8 in their inaugural season one year ago, the Oklahoma City Jaguars (9-3, 7-3 in XFL) are hands down the most improved team in the Xtreme Football League. Saturday, they’re traveling to Rose Hill, Kansas, to take on the No.1 seed Kansas Cougars for a chance to play in the XFL Championship Game.
“We’re playing really good football right now,” Jaguars co-owner Skyler Bates told Developmental Football USA. “We’re starting to get in rhythm on offense. Defensive wise, we’ve been pretty good on defense all year. Chemistry wise, we’re playing well and I think we can come away with a win and make it to the championship game.”
In the previous meeting between the two teams, the Cougars walked away 34-9, but with a chance to play for a championship on the line, fans should expect a closer game this weekend.
“We faced them before and they beat us,” Bates said. “They are a very good defensive team. That was one game where we had a lot of turnovers. We’re hoping we can go over there and not turn the ball over. They rarely lose in Kansas, so we’re going in to do the best we can.”
Offensively, the Jaguars use a two-quarterback system with Eli Haley and Justin Jackson and both gunslingers look for go-to receiver Franklin McDavid.
“He has a lot of speed and just overall experience,” Bates said. “He’s been playing ball for awhile. He’s a playmaker on offense. Every game, he goes out and makes plays. He really is a key player overall.
“Eli Haley is really smart overall. He’s more of a pocket passer. He really knows how to read defenses and plays. He’s really starting to get into rhythm, he’s picking it up and really starting to make some plays on offense. Justin Jackson is our scrambling quarterback basically. He makes a lot of big runs and big plays on offense as well.”
The Jaguars offensive line has made it possible for them to have success and make it to 9-3.
“Our offensive line is getting better each and every game,” Bates said. “They’re really giving our guys a chance to win games. It would be hard to win any games this year without them.”
Outside linebacker William Watford has emerged as one of the leaders of the Jaguars defense, which will be leaned up heavily in Saturday’s match-up.
“He’s just an athlete overall,” Bates said. “He’s in every single play on there. Our defense is good overall and he’s just very competitive. We have a lot of good players on defense. Cameron Brooks stands out, we have so many. A guy we call Batman, Marcus Wilson, Leondre Bailey, Nick Cagle, Erick Buck, all of those are playmakers. They either get interceptions or sacks, things like that.”
A win over the No. 1 seed Cougars would be absolutely huge for the Jaguars and would send them to the XFL Championship Game.
“It would mean a lot really,” Based said. “We’re a second-year team, so going from 1-8 last season to making it to the championship game this year would be rewarding overall. We have a lot of guys that have worked really hard this season, so to see them get rewarded by making it to the championship game would really mean a lot.”
Saturday’s winner will go on to face the winner of the Oklahoma City Elite and the defending champions, Oklahoma Monarchs game.
“I’m picking the Oklahoma City Elite,” Bates said. “I think they’ll win. Score wise, I think it’ll be like a 24-27 ball game with the Elite winning. That one is pretty tough to tell. The Monarchs are a good organization that won the championship last year.”