By Alex Al-Kazzaz
After literally sneaking through the back door into the XFL playoffs, the Arlington Renegades have pulled off a major upset with a 26-11 victory over the Houston Roughnecks to reach the championship game. Houston had won the South Division with ease and had swept Arlington in the regular season.
Arlington finished out the regular season on rough terms, losing their final two games in a frustrating fashion. They were quite fortunate to qualify for the playoffs due to San Antonio and Orlando's poor records. In addition, Arlington's -48 point differential speaks for itself. After their 25-9 loss to Houston in Week 10, it seemed inevitable that Houston would finish the job, but that didn't happen.
The Renegades managed to jump to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Houston was able to make it 14-8, Arlington responded with nine unanswered points to hold a decisive 23-8 half-time lead. Houston was unable to fully capitalize on a fumble recovery during an Arlington punt return, having to settle for three points instead. Arlington was unable to find the end-zone in the second half, but solid defending and three more points was enough to seal the deal.
Houston was unable to produce anything through the air as the passing finished 12-for-31 for less than 100 yards. On a positive note, the running game was a bit more effective, but the Arlington defense was able handle anything Houston threw at them. Luis Perez threw for nearly 300 yards and had three touchdown passes. Furthermore, Arlington's running game ran over 130 yards, averaging about 5 yards per run. Arlington finished with over 400 total yards of offense while Houston finished with 225 total offensive yards.
The Renegades will meet either the DC Defenders or Seattle Sea Dragons on May 13th to crown the inaugural XFL champions.